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If Cambridge's debating girls can't stand the heat, they should stay out of Glasgow kitchens

The fuss about ‘misogyny’ at Glasgow risks making a mockery of the whole concept of the university union debate

9 March 2013

9:00 AM

9 March 2013

9:00 AM

Glasgow University Union is in the headlines again. The story at first sight appears typical of the petty campus rows to which undergraduates attach passionate importance but which bore the rest of the world. On closer consideration, it encompasses issues of free speech and political control that are of genuine concern.

At the recently held final round of the Glasgow University Union (GUU) Ancients debating competition, involving the older-established British universities, two female speakers complained of being heckled and booed during their speeches and of being subjected to sexist abuse. One girl was from Cambridge, the other from Edinburgh University. As a reprisal, Cambridge has announced it will not send debaters to compete in GUU in future. On the day after the event Rebecca Meredith, the debater from Cambridge, posted her account on Facebook: ‘Last night the amazing Marlena Valles and I were openly booed by a small number of misogynistic male Glasgow Union debaters and members during the final of the Glasgow Ancients competition for our presence as female speakers.’

Considering the number of women speakers who have received uproarious applause in GUU over the years, it seems unlikely the heckling was directed against their presence as female speakers. Later in the same post, the complainant referred to ‘boos at mention of female equality’, which seems more plausible. GUU members claim the booing was directed at the girls for going off-topic to indulge in feminist rhetoric (the motion was ‘That this House regrets the centralisation of religion’) and that male speakers were similarly booed if they became irrelevant. According to a pompous statement on Facebook by the debate’s chief adjudicator, the remarks complained about were overheard by women sitting behind the hecklers.

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Although newspaper headlines spoke of the girls being reduced to tears, the adjudicator observed that ‘to the great credit of Rebecca and Marlena, the panel did not notice any waiver [sic], hesitancy or indeed weakness in their speeches as a result of the heckling’. The more sotto voce remarks allegedly included disparaging comments about the speakers’ looks, dresses and bust measurements. Photographs of the two finalists do not suggest they have anything to fear from assessment of their looks; as for the comments on their figures, well-poised women would laugh off the schoolboy chauvinism of male adolescents. Criticising the dresses, however, usurped the prerogative of the women members of the audience who could have been relied upon to execute a far more informed and incisive hatchet job.

A petition has been organised for the expulsion of the offending members from GUU and there is talk of creating a website where women ‘can anonymously post about their experiences of misogyny on the debating circuit’. It is obvious a smear campaign has been launched against GUU. Particularly outrageous was the comment by John Beechinor, the chief adjudicator of the debate, as reported in the Daily Telegraph: ‘The conduct displayed in the GUU Chamber is incredibly distressing and perpetuates the idea that debating is for white, upper-middle-class males from English-speaking countries.’ The slur against a union that flocked to vote for ANC president Albert Lutuli as rector of Glasgow University in 1962, when the apartheid issue was not yet on most people’s radar, is disgraceful. As for ‘upper-middle-class’, the majority of students who participated in Glasgow debating over the past half-century were of broadly working-class origin. Can Cambridge say the same?

GUU needs no lessons from Cambridge or anywhere else on the standards, skills and protocols of debating. Since it opened its doors in 1885, the Union has consistently hosted the best undergraduate debating in Britain. It won the Observer Mace trophy so often it was eventually invited to keep it. The politicians who cut their teeth in GUU’s tough debates included John Smith and former Union presidents Donald Dewar, Menzies Campbell and Charles Kennedy. The Union’s reputation for rowdiness derives not from the debates but from the notorious lunchtime forums at which an eminent politician would be invited to address a crowd in the debating hall. Sir Edward Boyle, sometime education secretary, complained that a meat pie which struck him still had a fork embedded in it.

The debates are more disciplined but still robust. Heckling has always been a key component and a GUU debater is judged above all on his capacity to riposte instantly and wittily against a heckler. Clearly that skill eluded the two women who have complained about being heckled. No speaker in that chamber will receive more rapturous applause than a woman who produces a funny put-down of a male interrupter. The problem is today’s politically correct debaters from other unions cannot tolerate contradiction or ridicule. It simply is not in the script.

What kind of ‘debate’ is it where, as soon as feminist clichés are uttered, the discourse becomes a monologue and they must be heard in respectful silence? Rebecca Meredith complains about ‘the lack of proportionate numbers of females in competitive finals’. That is because, as with politics, fewer women want to debate. The rough and tumble of a dialectical free-for-all is not for them. That is fair enough; but to alter that reality by enforcing ‘proportionate numbers’ in competitive finals would be to rig contests, exclude able men and make a mockery of the whole concept of debating.

This ridiculous row speaks volumes about the health-and-safety, equality-and-diversity, cellophane-coated culture that is spreading its Stalinist tentacles everywhere. Political correctness, being the Frankfurt version of Marxism, cannot tolerate contradiction. That means, ultimately, that genuine debate is ‘unacceptable’. If Cambridge ‘debaters’ cannot be exposed to robust heckling, that sheltered existence will provide an ideal preparation for translation to the Westminster bubble in which our Oxbridge-led political class remains wholly oblivious to the opinions of the country at large. Glasgow University Union should place a notice above its entrance: ‘Welcome to the real world.’


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Show comments
  • James Wood

    what an absolutely atrocious, misogynist article

    • GeRaLd WaRnEr

      I think you’ll find James that I can laugh that criticism off, having looked at photos of myself I can indeed say that I am not a sexist, and therefore your argument doesn’t phase me!

      • Kitty Parker Brooks

        what does that even mean? that’s just not a response

        • GeRaLd WaRnEr

          To be honest, I only listen to pies, that’s the only measured argument that counts as debate.

      • http://www.facebook.com/TheGoodJimBrady Jim Brady

        At present 47 people agree with James. Patronising and pettifying, to say the least.

      • http://www.facebook.com/sam.cato.58 Sam Cato

        *faze. Embarrassingly basic error.

    • elizabeth

      Par for the course for the Spectator. This is the online diary of the boorish Tories.

      For some reason they’ve got it into their heads that being right of centre means being horrible to women. Something to do with boarding schools or something.

      • John Lea

        What about that unfunny O’Farrell bloke’s recent comments, where he said that he prayed for Thatcher’s death at the time of the Brighton bombing, do you find that equally misogynistic and repellent? Or is it just right-wing hatred and misogyny that you have an issue with?

  • Robin

    “Criticising the dresses, however, usurped the prerogative of the women members of the audience who could have been relied upon to execute a far more informed and incisive hatchet job.”

    This is an odious, sexist, repulsive rant from an old GUU boy. And you should be ashamed.

  • Will Stobart

    What a shameful article. Debating Unions up and down the country have jointly condemned the attitude of these GUU members for a reason. The writer is a Glasgow old-boy, trying to justify the practices of an institution which, in his day, didn’t even accept female members.

    • GeRaLd WaRnEr

      All that goes to prove is that debating clearly isn’t for Debating Unions up and down the country? Have you tried throwing pies at each other? I find that it’s always produced a robust debate,

      • Robin

        I honestly feel really sorry for you. You are defending a ‘debate’ where you throw pies at the women and not the men. Real good debate right there

    • mark_dowling

      On the other hand, the ad-sales people at Spectator must be loving all the views this baited article brought in.

    • Fergus Pickering

      Oh come sir. That is like everybody else.

    • backstoothewall

      Female members !?! What have ladyboys got to do with this, is there something you know that we don’t?

    • David Lindsay

      As for cries of “Shame, woman!”, that sounds like an Officership at Durham in the glory days: “Nominations are now open for the position of Shame Woman.”

    • Rudi74

      I’m not British. I do not care much for that British heckling culture. I think it’s insolent and quasi-funny. I do think that mr. Warner gives a more apt description of modern university life than the tales of rampant misogyny.

      ‘Debating Unions up and down the country have jointly condemned the attitude of these GUU members for a reason.’ And what would that reason be? I don’t have much faith in the ability of administrators to judge such matters objectively and evenhandedly.

      ‘in his day, didn’t even accept female members.’ This is irrelevant. Education, politics and media are strongly aimed at the feminine since the 90s. Look at enrollment, student organizations, official statements. A world in which female students are pestered with impunity by old boys….I find this hard to believe.

  • http://twitter.com/DaleNeuringer Dale Neuringer

    This is the most ridiculous, misinformed article I’ve read this year. Right, Marlena and Rebecca should just be able to deal with misogyny because hey, its a part of debating. WRONG WRONG WRONG. Additionally, saying that the girls didn’t “have anything to fear from assessment of their looks” doesn’t make it better that they were valued based on solely on them. What if the girls WEREN’T hot? Would that make it better? What absurd reasoning. This article is an outrage.

  • http://www.facebook.com/barry.singleton Barry Singleton

    “Photographs of the two finalists do not suggest they have anything to fear from assessment of their looks” – you miss the point entirely, and in so doing are misogynist for the very same reason the hecklers were: they have a right to be judged as speakers, not as sex objects!

    • Fergus Pickering

      Yes, but that is not the way the wide world works, is it? Ugly female politcians are fairly thin on the ground. Ugly males on the other hand….

    • backstoothewall

      Sucking up still won’t get you laid sonny, how’s the prozac helping you?

      • Elizabeth Mullen

        Because it’s impossible for a man to respect women without wanting to have sex with them? Wow.

        • backstoothewall

          Only the ugly ones.

      • Tara Batista

        @ backstoothewall: Yes it will get him the ladies! He does not need to do anything about that squint, he’s adorable.

  • Tito2502

    This makes no sense at all.

    This was a British Parliamentary debating tournament, not the sort of public debate that celebrities and politicians are invited to. It is a competitive format with defined rules, in which speakers have a very short amount of time to discuss a motion they heard about only fifteen minutes earlier, and from a position (proposition or opposition) that they are randomly assigned to.

    Firstly, the format almost requires you to go “off topic” somewhat, as the role of “extension speaker” necessitates taking the debate to a hitherto unexamined principle or group of actors (such as women). Secondly, you have just seven minutes (sometimes five minutes) and no longer to beat all of the other teams in the room, taking time out of this to address hecklers would ruin your own chances at winning.

    The hecklers in the audience knew this, presumably, since they were attending a BP debating final. A great number of debating motions will become discussions on their effects on a particular minority group, or women, in all of the grand finals. You would expect to see this from the finalists at Cambridge, Oxford, the European Championships, the World Championships, and any tournament that competent debaters attend.

    The fact that this article goes out of its way to avoid is this: The only possible reason for the heckles, which unfairly disadvantaged one team in a competitive event, is that the hecklers were reckless misogynists who had no qualms about breaking the rules of an event to deliberately and repeatedly distress innocent people.

  • http://www.facebook.com/DavidBannisterJones David Jones

    Its articles like this that make me wish I could run people over with a bus via the internet.

    • GeRaLd WaRnEr

      And I, as a good debater, should readily accept and rebut your bus, because how can I be a good debater if I can’t laugh off a few broken vertebrae?

      • Claire Cholewa

        Debating is not about laughing off ah hominen comments it is about challenging someone’s argument with your own sound argument.. Something you seem incapable of doing sir.

    • backstoothewall

      Looks as if you backed a bus into your bird’s face mate

      • John Lea

        backstoothewall: love your piercing of some of the pompous lefty bumbles on this sight. Keep up the good work, mate!

  • http://twitter.com/fredacowell Frederick Cowell

    The author clearly has no idea about competitive debating. Finals are not open public debates, in that they are not decided by audience vote, but rather debates that public may watch which are adjudicated competitively by professional adjudicators. There is, as a consequence, no opportunity to respond to heckles in the same way as a public debate. Additionally, and much more importantly, why should their gender be essentialised by others and why should anyone in today’s society have to accept such treatment?

    You seem to have had some fun in this article in being a ridiculous misogynist with such killer arguments as:

    ” Photographs of the two finalists do not suggest they have anything to fear from assessment of their looks”

    This wasn’t a beauty contest. This was debating competition and your desire to reduce women to the sum total of their looks really undermines your alleged commitment to non-discrimination later in this article. Equally the election of Albert Lutuli as rector of Glasgow University, a separate body to the GUU by the way, fifty years ago does not in anyway say anything about the status of the institution now and its current polices in relation to non-discrimination and sexism.

    I almost pity you as you can’t argue or debate and need to hide in spectator blog making pathetic sexist comments. If you ever want a debating lesson I would be happy to offer you one.

    Fred

    Chair of National Universities Debate Council 2009-2011
    Top speaker European Univerities Debating Championship 2010

    Former Director of Debates UCLU Debating Society

    • GeRaLd WaRnEr

      Fair. I concede, I am an idiot.

      • Kitty Parker Brooks

        in so many different ways.

    • backstoothewall

      The author clearly has no idea about competitive debating
      LOL, in his day he was one of the most outstanding british undergraduate debaters on the circuit, won absolutely everything, best keep you mouth shut and have people think you’re an idiot than open it and remove all doubt.

      • John Taylor

        Backstoothewall please match the convictions of those arguing against you and start posting under your real name.

        And even if that’s true this article displays great ignorance of how the debate was actually run. Maybe he forgot? Or things have changed in the last few decades. For example women are allowed in the GUU he dedicated his history of to the men who voted against allowing female membership.

        Yeah the man who chaired the English Universities national committee is clearly going to be ignorant of how debating works.

        • backstoothewall

          Women have always been allowed into the Union, just not as members. Debating hasn’t changed in essence since Socrates who, interestingly enough, was forced to commit suicide by the same sort of modish rabble you seem to represent.

          • John Taylor

            The style of debating taking place does not lend itself to the rebuttal suggested by the article. Being called British Parliamentary its odd to suggest Socrates was a fan or remotely the same

          • backstoothewall

            The clue was ‘in essence’.

          • John Taylor

            No the style of debate being conducted is totally relevant to the way in which the speakers responded to heckling. There is no part of the debate dedicated to the speakers having a chance to responded to audience comments. This is the case because it is only the later rounds that usually have an audience beyond an impartial judging panel. Also they have only 7 minutes per speaker to respond sufficiently to the arguments of the other side and make their own case in enough detail. Not leaving the time to respond and still try to win the debate.

            This is radically different from other types of debating that vary in the time you speak for, how long you have to prepare, what you are judged on, the metric for winning and so much more.

  • http://www.facebook.com/gab989 Gabriel Turner

    Every line is smattered with underlying sexism.’The rough and tumble of a dialectical free-for-all is not for them’ so presumably they should get back to a ‘kitchen’? I wouldn’t expect anyone to treat this article as a serious defence of GUU, a society whose institutional misogyny is only reinforced and betrayed by this piece of writing.

  • praveeta

    Ironic that this article does absolutely nothing to mitigate the situation. Instead, sexist heckling by a few boys now appears to be an institutional problem. What’s this pervasive sickness among the GUU debaters that makes them the very worst misogynists and chauvinists?

    • stephengreen

      My goodness Praveeta, you have correctly diagnosed the problem. I think a course of sensitivity training must be required if we are ever to achieve the promised land.

      • Ashish Kumar

        Fair enough.

  • John Taylor

    A line is drawn at the moment when you go beyond “that argument is poor” to “that argument is poor because of who you are”. For you to dismiss the discussion not of their arguments but of their sexual characteristics as robust heckling is something that you should be ashamed of. Moreover when asked to desist they called the person asking a “frigid b****””. Is that robust heckling as well?

    That you claim that the reason women don’t debate in the same numbers as men is because “the rough and tumble of a dialectic free for all is not for them” is possibly one of the more overtly sexist things I’ve read in a mainstream publication in some time.

    Shame on you

  • Ashish Kumar

    If you genuinely believe what you say in this article you are one of the most disgusting and repulsive people I know of. Your attempts to rationalise outrageous behaviour with all kinds of pointless second-guessing come across as the pathetic misogynist gestures they are.

  • http://www.facebook.com/alasdair.clarkson Alasdair Clarkson

    “Considering the number of women speakers who have received uproarious applause in GUU over the years, it seems unlikely the heckling was directed against their presence as female speakers.” Some women aren’t abused by men at the GUU (or if they are they don’t complain) so these women must just have been crap? A cursory look at their debating success would show you that these two women are among the very best competitive debaters in the world. The GUU has a misogyny problem and blaming the victims won’t help their standing in the slightest.

  • http://www.facebook.com/stefano.imbriano Stefano Imbriano

    You absolute moron.

    Firstly, evidence of the GUU’s progressive attitude in the past does not say anything about present conduct, nor does it excuse an apologistic attitude towards misogyny today. You might as well say the GUU can’t be racist, it has a black friend.

    Debate is not contingent upon absolute free speech, debate functions best when ideas are allowed to be equally weighed on their merit, and judged freely according to how convincing and strong they are. That falls down when you let misogynistic arseholes dismiss arguments just because they happen to be spoken by someone who has different genitals to themselves. So other speakers have had pies thrown at them? Oh okay good, no, I take it back, clearly the GUU is a fantastic place for rational discourse.

    As others have already said, these girls have spent the last 3 years readily and tenaciously accepting criticism and engaging with those who disagree with them. What they, and no speaker can, or should, have to bear, is individuals attempting to deride them for who they are. But it’s ok right? Because they’re good looking so should be able to laugh it off? I wonder if you’d say that black football players who receive monkey chants should laugh it off, because hey, they know they’re human beings.

    The fact that you assume (without even hearing the article) that a discussion about how religion affects women must have been off-topic and clichéd goes someway to explaining the latent misogyny, and ignorance, in this article.

    See the first line of this comment – you are a moron, and a bad person.

    • http://www.facebook.com/kenneth.jackson.92317121 Kenneth Jackson

      Agree with all of that except the following two points. Firstly, if the writer is genuinely a bad person then he would not be affected by you saying that. So either you are wrong, or you are right in which case the comment has no effect. Either way, you should not right that about a person, without really knowing them. Secondly, debate IS contingent on absolute free speech. Any restrictions to free speech may prevent undesirable events for example, but also give room to the possibility of civil liberties being unduly restricted as well. Thus there is an ubiquitous threat to the value of debate, which is important not to forget.

      • John Taylor

        Debate is not contingent on absolute free speech. There are types of speech that make debate impossible. For example speech that is their view is invalid because they are women precludes the ability to debate. You can’t engage with someone if they have decided that your opinion is worthless not on merit but because of who you are.

        I think the author of this article is sexist. Not because he’s a man, or a white man, or where he’s from but because of what he wrote. The hecklers rejected the debaters arguments because they were women. They didn’t boo men who argued the same thing. As such they have no place in civilised debate.

  • http://kirstenhan.me kixes

    The writer pooh-poohs allegations of sexism and misogyny in Glasgow University Union, then proceeds to:

    1. Judge the female debaters based on their photos – “Photographs of the two finalists do not suggest they have anything to fear from assessment of their looks…”

    2. Disparage the women for having an issue with people discussing their looks while they’re debating – “…well-poised women would laugh off the schoolboy chauvinism of male adolescents.”

    3. Suggest that women would have been more vicious in ripping apart their counterparts’ fashion choices… so it’s a good thing the guys did it instead? – “Criticising the dresses, however, usurped the prerogative of the women members of the audience who could have been relied upon to execute a far more informed and incisive hatchet job.”

    4. Make the assumption that debate is just too “rough” for women. – “The rough and tumble of a dialectical free-for-all is not for them.”

    On top of that, he completely misses the point: the female debaters were not protesting heckling. They were protesting the sexist content of the heckling, and the fact that they were singled out simply for being women.

    • stephengreen

      3 minutes ago and 95 likes! LOL go forth valiant progressive crusaders and smite oppression! Onto the barricades the bourgeois mentality is in retreat!

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=500940590 Tommy Cave

        At the point where you imply that not being a ridiculous, sexist douchebag is the same thing as being a radical leftist, you’re actively harming conservatism. Misogynist abuse isn’t a left-right thing, just ask Louise Mensch or Sarah Palin.

        • stephengreen

          Considering either of those two suggestions as Conservative is more likely to harm conservatism. Modern conservatism itself is just a pale imitation, just the mildly right neo-liberal wing of the three pronged British Social Democratic party.

    • Eddie

      Were any of them ginger rodents?

  • Max Summers

    So the GUU finally found an old boy willing to defend them publicly? Laughable article. No defence whatsoever.

  • Aida Fatemi

    Dear Gerald, I’m not sure where on earth you got the arrogance to even think about writing such an offensive article. May I suggest taking your large head out of the sand, and looking around at the misogyny going on at what – I thought – was a respectable Union.

    But I’m just glad we have heard your side of the issue – because being such a dumb argument – we can tear it down very easily.

    • GeRaLd WaRnEr

      My arrogance stems mainly from my small penis.

      • Aida Fatemi

        Poor insecure Gerald.

  • http://twitter.com/maledictus Manos Moschopoulos

    As women are currently the best speakers at both the World and the European Universities Debating Championships, I believe you’d find debating is perfectly suited for females. The fact that they don’t debate, or go into politics, is because of hateful, narrow-minded bigots like yourself that dominate our government and some of our debating unions. Also, it is telling that you have the audacity to speak of the ‘Westminster bubble’ given your past as an unelected advisor, but I guess that is just bitterness from your failed parliamentary bid and the fact that your politics are too right wing even for your beloved Tories.

    • http://www.facebook.com/kenneth.jackson.92317121 Kenneth Jackson

      Calm down dear! Which women are the best speakers? When I think of great orators, Jeremy Paxman, Ex PM Tony Blair (ggrrrhhh), George Galloway MP, President Barack Obama come to mind. Margaret Thatcher was also fantastic. But which women are you referring to? You are entitled to your opinion but you can’t expect the rest of us to accept it without question. Frankly, I would say they were equal and no further distinction should be made.

      • http://www.facebook.com/aryfcunha Ary Ferreira Da Cunha

        “As women are currently the best speakers at both the World and the European Universities Debating Championships”. So “best speakers” at debate competitions, not in politics (yet).

      • Ashish Kumar

        He’s referring to the women who are currently ranked No.1 in the world and in Europe for debating. It’s not opinion. They won the Best Speaker prizes.

    • backstoothewall

      Call me pop ….

  • http://www.facebook.com/benlauwy Benjamin Lau

    My good sir, you should win the Nobel Prize for Literature for this piece – “Breaking boundaries in misogyny and general cretin-ness”

    • GeRaLd WaRnEr

      Thanks! I try

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Andrew-Malcolm-Neale/766301203 Andrew Malcolm-Neale

    Pompous rubbish, almost as -if not more- seriously ill informed and fabricated then the Mail’s pathetic attempts at commentary. This person clearly has no idea. And to suggest that female equality and a discussion of The Vatican et al. are unrelated is bizarre at best!

    • backstoothewall

      Almost as pompous as your hyphenated name

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Andrew-Malcolm-Neale/766301203 Andrew Malcolm-Neale

        ? What? 1) How is a name pompous 2) Not really up to me. Madman. Plus with a name like yours Im not sure you want to be throwing stones.

  • http://www.facebook.com/chrismillerchrismiller Christopher Miller

    This sort of opinion piece does the GUU more harm than good; Mr Warner, by his own admission, was not at the debate, and clearly does not know the circumstances particularly well. *EVEN IF* this sort of conduct could be passed off as heckling based on, as Mr Warner claims, ‘going off topic’, and I believe it went well beyond that, the abuse by all accounts continued afterwards into the post-debate drinks, where ‘get that woman out of my union’ was heard while others laughed along. There is no defence whatsoever for those antics.

    The frequently used reply to these sorts of allegations is ‘but it’s only a small minority’. This may be, and almost certainly is, the case. However, the small minority clearly aren’t afraid of making such comments for fear of repercussions, as the GUU culture has allowed it to be laughed off as ‘banter’. Even if these beliefs exist in the ‘real world’, people usually refrain from being stupid enough to air them because the organisation they belong to (their work, their club) would come down on them very heavily if they did. The usual line of ‘we’re very sorry and will take action’ doesn’t cut it- while horrified, Glasgow students were, on the whole, not exactly surprised it happened. Few would be surprised too if/when the name of at least one of the alleged perpetrators is made public.

    The GUU leadership have a chance to take action, and they should grasp it. Saying ‘we’re not all like that’ doesn’t matter- I know for a fact many are not, but the institution will be judged as a whole if it fails to deal with idiots like these. Sadly, this problem isn’t particularly unique to the GUU- I count other, old, established universities among my almae matres and it’s a feature of the debating circuit from time to time, even if not every institution has such a tacit acceptance of this behaviour as the Grand Old Union at the bottom of University Avenue.

  • http://www.facebook.com/aceharris Alex Harris

    “What kind of ‘debate’ is it where, as soon as feminist clichés are uttered, the discourse becomes a monologue and they must be heard in respectful silence?”

    “but to alter that reality by enforcing ‘proportionate numbers’ in competitive finals would be to rig contests, exclude able men and make a mockery of the whole concept of debating.”

    Correct on both counts. It’s a good thing no one ever suggested either then, isn’t it?

  • disqus_9ASO5S6gIL

    The irony inherent in most of the comments below is that this piece is the least sanctimonious article written on the subject by the same group of self-serving people who all too easily live up to the ‘picked last at P.E. so are eternally embittered’ stereotype.

    • Will Stobart

      Anonymity is a great tool for the stereotype you seemingly represent. Happily, debaters don’t have the characteristics which would require them to hide behind a randomly generated amount of letters and numbers in preference to their real name.

      • disqus_9ASO5S6gIL

        Having debated for many years, I can safely say I am so very grateful I do not share many characteristics of those who primarily identify as ‘a debater’.

        • Guest

          You’re defence of this article is incomprehensible. You appear to have taken a rangers-like approach, here, of suggesting that people are only out to get the GUU because they are either: a) jealous of them; or b) jumping on the bandwagon (your favourite term). This, I can assure you, is far from the truth. The GUU has long been a gross misrepresentation of the university, and has always been, and continues to be, a figure of ridicule for many.

          • disqus_9ASO5S6gIL

            I couldn’t get past the first word of your comment. You work out why.

          • backstoothewall

            “You’re defence ”
            Try ‘Your defence’. ‘You’re’ means, ‘you are’, as in ‘you are an illiterate moron’.
            Got it?

  • Gilet Warrior

    If any of these comments comes from someone who is not (a) involved in the debating circuit that the author critises or (b) a Glasgow student who has a strong dislike of the GUU for other reasons – then I will eat my hat.

    • http://www.facebook.com/chrismillerchrismiller Christopher Miller

      Get your cutlery.

    • Aida Fatemi

      …and a napkin.

    • Gilet Warrior

      So that wouldn’t be ex SRC and GU media Chris Miller then?

      • http://www.facebook.com/chrismillerchrismiller Christopher Miller

        Ah, the ‘because you were a member of the SRC, you must hate the GUU’. Good one, we’re all that petty, really.

        The second most common, and most intellectually disingenious, line of reasoning I hear, and not unique to this incident is: ‘The only reason anyone is making a big deal about this, is because they hate the GUU/SRC/Whatever’ (also utilised as: the only reason anyone is defending it is because they’re a member of…) You then get into a cycle of someone hating the GUU so they criticise, and the criticism showing that they hate the GUU. It’s the weakest of defences by someone who doesn’t know any better.

        – signed, Chris Miller, former SRC employee, GUU Freshers’ Helper, SRC Freshers’ Helper, Daft Friday Committee Member, Glasgow Graduate, Oxford Graduate, Fellow at Yale, 5-a-sides’ team-mate of current GUU president, friends of some – but not all – former presidents and board members, member of no debating circuit that I know of, and, I suppose, now dyed-in-the-wool and long-time pathological GUU hater.

        • Gilet Warrior

          You are right. I will amend limb (b) of my original point to “involved in Glasgow University”. As the point still stands, that someone has come to this with preconceived notions. Interesting of you to highlight a weak point but not explain why it is not the case.
          Especially when you then give a good illustration of the fact that you are, indeed, someone with prior GUU dealings.

          • http://www.facebook.com/chrismillerchrismiller Christopher Miller

            It’s weak because – I thought obviously – that rather than address the issue in hand, the defence immediately starts with an ad hominem attack. Ergo “The only reason anyone is making an issue out of this is because they hold biases”.

            Secondly, the idea of ‘preconceived notions’ is ridiculous: By your own definition, the only people thus allowed to comment free from being tarred with that brush would be those with no connection to or knowledge of Glasgow, the GUU or university debating. So the only people allowed to comment were those least well placed to understand why what has happened is inappropriate.

            If you can’t see the flaws in that, maybe you’re not the best person to be commenting either. Welcome to the club you’ve put me in.

            Incidentally- my SRC job concerned Freshers’ Week co-ordination, which prioritised above almost all else getting the four student bodies to work together and not step on each other’s toes, and is one of the last jobs on campus that would be suitable for someone who had a hatred/bias against an organisation. I didn’t leave the GUU with animosity- I left because being a Freshers’ Helper attending DF is something that I, like most people, enjoyed when I was 20, but less when I was 26. Because I don’t go there every week any more doesn’t mean I have a deep-rooted problem with it, aside from those in my first comment above.

          • Toby Nonnenmacher

            Not a member of the debating circuits, never been to Glasgow. Misogyny is still awful.

    • John Taylor

      So going beyond you being wrong on all levels, would it not make sense that people from the debating circuit might be more aware of the real events and able to respond to the varied and many ways this article is factually untrue? And would therefore be able and willing to comment in depth on this?

      *head desk*

      • disqus_9ASO5S6gIL

        It occurs to me that ‘bandwagon’ is the term Mr Warrior perhaps has in mind.

        • http://www.facebook.com/aceharris Alex Harris

          I am starting to think you do not know what the term ‘bandwagon’ means.

      • Gilet Warrior

        So am I wrong or are you a debater?
        If you were not there then you, like I, can have no opinion.
        However if you were there can you explain to me how one can be on the verge of tears and at the same time deliver a speech that judges wouldnt notice contained a single waiver?

        • John Taylor

          Again because as more information comes in what was initially published as true never changes in newspapers. And people who were there have rightly commented that that specific part was inaccurate. Moreover me being a debater or not does not change that this article, even abstracting the debating context still contains some awful lines of misogyny.

          • Gilet Warrior

            Is it not true that John Beechinor said that Meredith had said to him that she was close to tears on several occasions? If it isnt he can sue the telegraph for quoting him word for word. And if it is true, she can sue him. Seeing as it never happened. Nor got close.

          • John Taylor

            Feeling like you were upset/close to tears vs being visibly such is kinda different and not mutually exclusive. Moreover saying something and allowing that to be published are different as are saying something and it being right to be the focus of the article, as is the context it’s published in. Also see what Kitty said about reporting

            Finally on being able to speak unwaveringly despite being upset? That’s because they are fantastic debaters, some of the best I’ve had the privilege of seeing, debating and judging.

        • Kitty Parker Brooks

          The didnt cry, nor did they look like they were going to cry. That is just factually inaccurate reporting.

    • Roisin Caird

      I am neither of those things.

    • Madeleine Wood

      Put your gillet away at the dinner table.

  • Kitty Parker Brooks

    It’s actually them who couldnt be take being humiliated or ‘stand the heat’ which is why those boys are suddenly denying everything and why this article has to resort to ‘political correctness gone mad’. Because they cant handle the fact that we called them out on their rubbish. In front of the country.

    • disqus_9ASO5S6gIL

      “Suddenly denying”? Ah, I forgot that perhaps there might be another interpretation of events. Considering that each new article on this subject seems to refer to a thereto unmentioned further incident of ‘misogyny’ I am not surprised the complainants credibility is finally being called into question.

      • http://www.facebook.com/aceharris Alex Harris

        You know how sometimes at a large event lots of things happen, and now and again, different people see different things? Maybe, just MAYBE, that could be a reason why subsequent articles include previously unmentioned incidents? (That said, when I read Marlena’s initial note it seemed to cover basically everything that has been said subsequently to some degree at least.)

      • Kitty Parker Brooks

        It’s suddenly being called into question because they realised that it’s no longer a matter of getting ‘lad points’ but that they might actually be in serious trouble over it. Not because they didnt happen.

        • disqus_9ASO5S6gIL

          Alex – have you ever heard the term ‘bandwagon’?
          Kitty – How on earth do you arrive at that conclusion as being definitive? Have you seriously not thought that these allegations might be either a) untrue; or b) grossly exaggerated?

          • Ashish Kumar

            I think you’ll find that you’re talking to people who were actually at the debate. Just sayin’.

          • disqus_9ASO5S6gIL

            And I was not?

          • Kitty Parker Brooks

            You probably were – which is why you’re not using your proper name. Conveniently for me there were 2 other people sitting with me who also heard comments made, and there was a chamber full of people who heard these guys (very possibly you it seems) booing the only female speakers in the debate. And given other speakers talked about feminism in the debate but they (/you) didnt boo them, it can’t have simply been that you thought they were going off comment. Sorry about the facts…sometimes they can be super inconvenient for you.

          • disqus_9ASO5S6gIL

            I wasn’t at the debate. I have, however, seen and heard the recording of it. Makes for interesting listening. As I said, best of luck with this…

          • Kitty Parker Brooks

            that’s so great that there’s a recording of it! Now everyone can see them being idiots. Hopefully the recording also got my speech from the floor humiliating them and exposing the quieter comments that were made – because my mum was asking to see it…

          • disqus_9ASO5S6gIL

            Yeah, not so much. Unlucky.

          • Claire Cholewa

            Could you put the link to the recording here? It would be much appreciated.

          • disqus_9ASO5S6gIL

            I would be delighted to. Unfortunately it’s not online. I will as soon as it is though.

          • Claire Cholewa

            Thank you!

          • Ashish Kumar

            Somehow I feel sorrier for you.

          • http://www.facebook.com/aceharris Alex Harris

            Please remember your comments here the next time there is a news stories about a specific incident (as opposed to an ongoing one) and subsequent updates reveal new information because different sources who had not previously made their knowledge public decided to contribute. I hope you will then realise how ridiculous your statement is.

            Also, since Kitty was present at the time, I doubt that she would think it particularly likely that the allegations were untrue.

          • John Taylor

            Guys if one person didn’t see and hear everything that happened all at once, remember it all and then immediately report that information all at once then it questions the credibility of the many many witnesses who can attest to all the different bits. That’s how real investigations work after all….

            Oh no wait.

          • disqus_9ASO5S6gIL

            Hmmm. I think that, so far, only one person has actually claimed to hear the originally complained about statements in question. Kitty. We’ll see how this plays out.

          • http://twitter.com/KirsteenFraser Kirsteen Fraser

            Erm, well, seeing as Kitty was one of the judges present at the debating event who directly witnessed the misogynistic heckling in question I think she is more able to pass comment on it than you.

    • retundario

      What has the standard BBC claptrap about female equality, which is what drew the heckles, got to do with the topic that these ladies were actually meant to be addressing – i.e. “this House regrets the centralisation of religion”?

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=500940590 Tommy Cave

    I’m sorry, is this The Spectator or UniLad?

    • backstoothewall

      Tommy it looks as if you’re having a wank, best change that photo, oh, and wear a hat will you, too much reflected light

    • Robofish

      There’s honestly not a lot of difference, one of them just has a more inflated opinion of itself.

      • martin_lowe

        You’re not narrowing it down for us…

  • Michael Sawaryn

    This ‘real world’ that you allude to at the end of your article? I don’t think you were quite invited to that little party, I’m afraid.

  • http://www.facebook.com/benjamin.dory Benjamin Dory

    So when me and my male debating partner spent most of our speeches later on in the debate talking about female equality and didn’t get boo’d; that was because feminism had somehow become relevant to the debate by then?

    • backstoothewall

      No, you just sent them to sleep.

      • John Taylor

        They won

  • disqus_9ASO5S6gIL

    Can someone clarify something? In the initial comments on Facebook made by one of the complainants, they refer to being ‘on the verge of tears’. The Telegraph reported this. The girls complained that this wasn’t accurate. What is right here?

    • http://www.facebook.com/aceharris Alex Harris

      I thought their complaint was about the Daily Mail reporting that they had burst into tears rather than fighting through the upsetting, gendered attacks and finishing their speeches, which I’m sure you can recognise is distinct from being on the verge of tears and the judges not noticing even a waver in the way they spoke.

    • Kitty Parker Brooks

      The didnt cry and nor did they look like they were going to cry, or that they were on the verge of tears. There were complaints about that because given that didnt happen, during or after the debate, it was factually inaccurate for the Telegraph to emphasise that aspect of it. No one in the chamber knew that they were distressed about the sexist heckling at any point in the debate.

    • http://www.facebook.com/eugenija.golubova Eugenija Golubova

      Why do you think girls’ emotional reaction is even important? That was one of the reasons for complaining: instead of analysing the incident factually the spotlight was shifted to their feelings about it.

    • http://www.facebook.com/aceharris Alex Harris

      Commented on this once and deleted it because I didn’t want to speak for Rebecca and Marlena, but I will re-post it with the simple preface that there is certainly scope for inaccuracy in what I’m about to say, and I apologise in advance for any that appears.

      My understanding was that their main grievances re: crying was the Daily Mail reporting them to have burst into tears, as opposed to fighting through the difficult, gendered attacks and finishing their speeches, with the judges “not notic[ing] any waiver, hesitancy or indeed weakness”. I’m sure you can recognise the difference between them.

      If I’m mistaken and they did have some objection to The Telegraph’s reporting of it, then I can only apologise.

  • http://www.facebook.com/eugenija.golubova Eugenija Golubova

    So standing the ‘heat’ – where is that common part in debates where men have to put up with misogynistic remarks about their looks and get heckled simply because they are men and if they don’t succeed they are told that debates are just not a thing for their gender?

    • http://www.facebook.com/kenneth.jackson.92317121 Kenneth Jackson

      You’ve obviously never watched The Full Monty, Eugenija :-)

  • http://www.facebook.com/andrew.beverstock.5 Andrew Beverstock

    Mr Warner,

    I’d be very interested in meeting with you and discussing your opinion. Do you have a spare time machine so I can travel back to the 1920s to meet you?

    • stephengreen

      This joke has already been made and it wasn’t funny from the last idiot who recycled it.

  • http://twitter.com/OliverMilne Oliver Milne

    GUU commissioned ‘journalist’ Gerald Warner – who wrote this piece – to write their history.It was called “Conquering By Degrees.” He dedicated it to the misogynistic 139 Club. Chair of the Spectator Media Group Andrew Neil (@afneil) and Spectator Editor Fraser Nelson (@frasernelson) are both Glasgow Alumni. Tweet them your thoughts.

    • Fraser Nelson

      You don’t need to use Twitter, the comments section here works pretty well…

      • http://twitter.com/OliverMilne Oliver Milne

        So given this piece furthers a narrative that is factually inaccurate – as evidenced by reporting by Glasgow Guardian, STV, Telegraph, Herald etc etc – why did you publish this piece Fraser? Is it to be needlessly controversial?

        I mean you’re a journalist of some substance. You can see this just nonsense. So is it just link bait?

        • http://www.facebook.com/john.mckee.39545 John McKee

          To be clear Fraser, in the midst of a crisis of misogyny at the GUU, the advocate you commission to defend the institution from allegations of sexism is the stegosaurus who wrote a history of the union ending when women were permitted to join, and who dedicated that book to the 139 specimens who voted against?

          Thanks very much for your help there,

          John McKee
          GUU Debater

          • backstoothewall

            Debater or masterdebator, hmmm, tricky but I think I’m going with the latter

          • Ashish Kumar

            Really sorry for the good people at the GUU who need to put up with people who are determined to dig the entire institution into a deeper shithole. :(

          • backstoothewall

            John McKee, GUU masterdebator

        • http://www.facebook.com/chrismillerchrismiller Christopher Miller

          Hey, if it works for the Daily Mail…

          We can pre-empt the response: It will be something to do with ‘promoting debate’ on the subject. It always is. The Telegraph’s article was scarcely better in the sense that it decided something was more newsworthy if it took the angle a nasty man made a clever pretty girl cry, but that’s probably to be expected.

          As terrible as this article is, in the spirit of no pots calling kettles black though, how many publications, the Glasgow University Guardian included, have not published articles which are not exactly factually watertight first, generated headlines second, and then maybe thought about asking the other side for a reply at some point later, under the auspices of defending the right to highlight different opinions and promoting a debate? It’s not the Spectator that’s at fault specifically here, everyone’s at it.

          • http://www.facebook.com/aceharris Alex Harris

            I think factual inaccuracy backing up misogyny is probably worse than factual inaccuracy that isn’t.

          • http://www.facebook.com/chrismillerchrismiller Christopher Miller

            That’s not really the point I was making. The point is that, lamentably, this stuff always, regardless of content, gets bundled together with notions of promoting opinions, debate, and free speech. There’s no point in attacking the printing of this article specifically on those grounds- it’s nothing new. Open Daily Express any day ending in a Y for some tenuous link to the truth somewhere buried in it about anything from teenage ‘yobs’ to immigrants to the unemployed. I would suggest the Glasgow Guardian, although with countless other publications have employed the same tactic in the past, albeit to a less obvious degree. It’s standard practice.

            But, while we’re at it, does that mean we should rank misogyny as the worst? So a factual inaccuracy backing up racism or anti-gay hatred is probably better than one backing up misogyny? One that has a go at immigrants taking our jobs or the Scots all being lazy and subsidised by the English, where to they fit? I don’t really see where you’re going with that. I address the issues of the ‘facts’ in the article in another comment.

    • backstoothewall

      Who ate all the pies then?

      • http://twitter.com/KirsteenFraser Kirsteen Fraser

        Oh grow up.

        • backstoothewall

          You sound like my big sister when she was at her most insufferable, about fourteen as I recall, going through one of her ‘oh you’re soooo immature’ phases. seems to be an inescapable right of passage for daft wee lassies.

          • John Taylor

            Says the person who is hiding behind a fake name and has variously made a masterbation joke, insulted people for being bald and said that the kettles won’t boil themselves to a female commenter

          • backstoothewall

            Anyone who posts regularly uses a ‘moniker’ or nickname, the fact that you are unaware of this suggests that you, as well as most of the posters above, are part of a rent-a-mob probably mobilised by social media to swamp the boards with your tiresome PC whining.
            Masterbation (sic) is spelt masturbation.
            The comment re boiling kettles wasn’t mine.
            Happy to insult baldies anywhere, anytime.

          • John Taylor

            Even on sites where I am a long time user I believe that if I’m going to criticise someone I should at least have the conviction of what I’m saying to use my real identity. And a rent a mob from Facebook? I mean firstly however i found out about this factually untrue and offensive article i would have commented as i Did. Secondly You are wrong I’m afraid. My housemate is a subscriber and I read it as well.

            And I am dyslexic so rely on spell check which missed that

            If you didn’t I apologise on that count however do you not think your argument is undermined by making childish jokes? The people commenting may be angry at the article but they love debating issues. Why reduce the level to masturbation jokes and ad hominoid attacks on the commenters?

          • backstoothewall

            Forgive the rather bad pun but to ‘prick’ the pomposity of the joyless, humourless, PC androids who post and prose endlessly about how ‘deeply offended’ they are by this or that, just a grown ups way of saying get over yourselves.

            I listened to Meredith on youtube, if she is the best contemporary undergraduate debating can produce then God help debating is all i can say, a debate is about cut and thrust, thinking on your feet, taking information and destroying the opposition with it, not a long, boring, self important monologue.
            Study the career of Anne Lesley if you want to see how a gutsy, talented woman deals with the slings and arrows of juvenile detractors without snivelling.
            BTW, Meredith, clever wee thing that she is, is using this issue to raise her profile nationally, a political internship will follow and a safe seat after that; you are being used.

          • John Taylor

            Your way of being grown up is to make masturbation jokes? Good job
            So again the mechanisms of the debate are crucial for the context here. British Parliamentary style debating is a format of debating where rhetorical style does not come into consideration. It’s about the rational analysis of the issues, and proving your case in a logical manner. Moreover you only find out what you will be speaking about 15minutes before and are not allowed to research online etc once you know the motion. If you want to discuss the benefits of different types of debating fine but for the style used she is very good.

            As for snivelling again you both miss the point and how this has been dealt with. She and her partner both continued speaking and were very good. They then confronted the people involved. When the GUU failed to react appropriately she raised it with the media to force them to act. There was then a backlash from parts of the media which she reacted to (I think very well). Then she discovered that on “lad” sites there were threads discussing how best to rape her. Which again she felt she should respond to. How is responding to hatred and threats in the manner she has snivelling? At what point has she shown something other than courage?

            And considering that I, and most of the people posting here, are her friends that is not what she’s doing. She has raised and/or highlighted things that are real and genuine problems.

          • John Taylor

            Actually more simple way of moving the discussion on. Three questions:
            1 Do you think this incident and the reaction of groups on social media being openly aggressive is a problem?
            2 If so what’s your solution?
            3 Considering the rules of the debate precluded a response at the time, and the GUU initially failed to react to do anything about this what would you have done?

          • backstoothewall

            I know all about parliamenary debating, I made my PM in the 1970’s. There will always be a place for rhetorical style, had your friend posessed a fraction of gerald warner’s rapier wit she could have cut her detractors off at the knees. Warner and I come from the old tradition of union debating (in our day the best in the world bar none), no prisoners taken, just the quick and the dead, if the present crowd can’t hack anything other than a polite hearing (yawn) then perhaps they should try public speaking contests instead.
            I have no experience of social media, it is the preserve of the very young and the terminally shallow.
            No rules preclude a devastating riposte, I suspect the speakers just didn’t have it in them.
            For the record, as the father of two daughters, I deplore any gratuitous rudeness to girls, I was brought up to believe that such behaviour was unbefitting a gentleman, the erosion of old fashioned gallantry, a casualty of militant feminism, has eroded manners and allowed boorishness to flourish.

  • Tomas Beerthuis

    Uninformed article, do your homework

  • http://www.facebook.com/matthew.oldham.967 Matthew Oldham

    This is quite possibly the most insensitive, dishonest, sexist, elitist, callous, stupid, dismissive article I have ever had the misfortune to read, and is a stain on the face of journalism. You think it “unlikely” that this happened? I’m sorry, but notwithstanding your supreme powers of divination, your assessments of probability are completely irrelevant here. This happened, and if you think calling someone a “frigid bitch”, and shouting “Get that woman out of my chamber!” have a place in debating, then you sir, are an idiot. It seems that the issue is not whether the GUU kitchen is to hot for these debaters (I assure you it is not; they are two of the most formidable speakers I’ve had the good fortune to hear), but how exactly to deal with the rats currently infesting it.

  • Laura

    I cannot stress how reassuring it is that both men and women alike have found fault with this article – such a reinforcement of shared human values.

    • backstoothewall

      Just the herd mentality dear, don’t get carried away, all together now, four legs good, two legs baaaaaaaaaaad

  • Roisin Caird

    I don’t really know much about the debate or what actually happened at the event, but if you could please oblige me, and the rest of the intelligent public, by buying a dictionary, or better yet, a history/sociology/politics book, and actually looking up the definitions of Stalinism and Marxism that would be just dandy. K, thanks :)

  • CN

    “Glasgow University Union should place a notice above its entrance: ‘Welcome to the 1950’s.’” <- Fixed that for you.

  • http://twitter.com/donAlvar Lanark

    It is deeply embarrassing to have “the schoolboy chauvinism of male adolescents” coming from GUU delegation. It would all be much better if that gentleman club did not bear the name of the University, but something like “the toy castle club”. That old-fashioned, elitist historic pride rubbish brings little comfort to the Glasgow University students, staff and alumni who do not fall in the category of pompous twats.

  • http://www.facebook.com/haroldraitt Harold Raitt

    The real world: Is a world where, if you work for any professional organisation in the UK and are heard to make a sexist, racist or homophobic comment about a colleague, you will invariably be:
    – immediately suspended
    – sacked following an investigation
    – find it almost impossible to get a good reference from your employer.
    You, Gerald Warner, are the one not living in the real world. It’s about time that you, and those siding with you, woke up to the fact that Rebecca and Marlena have done these immature teenagers a service by showing them what today’s ‘real world’ of professionalism and respect really entails.

    I, for one, greatly enjoy a debate (in certain appropriate forums) with appropriate heckling. I’ve never enjoyed any debate, however, where this happens randomly or simply for the sake of it. Heckling and applause are only really fun, and valuable, when earned and when inclusive.

    • stephengreen

      No HR, that’s only a small part of the real world involving the largest business organisations or those hired in the public sector and even then only following an employment process. The majority of the UK population do not live in this world, although many would like to see that day happen. But an adolescent debating chamber is not this world and a university which encompasses it is not that world either. Do run along.

    • backstoothewall

      ‘Inclusive heckling’ LOL, what a prat

  • http://www.facebook.com/kenneth.jackson.92317121 Kenneth Jackson

    I believe the main problem with this article is that it is readily understood by approximately half the population only.

    • http://www.facebook.com/kenneth.jackson.92317121 Kenneth Jackson

      I want to point out that this was a joke! It certainly speaks volumes that men and women seem to be united in their condemnation. If the writer wanted to make the point that the feminist cause can get a bit annoying, he chose the wrong argument with which to express it.

  • http://www.facebook.com/fincbtax Andrew Carey

    What an utterly disgraceful article. YOU are the problem with the GUU. The unremmiting misogyny in this article is astonishing and disturbing in equal measure – you are an embarrassment to the University of Glasgow and a liability to the union that you seek to defend. MORON.

    • backstoothewall

      Cute photo, did she make you write that or are you just a bit dim?

    • backstoothewall

      “unremmiting”
      LOL, can’t even spell, deary, deary me, probably doing English too.

      • http://www.facebook.com/DavidBannisterJones David Jones

        I appreciate the irony of criticizing someones spelling and grammar, when your username misspells “to” as “too”.

        • backstoothewall

          It started as backs2thewall but I got banned so I changed it to backstothewall and I got banned again so I changed it to backstoothewall. Anyway monikers are exempt fromthe rules of spelling; how’s the bus going BTW, learned to use your mirrors yet?

  • Ben Goldstein

    “The politicians who cut their teeth in GUU’s tough debates included John Smith and former Union presidents Donald Dewar, Menzies Campbell and Charles Kennedy”.
    What do all of these people have in common?
    Oh, yes. They are all men, you total moron.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=36801692 Alexandra Hill

    Is this for real?! I reckon even the GUU sexists might take umbrage with the misogynistic bull**** in this article.

    “That is because, as with politics, fewer women want to debate. The rough and tumble of a dialectical free-for-all is not for them. ”

    ^ There is so much offensively wrong about this I couldn’t even begin to engage with it.

    • backstoothewall

      Try, go on, for mummy

  • Madeleine Wood

    I’m ashamed to tell people that I attend the University of Glasgow if people like this can claim the same credentials.

    • backstoothewall

      Attending a university isn’t a credential

  • Becca McSheaffrey

    Initially I had to work on the assumption that this article was a sub par attempt at irony and hope that you thought of yourself as some kind of witty social commentator who was hoping to highlight their point through the medium of sarcasm. However, having finished reading the article I realise that not only are you talking about an issue that you clearly have no concept or understanding of as a lot of your discussion on BP debating is laughable but that you are using the experience of two incredible young women in order to further your on ‘journalist’ career, sensationalize and appear ‘how witty, random and REAL.’

    You will probably laugh of this comment – though it should be noted my response is a lot less insulting than what Marlena and Rebecca experienced – so I won’t feed your ego by feeding into your narrative that all women are ‘overreactors’.

    My post is directed to those reading your comments incase anyone may be as gullible as to buy your ‘interpretation’ – British Parliamentary debating does experience problems with sexism and it is not acceptable in anyway to say that these girls should have expected it. Debaters more than anyone are able to cope with harsh criticism, shredding rebuttle, cheers and boos. These girls experienced far more than that and were singled out solely for their gender.

    However, if we don’t as a community realise this is unaccapteble we will never change this status quo. You undermine the important work of GUU members who are using this experience to realise the extent to which sexism exists and to lead the fight against it. This article demeans their efforts and is representative of the outdated attitudes that have kept women from participating effectively in public discourse. While you may be comfortable living in the 1950s those who have spoken out against the sexism are not – fortunately for us they are in the majority now.

    • retundario

      The status quo is that women speaking on any public platform now think they are entitled to dribble on about how they need everything to “change” to suit their own interests, even when that is clearly NOT the proposed subject of the discussion – e.g. seemingly every BBC politics show on air. It’s often totally irrelevant, and of course is annoying if you are not a member of the group openly promoting themselves non-stop. We need this status quo to end, the heckling at GUU is a fantastic movement in that direction.

      • Ashish Kumar

        But the points about feminism they made in that debate were perfectly relevant — and they were made again by the other teams (all-male teams, mind) in the debate, except that they were not heckled. You should check out Ben Dory’s comment on this page.

  • Elizabeth Morrison

    I go to Glasgow University and make no mistake: the GUU is sexist, anachronistic and the very definition of a ‘lads’ club’. It’s unfortunate that Gerald Warner would like to keep it that way.

    • Sacha

      Why do lad’s clubs always end up being so unpleasant to women? Women don’t treat men who come into their domains in this way.

      • Fergus Pickering

        Oh yes they do.

  • Al Marsh

    I can’t add to what many before me have put more eloquently, other than to say that – incredible as it may sound – many of the best debaters I have ever known have been women, and many of the worst have been men – and vice versa. It’s almost as if your sex organs and XX/XY chromosomes don’t really effect debating one way or the other.

  • Julie McKenzie

    Gerald Warner is an ugly, geriatric moron and for those reasons alone he should not voice his opinion in public or print without being shouted down. If anyone objects to this assertion, please see the article above.

  • http://twitter.com/DeccaQuinne Karen Barclay

    It’s not a debate if you’re being shouted down. The winner is the loudest, nastiest person in the room, not the one with the best ideas… And it doesn’t seem to bother you that women feel excluded from public life because they don’t like the arrogant aggression that it seems to thrive on, so why should we worry that men are worried about being banned for ridicule & contradiction… May the best lady win.

    • backstoothewall

      Looks like you’re a bit of dog Karen.

      • http://twitter.com/DeccaQuinne Karen Barclay

        And you’re a blank space…

        • backstoothewall

          Good answer.

          • http://twitter.com/DeccaQuinne Karen Barclay

            thank you. :)

  • http://www.facebook.com/ben.adams.71404976 Ben Adams

    This article is hopeless. The people you’re criticising could annihilate you in any debate, any time, anywhere. Particularly if your idea of a good argument goes, “They’re posh, we’re not, so it’s fine for us to yell sexist abuse at them.” They certainly don’t need your creepy little endorsement that, “Photographs of the two finalists do not suggest they have anything to fear from assessment of their looks.” The idea that people should have to accept sexist abuse as part of game is sickening. I was in that final as well, and when I made comments about gender equality (which I did, because it was relevant to the motion) nobody from the audience heckled or booed me for it – because I’m male, and for no other reason. You should be ashamed of half-truths and misogynist slanders in this sinister little article.

    • stephengreen

      Does a worthless piece of bluster become less worthless when it is posted for the second time? Discuss.

    • backstoothewall

      Actually he’d take you apart, I’ve heard him.

  • http://www.facebook.com/lauren.obee.1 Lauren Obee

    Rather than worrying about the heat of the Glasgow kitchens, as Mr Warner does, I would suggest attention be placed on disinfecting them.

    Misogyny must be ‘cleaned out’ of the forum of university debating.

  • jenn.murray@btinternet.com

    This ridiculous column speaks volumes about the out-of-touch sexist attitudes of Gerald Warner!

    • Sacha

      And the Spectator editors.

  • 15peter20

    “Political correctness, being the Frankfurt version of Marxism, cannot tolerate contradiction.”

    You really have no idea what you’re talking about, do you? Sounds plausible though!

  • christoper bitchins

    How on earth did this get past quality control?

    • backstoothewall

      The PC aparatchik censor-monkey had gone for a (fair trade) coffee and someone who appreciated good polemical writing stood in for her … et voila.

  • Andy Gray

    Jesus christ even I think this is misogynistic bullshit, slooopppppy defending, eerr I mean writing,

    • http://www.facebook.com/kenneth.jackson.92317121 Kenneth Jackson

      To be condemned as misogynistic by Andy Gray! Well, it doesn’t get much more conclusive than that!

  • Max Sefton

    Listen to people who were there you pompous, ignorant, obnoxious Tory prick: These girls were excellent speakers and they were subjected to horrendous abuse. You misrepresent almost every facet of the events that occurred and espouse a culture of acceptable sexism that ought to sicken any sane individual in the 21st century.

    • Fergus Pickering

      One would think the girls had been raped at the very least. The violence of the language is very student and immature. The article is obviously obnoxious but the whole thing is a bit of a storm in a teacup, surely.

      • Robin

        WOW. “one would think the girls had been raped at the very least”. What on earth goes on in your head to make you think saying that is ok? if they had been raped, the perpetrators would be in jail. Stop trying to trivialise rape, and realise that calling women frigid bitches really isnt ok

        • Fergus Pickering

          You never read what people who disagree with you say, do you? You just run off at the mouth. I said, and I say again, that this is a bit unpleasant but not very important. You may or may not have noticed that women in India and practically any muslim country, are routinely raped on buses. Now THAT’s a problem. That’s impotant. The Glasgow university drunks are not going to do that, are they now?

          • Robin

            No one is saying that what happened was as bad as gang rape in India. Just because one thing is unbelievably awful, doesn’t mean that something not quite as bad isn’t still awful and we shouldn’t stamp it out. Just because they weren’t raped doesn’t mean that these girls weren’t victims of sexism. More importantly, Glasgow University students have since reported that the male GUU members play a game called ‘Fat Girl Rodeo’, where they grab a girl, tell her they are going to rape her, and then time how long they can hang on to her. This union has endemic problems.

    • retundario

      Why do PC zealots always have to use the date to justify their zealotry? People will still get annoyed by others who tediously self-promote no matter what century it is, even in the 23rd century i imagine.

      • backstoothewall

        To emphasise how up-to-date, right-on and generally with-it they are.

    • backstoothewall

      Tsk Tsk Maxy baby, did no one teach you punctuation and spelling at that expensive school mummy and daddy sent you to? No need to use a capital letter after a colon, though to be fair you’re more of a rectum than a colon really.

      • Max Sefton

        Thankfully I went to a state school, not that my schooling is in any way relevant to the point I was seeking to make. Although given that you managed to misspell your display name maybe it’s not the best idea to throw stones?

        In retrospect my language was a tad extreme however in my defence I was rather angry at the shameless falsehoods in this article. Nonetheless I’ll stand by everything I said. It’s nice to know that you saw nothing beyond a petty grammar mistake worth rebutting in it.

  • Verity Sinclair

    Very clever. Assuming that heckling is appropriate in this context, surely ‘get back to the point’ rather than ‘frigid b****’ would have been more appropriate. ‘grow-up-girls’?. Next you’ll be instructing women to accept inappropriate remarks on their physical appearance

  • http://www.facebook.com/theo.wheatley Theo Wheatley

    It should be pointed out that the author of this piece is official biographer of the GUU

  • http://twitter.com/FrFintonStack Finton Stack

    .

  • thisarticleisshit

    This article is shit

  • Vignesh Ashok

    Warner, you walking advert for abortion, if you can’t help but hark back to the good old days when being a sexist, misogynistic pig was celebrated, you should stay out of the journalism business. Keep up with the times you Neanderthal.

  • http://www.facebook.com/matthew.szeto Matthew Szeto Chak Hin

    I disagree with the Spectator article, but I am glad that it was written. I believe neither the few GUU members nor Gerald Warner identify themselves as racists. What the incident at GUU and this article illustrate is the error in judgement an individual make between what is acceptable and what leads to discrimination.

    We grow up with experiences that lead us to form associations between physical… attributes and the value of another human being. It would be arrogant to think that any one of us are immune to these type of pervasive invisible forces.

    As such, we would all have engaged in discrimination. This could be heckling in a debating chamber, or deciding to ask someone of your own race for direction (cause they look more trustworthy).

    So we each have a choice. We can accept that the status quo with discrimination as acceptable, that our own conception of the world is somehow the only ‘reality’ and any one who disagree is ‘political correctness gone mad’.

    Alternatively, we can pluck up the courage to recognise our inner imperfection and to examine our behaviours with a view to reduce behaviours that marginalise others. This is understandably much more difficult than option 1.

    Recognising that social boundary can change and anyone of us could find ourselves as member of the powerless minority,the latter option is obviously the right one. The meaningful thing is not to proclaim ‘Welcome to the real world.’ but ‘What do we want the real world to be?’

  • elizabeth

    Why do men assume women must play by their rules if they want to take part? It doesn’t work that way anymore.

    You’re getting an easy ride, you dish out the abuse and aggression and get none of that back in return. If you want to win by cheating that’s your look out, but don’t expect the rest of us to go along with it.

  • elizabeth

    “I’d like to say that if Gerald Warner thinks misogynist insults are a
    valid part of debate, then he’s a paranoid dinosaur, with all the
    writing grace of a dickless baboon. ”
    http://www.newstatesman.com/politics/2013/03/why-are-some-university-debating-societies-havens-misogyny

    • backstoothewall

      “with all the writing grace of a dickless baboon”
      Ooooh, ok, now let’s turn that around shall we ….
      “Elizabeth writes with all the grace of a c*ntless baboon”
      Witty, n’est pas?

    • backstoothewall

      It’s a well known fact that Proust was in fact a ‘dickless baboon’, given the aforesaid where does that leave you exactly?

  • elizabeth

    “Would Warner support racist hecklers at the sidelines of the Olympics,
    booing Mo Farah for being black? Tell him to just toughen up, deal with
    it?”

  • elizabeth

    “well-poised women would laugh off the schoolboy chauvinism of male adolescents”

    What nonsense. Nobody should be expected to laugh off discrimination and abuse. That’s the abuser’s charter.

  • http://www.facebook.com/julian.bryant5 Julian Bryant

    Considering the disgusting misogyny on show, and the quite rational presumption that this article would prompt a loud (and high quality) response from those of us on the debating circuit, I guess I can’t help but respond with this. Personally leaning towards the former for The Spectator, and the latter for the author.

    http://cdn.uobdebating.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/not_sure_if.png

  • sillylittlewoman

    teehee debating clearly isn’t for me!

  • http://www.facebook.com/dicky.hopps Richard Hopps

    I struggle to see why the proud history of the GUU means that individuals are somehow illegitimate in criticising the bigoted actions of some of their members – the fact is that there are some things that people say and do that do not progress debate, rather they just offend people. Unless you think it is a legitimate opinion that women are inherently less good at debating/worthy of speaking in a debate, which I assume you don’t, then you must expect a strong negative reaction from the debating community when people do and say these sorts of horrible things. Moreover it is indicative of the history of the GUU that such decisive action has been taken more broadly to correct for misogyny across the debating circuit as a whole. When you claim this is a smear campaign against one institution, a reaction addressing broad issues on the debating circuit suggests almost exactly the opposite is true.

    Supposing that you are not a misogynist, it is probably time for you to take a closer look at the details of what happened, or reconsider your opinions of free speech. It’s not political correctness, it’s the removal of objectively offensive opinions for the promotion of equality, and it’s a fine aim.

  • Tim Westwood

    This article is madcrazywack yo!

  • whatthefuckisthis?

    What the fuck is this?

  • thisisaterriblearticle

    This is a terrible article

  • Jamie Branson

    I am not a debater, and even I can tell this is claptrap bullshit. How old is the writer? 467?

  • Sacha

    “If Cambridge’s debating girls can’t stand the heat, they should stay out of Glasgow kitchens”
    Firstly they aren’t girls and secondly, they are two individual women, not some generic group with a handy label.

  • Sacha

    Why this ridiculous photo to accompany this article?
    Did the photo editors get the wrong end of the stick? It was the women not some poor innocent man who was being heckled.

  • Jon Wood

    I couldn’t disagree with the writer more, we demand a right of reply.

  • http://www.facebook.com/howard.byers Howard Byers

    Someone really screwed up giving the green light to this article.

    Let me be clear – Perhaps, given the massive criticism of GUU and consistent attacks against their members, someone could mount a ‘devil’s advocate’ defense of them. As a member of the debating community, I can tell you that we thrive off interesting discussion and argument (we wouldn’t be what we are without it), and we are not attacking this article just because you’re speaking up for GUU. We’re attacking this article because this article sucks.

    A good response, which supports the GUU members would have to meet a number of criteria:

    The first is that it should be written by an individual who has been part of the debating circuit recently, and has attended the Glasgow ancients final before. This ensures that the individual in question shall have a comprehensive understanding regarding how the debating circuit works, and what individuals in the debating community – nearly universally – regard as acceptable and what they regard as not acceptable in the final of a major debating competition.

    The second is that it should be written by someone who first and foremost attempts to establish the facts of the matter and can use these facts to present a case in favour of GUU or their members (if they could actually provide one). This ensures that the individual is not making presumptions about what happened and what did not happen. Nor should they imply – without any evidence – that wider societal values are to blame for the issue in the first place.

    The third is that the article should be written using objective and serious language which conveys the seriousness of the issue at hand.

    This article fails all three of these criteria.

    Even the title of the URL is appalling: ‘Grow up girls’. Who wrote that? Who seriously typed that into the web and thought “yeah, this title works”.

    Please, do better.

    • Fergus Pickering

      You mean they shouldn’t have printed t because you don’t agree with it. What hapened to free spech?

      • http://www.facebook.com/howard.byers Howard Byers

        Quiet troll, we’re not feeding you.

      • Robin

        Free speech? Sorry – since when did free speech become about making up facts about an event you didn’t attend. He’s literally invented things. There were no feminist cliches. The men talked about women’s rights and weren’t booed. And, oh yeah, the men also told the women to “get that woman out of my chamber”> Seems like it was definitely about the argument

    • backstoothewall

      ‘Let me be clear’
      LOL, pompous little prick, who gives a flying f*ck whether you’re clear or obscure? That’s right, no one.

  • mark_dowling

    To Gerald Warner: stop “helping”

    To Alex Massie: never mind Chavez, write something sensible on this; surely something dopey must have happened at the Hist in your day.

  • stephengreen

    Excellent article!

    Would the same simpering agitators below be posting such things if male debaters were heckled in a cutting way? No. We have these (largely) male commenters expressing their solidarity, partly out of some nursery-book chivalry and partly out of some vaguely-absorbed feminist rhetoric excoriating any defence of rowdy
    tactics.

    Just another tired example of the sympathetic behaviour that must be applied in the modern world to not offend against the sensibilities of those who want to police every interaction. Glasgow thankfully has a degree of independence from some poor aspects of other UK universities, chief among which is independent student unions. What a
    glorious change it would be if most other universities followed suit.

    • Ashish Kumar

      “Would the same simpering agitators below be
      posting such things if male debaters were heckled in a cutting way?”

      Yes, we would, because we are not as Neanderthal as you are, and are also opposed to heckling of gay people and minorities purely on the basis of who they are. There are some interactions that ought to be policed, thank you very much. And this kind of pathetic rubbish about not being misogynist being prelude to some super-oppressive nanny state is to puerile it barely needs dignifying with a response.

      • stephengreen

        No Kumar, I think not. The fact that the usually sedate comment section on The Spectator has been invaded by crusading leftist gerbils, that are not reflective of the usual contributors, all decrying ‘sexism’ and various other pet themes of the modern progressive, suggest to me that the same outrage would not have been orchestrated if a couple of males had been riled as mutton-heads or uglies or similar.

        The fact you highlight some of those other groups where sensitivities must usually be observed (homosexuals and minorities) underlines this.

        As for your nanny state comments, that is of a piece with your Neanderthal comment – the usual go-to clichés for those who have others do their thinking for them. It’s not something I suggested, nor thought.

        This is just a fairly standard example of the usual left-wing push to make political demands on how the rest of us should engage within the shared cultural space.

        • Ashish Kumar

          So you think that telling people not to shout misogynist comments at people harms this “shared cultural space”, rather than preventing in turning into a fairly exclusive one? You give me no reason at all to think that this “progressive agenda” is bad. I think that it’s morally wrong to single people out for characteristics they had no choice over.

          • stephengreen

            The cultural space is preserved by challenging discourtesy or bad manners as discourtesy or bad manners. It is harmed by requiring that people adhere to a set of progressive principles that seek to punish for not abiding by ‘inclusive’ guidelines that favour certain protected classes in society over others.

            “You give me no reason at all to think that this “progressive agenda” is bad.”

            To be fair, someone who has either chosen or who has the given name Kumar is very unlikely to consider any enforced constraints around public discussion that cover sex or ethnicity as a bad thing. It is in your natural interest to make a society more ‘inclusive’ just as it is in mine to make discussion of such topics open to free discussion.

          • Ashish Kumar

            That wasn’t discussion that occurred at the GUU. It was heckling. There is a difference. One can describe racism/misogyny without engaging in it. Pretending that we disagree over “free discussion” is very disingenuous.

          • stephengreen

            It is penalising people for diverging from progressive orthodoxy as the statement from GUU outlined and as all of the anti comments on this website has shown.

            The content has caused the level of uproar not the nature of its delivery.

          • Ashish Kumar

            What you’ve done, is basically call something “progressive orthodoxy” and therefore relativize it into a realm where going against it becomes “legitimate”. Do you that that laws criminalising rape penalise people from diverging from the “progressive orthodoxy”? Have you shown that there is a plausible moral case for telling women that they should be disregarded because they are women? *That* is the oh-so-hallowed so-called “content” of that heckling.You are very good at being slippery, and at spouting double-talk, but very bad at making an argument.

          • stephengreen

            And you Kumar are somewhat proficient at being able to mischaracterise what someone else is saying to for your own narrow ends.

            “Have you shown that there is a plausible moral case for telling women that they should be disregarded because they are women?” (your preceding sentence is unreadable).

            It is not required that I do so. Depending on the situation, that might be a valid position, such as joining the SAS or assessing the unrepresentative nature of the building trade or banter among friends.

            My criticism is against the institutionalising of speech codes for a range of progressively determined protected classes, the infringing of which could lead to one losing one’s position (such as at a university).

            All yourself and your ideological confrères here are outraged at the “telling women that they should be disregarded because they are women” aspect, not the heckling aspect.

          • Ashish Kumar

            Yes, that’s what we are outraged at, and there is no plausible moral case for that being a valuable speech act. So it should be disallowed. Your argument against this consists of throwing around flaccid labels like “progressive agenda”. Some classes ought to be protected because in majoritarian democracy in a patriarchal culture they are especially vulnerable. And you have yet to give me an argument about why this should not be the case.

          • stephengreen

            I have given you a couple of examples in my previous post. It is clearly a progressive agenda because the impetus for these restrictions comes from the activist left side of the political sphere looking to advance their desires for a better society by regulation and not from the right side which is more favoured towards freedom as a good in itself.

            A “speech act” does not have to show its value to be allowed it is allowed unless it can be shown to have direct harm to the individual.

            This is a fondly held British tradition and obviously something that you are not either familiar with or sympathetic to..

          • Ashish Kumar

            Ah, so you were just making the “speech is an inalienable right” argument. Took you a bit a time to be clear about that. But speech does harm people, especially misogynist speech. It makes people feel afraid, excluded, alone, and makes them less willing to speak out. It’s vapid and meaningless to tell Tutsis in Rwanda that they were “free” simply because everyone could speak out. When you are in an environment where you are being wrongly singled out (as you seem to concede) free speech is restricted, not advanced. If you hate restricting speech, why are you happy with men in the GUU trying to prevent women from speaking out? And before you trot out the usual “mere traumatisation isn’t harm” argument, you might want to consider the reason rape is considered a worse crime than mere battery — it’s because of the emotional devastation it can cause.

            It’d also be nice to stop the racist overtures in your comments. You know very little about me, and it’s a little embarassing to watch you posting this kind of stuff.

          • stephengreen

            I’m British and on the conservative right and I don’t make arguments based on abstract rights but those entitlements that have been historically won and that culturally we have come to value. I have no direct interest in the rights of Tutsis and in fact your including them here is meaningless.

            “It makes people feel afraid, excluded, alone, and makes them less willing to speak out.”

            Not good enough, that’s life as it’s lived. Everyday is filled with examples of social discomfort. A working class kid at Cambridge, a woman joining an male dominated environment, a traditionalist in a university that includes a comprehensive set of speech codes and on and on. The answer is not universal speech codes but the expectation that this is the norm and developing the wherewithal to deal with it.

            Racist overtures (how quaintly put!) are in the eye of the beholder. If one is to go on your chosen user name, then it is clear you have some ethnic history that is not wholly British and this brings with it certain assumptions, such as valuing the cultural inheritance or a natural interest in driving restrictions on how the population are able to live their lives. You go right on feeling embarrassed, I assure that I have no emotional investment in that fact.

          • Ashish Kumar

            Your argument takes the form: X is a true description of the world, therefore X is good. You need to do much better than being caught by the is-ought distinction.

            My ethnic history is not wholly British — so? It’s a purely empiric question how much the British public value freedom of speech. And given that Britain has historically had (and still has) some of the most restrictive defamation/libel laws and still has many oppressive laws on the books, I’m not sure that’s true. The reaction to the article alone shows that if anything Britain today seems not to like misogyny very much. You seem oddly obsessed by this left/right thing for no particular reason.

          • stephengreen

            No, my argument takes the form that we view any radical changes to our political environment with scepticism and caution.

            “My ethnic history is not wholly British — so?” I have already explained why.

            “Restrictive defamation/libel” Not that restrictive and as they require a great deal of money and significant risk they are rarely used thus not impacting much on the ability to be critical of people.

            “The reaction to the article alone” Laughable. A bunch of progressive students who all signed up to Disqus today and who see this small event as an opportunity to try to push their wares do not a consensus make.

            “left/right thing” for the very clear reason that there is a tendency by those on the left to push for illiberal measures that is not mirrored by those on the right and which has as with most of the above already been explained to you.

          • Ashish Kumar

            I take it that you have not noticed the reaction of the national media to this incident?

            And the whole “view changes with caution” just reduces to the idea that we should be morally biased in favour of the state of the world, while falls afoul of the is/ought distinction. Note furthermore that you have yet to tell me why emotional harm should be disregarded without simply saying “the world works this way”.

            And there is no significance of my race to my arguments whatsoever.

          • http://www.facebook.com/nathanchalky Nathan ‘Nate-dogg’ Chalk

            I am completely ethnically British and agree with every word Ashish has just said.

            Life’s hard being a race traitor.

          • stephengreen

            “National media”
            I have seen some fluff. I don’t take limited media coverage whose articles reach usually have the journey of a fruit-fly as demonstrating much value.

            “should be morally biased in favour of the state of the world..is/ought”

            No. What has gone before is a strong consideration in evaluating what should go after. The value of ought is in part determined by considering what is.

            “Emotional harm” I have clearly explained above. Practical reasons and what is considered reasonable behaviour.

            Race: yes there is. Consider immigration. There is a natural interest in a person with close ethnic and cultural connections within a territory wishing that territory to remain a living space occupied by those like him. there will be a tendency for their arguments to be based on that factor. There is a natural interest for those who are newly resident in that territory to make the opposite argument. Similarly with speech codes or discrimination laws or various other areas. Not in every case, but where the impacts differ, the arguments will too.

          • Ashish Kumar

            “No. What has gone before is a strong consideration in evaluating what should go after. The value of ought is in part determined by considering what is.” Why? Is/ought distinction. You are repeating yourself, not explaining yourself.

            But we’re not talking about immigration. And you have no idea about where I live, how wealthy I am, or what my interests are. Assuming that I feel some special connection with people of the same race as me is pretty stupid. (Could you explain my shocking insistence as a man on respecting women?) And I think the DM/Telegraph/Guardian together have a far greater reach than The Spectator.

          • stephengreen

            I’m just outlining for you how background can have an impact on argument. And not necessarily by connection to others but by connection directly to self (security from criticism, deportation or whatever).

          • http://www.facebook.com/anser.aftab Anser Aftab

            wait, I am confused. So since ahsish may ‘potentially’ be Indian, (something which you deduced from his name), and may thus be ‘potentially’ impacted by certain policies in a certain manner (deportation, LOL), he loses his the right to have his argument merited on its own grounds. Hmmm. But wait, isn’t it true that anyone making an argument for anything could potentially benifit from the thing he/she is arguing for, and anyone arguing against anything could potentially be caused harm by something he/she is arguing against (well, for most things this is true). The emphasis is on potentially. After all, couldn’t we say that someone like you who indulges in casual racism has an interest in not having casual racism condemned? Or couldn’t someone arguing for laughing off misogyny potentially be a misogynist himself? Wait crap, now we have no means of adjudicating, to borrow a gem from the article, “a dialectical free for all” between two individuals. Oh wait, we do this by actually listening to what the argument is rather than speculating on the genelogical origins of one Ashish Kumar, which remain, rightfully so, a mystery.

          • stephengreen

            It doesn’t surprise me that you are confused.

            There is no suggestion that someone “loses his the right to have his argument merited on its own grounds” due to background. Just that my response to his not valuing a cultural inheritance or taking a different view regarding specific policies is not surprising considering his likely ties to non-British ethnicity.

            Additionally, this has practical political implications. A settled population (group A) is more likely to be opposed to immigration than recent arrivals (group b). It is likely too that group B will be more favourable to restrictions on the way that the settled population interacts with them ( speech codes for instance or anti-discrimination legislation).

            Therefore it is reasonable that where group A are opposed to these same things to favour restrictions in these kinds of entrants into their settled territory.

          • stephengreen

            As I said at the top of the comments, I think the GUU are fully within their right to say that this behaviour is not acceptable but that to do it in the name of anything but discourtesy is socially detrimental. Anyway, for now at least, some other calls on my time are waiting.

          • Ashish Kumar

            “”Restrictive defamation/libel” Not that restrictive and as they require a great deal of money and significant risk they are rarely used thus not impacting much on the ability to be critical of people.”

            This is a bit of a side-track, but you should study law for a bit. The number of cases where big companies have sued people into oblivion for critiquing them is pretty amazing.

          • stephengreen

            I am aware of some of those cases but they are still limited (such as the famous MacDonalds one)but IIRC companies have less of a right to sue than individuals and the penalties are not as significant, it’s the costs that kill.

          • Ashish Kumar

            I’d also like to apologise for failing to respect your noble British tradition of misogyny. Damn foreigners, coming over ‘ere and respecting your women!

            (Cheers, Ben.)

          • stephengreen

            “I’d also like to apologise for failing to respect your noble British tradition of misogyny.”

            No-one is defending misogyny, nor would I say is it represented in this case. Boorish behaviour perhaps. That’s another defining aspect of the modern progressive. Big overblown diagnoses of small examples: misogyny, homophobia, sexism, racism and on the sorry tale goes.

            “Damn foreigners, coming over ‘ere and respecting your women!”

            Sure, if we look at the Indian subcontinent of which your user name places you we can see a proud tradition of respecting women and of course by extension some examples in the UK too.

            “(Cheers, Ben.)”

            This your way of Europeanising your online persona or a slip?

          • Ashish Kumar

            Ben is a friend who read your comments and finds you amusing, and suggested the response.

            I’m not from the Indian subcontinent, and yes, there is horrible abuse in the Indian subcontinent too. Abuse of women is bad wherever it happens. (It’s really, really, funny, actually, your whole “Indian subcontinent” thing. Imagine, an Indian having more respect for women than you!)

          • stephengreen

            “Horrible abuse in the Indian subcontinent too.” Particularly amused myself by your implicit suggestion of some equivalency between the position of women in the UK and India.

            “Imagine, an Indian having more respect for women than you”
            Not really. In a country of over a billion people there will be a range of opinions so it probably only amuses the slow witted.

          • Ashish Kumar

            There no implicit equivalency. I’m very happy to say that the position of women in India is far worse in general than that of women in the UK. But that does not mean that shouting misogynist comments at women is acceptable.

          • backstoothewall

            Sooty & Sweep
            Vs
            Suttee & Sweep (up the remains)

      • Fergus Pickering

        Are you opposed to the heckling of anybody? Do you consider heckling in itself something that ought to be stamped out. Or do you approve of heckling o long as it is by your own side whose opinions are good and right?

        • John Taylor

          Heckling someone because you think they are wrong. Yes. Heckling someone because of who they are. No. Questions?

      • Colonel Mustard

        What about the heckling of Tory minorities?

        • Ashish Kumar

          That’s obviously wrong. People should not be heckled for choosing a particular identity.

          • http://www.facebook.com/howard.byers Howard Byers

            Yeah, ‘Tory Scum’ chants. Not cool. Unacceptable.

  • JoshKay

    wehey, missed the point completely and then went off on it’s own misogynistic rant. What a well constructed article.

  • http://twitter.com/sedgladium Tancred

    Great article. Gerald Warner continues to be one of those lone voices of sanity in a world gone mad.

    • stephengreen

      Hear, hear Tancred. Whatever else this was, you can feel the neo-soixante-huitard’s working themselves up into an indignant hysteria over a matter that is at worst a discourtesy. But they are fighting oppression, onwards comrade!

      Hilarious really for the rest of us.

  • http://twitter.com/NandakumarSriva Nandakumar Srivatsa

    Hey Moron!!!! If I were to be as sexist as you, I’d say Its funny that you remark on the extent of heat a woman can take in the kitchen! .. By god! .. How would you know how hot it is ? .. Have you ever been inside one ????

  • stephengreen

    The below official statements is how the progressives use institutional pressures to punish divergences from (left-wing) political orthodoxy in our culture. Not a quiet word to people about discourtesy but institutionalising people’s interactions through formal policy with potentially serious consequences for those caught infringing them. This is how the whole public space will be for all if they and their ideological comrades are not told to go away.

    The answer, I think, is to deny wholly chapter and verse ALL of these sorts of demands and say that the cultural space should be as robust as possible and that we should have an expectation, or in fact a desire, for heterodox opinion, not strict adherence to orthodoxy. A private organisation may choose to institute a code of conduct but if the cultural environment is more receptive to heterogeneity then this will feed into these sorts of decisions. Read the below and weep for our culture.

    STATEMENT REGARDING ACTION TAKEN SINCE GLASGOW ANCIENTS FINAL

    After the incident at Glasgow Ancients Final on the evening of Saturday 2nd March 2013, Glasgow University Union is undertaking a number of steps to move forward in a positive fashion. In the first instance, an open apology was issued yesterday for any offence caused by the actions of audience members. We have also contacted those involved to express our apologies on behalf of GUU.

    Any sexist statements are entirely incompatible with Glasgow University Union’s aim of being an inclusive and welcoming institution and will therefore not be tolerated. GUU has been investigating the claims made and action is now being taken in line with our discipline memorandum – to which all members are subject – in order to ensure that appropriate action is brought against those members who caused offence.

    Furthermore, the Board of Management have liaised with GUU’s Debates Committee to discuss new policies that will be implemented to ensure that such issues do not reoccur in the future. These include the introduction of a code of conduct to union debating, Board of Management equity training in order to deal with complaints appropriately, and amending our Standing Orders to ensure that it is made clear that any offensive heckling will not be tolerated and will be dealt with immediately. Our hope is to take this forward as a part of a comprehensive review of debating culture at GUU.The Complaints Procedure for GUU has been revised and will be re-issued and publicised so that members can make official complaints in the future with confidence that any such complaint will be handled more efficiently and professionally than those made on Saturday evening.GLASGOW UNIVERSITY UNION

  • DRoche

    I would like to say that the author of this article should be ashamed, but obviously he’s well beyond that stage. This is an absolutely outrageous article that attempts to justify the brutish behaviour that was evident at Ancients and not for the first time. Harking back to the GUU’s achievements in areas of equality in no way negates or justifies the fact that these men were abusive chauvinists. If they had been loudly heckling the speakers about their race or nationality, I suspect the writer would not be so quick to defend them.

    • retundario

      No the point is that these women were spuriously promoting their own gender, even though their self-promotion was irrelevant to the topic of the actual debate. If a white person or a black person started going on about the importance of their race during a debate on House of Lords Reform, then I would hope they would get loudly heckled.

  • Toby_Jones

    The Spectator gives the illusion of being a serious publication, but it can always be trusted to show its true colours by posting ridiculous pieces such as this one, the likes of which would probably be too shameful even for the Daily Mail

    • stephengreen

      Don’t go wasting your pocket money then Toby, eh?

  • ClausewitzTheMunificent

    Well the internet Marxists are out in force today. Pity Telemachus isn’t clearly visible.

  • ClausewitzTheMunificent

    Brilliant Article! Keep up the good fight against this ridiculous Stalinist campaign of PC which has overtaken the West.

    • stephengreen

      Yes, CTM, all of them stampeded from some progressive watering hole and signed up to Disqus for the first time in their lives..

      • ClausewitzTheMunificent

        Quite! I have been keeping a close eye on the online comments for some time and I recognize none of their accounts. The Mongol Hordes are indeed upon us, so to speak, but poor old Genghis has to pop his clogs at some point or other.

      • John Taylor

        And because we only just joined we are inherently wrong? Heckling Tories because they espouse right wing views is different from heckling them for an inherent unchangeable characteristic of their being. If I heckled Theresa May saying I thought her policies were wrong it is radically different from heckling her because of her gender. The discussion on the level of that heckling that is acceptable is one for another day. For one thing I don’t think shouting scum at Tories does anything other then hurt the political process. I actually agree with you on that count.

        This is wrong for the same reason that racism is wrong. To but her a great phrase, Judge them not for their gender but the content of their speeches

    • Colonel Mustard

      The most laughable aspect is that a good majority of the “outraged” would see no problem in booing or heckling Tory speakers. I particular like Comrade Max Sefton’s comment as a fine example of the sort of mind boggling (and mindless) hypocrisy that is the stock in trade of such mobs. It seems they would politicise even good manners.

  • Toby_Jones

    Also just noticed that the URL contains the phrase ‘grow up girls’. Classy as ever

  • Hanna Alder

    It is so encouraging to see so many men on here ready to condemn this article on the basis of misogyny and sexism. These two pervasive ills in our society hurt everyone – men and women, boys and girls- and it is so heartening to see so many male allies here who are calling out those that would seek to perpetuate outdated and harmful views. More please!

  • retundario

    Great article – what on earth have tedious feminist cliches got to do with the topic of that debate? Nothing whatsoever. Men don’t use every opportunity to speak publicly to openly promote their own gender. When women start doing that, which they seem to do all the time now (e.g. Andrew Marr Show this Sunday), then men are entitled to tell them to shut up, stop boringly and selfishly self-promoting, and talk about the matter in hand, not themselves.

    • Claire Cholewa

      Sir/Madam (I cannot tell from your username),
      I’m afraid you’re misunderstanding the point rather. There are comments here from other members of the debate who point out that feminism was relevant. I assume that if you were present you would know this. As you were clearly not you have no idea if they were “cliches” or not. More importantly even if they were it doesn’t mean they are no longer important and pressing points.
      The reason feminism is still such a big issue and that feminists, as you put it, “do all the time now” is because we still live in an unequal society- as this situation at GUU shows.
      You do not have to be female to be a feminist and it is not self-promoting rather promoting equality to ensure equal rights for all. Talking about one’s gender does does not even involve talking about oneself- might I suggest you do your research.

      • stephengreen

        Pipe down Claire, that kettle won’t boil itself.

      • retundario

        Madame, you were not present either, so you clearly have no clue whether feminism was relevant, and the title of the debate would indicate that it absolutely wasn’t – i.e. “That this House regrets the centralisation of religion”. The rest of your post is low-grade rubbish – I can’t be bothered with crap about an “unequal society”, you have to be very seriously mentally deficient to fail to understand why men and women do not have exactly equivalent statuses in every social situation.

    • Robin

      Hello. I was there. They weren’t talking about ‘feminist cliches’. They literally just talked about female priests. Female priests is a pretty big issue with religion and society right now, but perhaps you didn’t notice. The men in the debate also talked about female priests. One male debater even made the exact same argument as them, in the same way. And he wasn’t booed. Interesting huh?

  • Julian D

    Storm. Teacup. Trolls.

  • Ashish Kumar
  • backstoothewall

    Excellent article Warner. If prissy cambridge types can’t fight their corner in the chamber they’d probably be better sticking to needlepoint.

  • Toby Nonnenmacher

    Clearly what happened was disgusting, ridiculous and unbelievably stupid, this article is disgusting ridiculous and unbelievably uninformed, and all that’s still maintaining any hope for the good of humanity is these comments and the strength with which the individuals in question have approached the abuse they faced.

  • Elizabeth Mullen

    There are many things I could say in response to this article, none of them pleasant, but a standout point for me was ‘a GUU debater is judged above all on his capacity to riposte instantly and wittily against a heckler’ . ‘His’. This article refers only to male debaters and their successes at the GUU. Also, the above discussion of the speaker’s dresses as being the concern of the women in the audience is absurd – women at the debate would, of course, be far more engaged in sartorial aspects than in the debate itself. The title is deliberately provocative, but this article is quite frankly embarrassing.

  • Claire Cholewa

    Has anyone noticed that all the previous comments from the author have been deleted- I wonder why.

    • backstoothewall

      Because it wasn’t the author, just one of your twelve year old friends being witty, ho ho.

  • http://www.facebook.com/julian.ingham Julian Ingham

    “That means, ultimately, that genuine debate is ‘unacceptable’. If Cambridge ‘debaters’ cannot be exposed to robust heckling…” – I’m sorry, how is the shouting of disparaging and essentialist remarks at someone a valuable contribution to ‘debate’, or “dialectical rough-and-tumble”? The final words of this article make it sound like the sexist display at GUU was some kind of important expression of a vital social view, which should not only be tolerated but embraced. Our response to misogyny should be opprobrium, not tolerance or apology

    • retundario

      Getting bored with feminists talking crap is not “misogyny”

      • http://www.facebook.com/julian.ingham Julian Ingham

        No, but shouting out insults based on their gender is. Be as bored as you like.

      • http://www.facebook.com/julian.ingham Julian Ingham

        No, but shouting out insulting remarks, during a competitive debate, on the basis of someone’s gender is.
        By all means be as bored as you like.

    • mumble

      I’m sorry, how is the shouting of disparaging and essentialist remarks at someone a valuable contribution to ‘debate’, or “dialectical rough-and-tumble”?

      Excuse me, are we discussing Glasgow University or the House of Commons?

    • mumble

      Our response to misuse of the word “misogyny” is to discount everything else you’ve said.

  • http://www.facebook.com/oilychininsertion Kenneth Robinson

    Dear Gerald Warner: No offence pal, but you are a f**king c**t.

    • Guest

      Debate.

    • http://www.facebook.com/oilychininsertion Kenneth Robinson

      Discuss.

    • backstoothewall

      And people wonder why Glasgow does so badly on University Challenge

    • mumble

      Oh, dear me. A disparaging and essentialist remarks . No Cambridge University Union for you, m’lad.

  • disqus_4zMmRRc29p

    Gerald Warner – the sort of person who makes you think that David Cameron isn’t so bad after all.

  • http://twitter.com/devonblack Devon Black

    Mr. Warner, the next time you’re in Western Canada I’d love to debate you in person on gender issues. I’m sure I can find a crowd of debaters that would be pleased to heckle you – though I suspect that, unlike the select audience members at GUU, my crowd would at least respect your right to be there.

  • http://twitter.com/elouiseknoop thevenusenvy

    “WWWWWWWWAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHH” < What happens when freedom of speech gives others the right to peak out against the over privileged bullies of society. The writer clearly has ignored every single piece of context regarding this issue. This is what happens at the GUU DAILY, and has done for years, now the eyes of the press can see it, all of a sudden the bullish boot boys of the establishment want to blame the old "over reacting women". But the thing is, it's not the women, it's everyone who is calling this out, yep EVEN THE MEN, behaviour like this belongs in the history books, and men like Chris Sibbald do not. Now someone fetch poor Gerald a tissue before he wets his nanny's blouse.

  • Paul

    The author of this article is a virgin with a tiny cock.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000035470616 Rhodri James ‘Llewelyn’ Gillha

    Please, sir, join the rest of us in the 21st century. Failing that, go to Saudi Arabia. You should fit right in.

  • stephengreen

    Nice one Gerald, nice one son, nice one Gerald, let’s have another one!

  • http://twitter.com/FamilyLawyerGB Gillian Baker

    The Spectator and Gerald Warner should get their facts right. Rebecca Meredith welcomes heckling, disagreement and argument in debating and is an accomplished and experienced debater. She should not have to endure sexist abuse. Here’s what really happened, first hand http://www.thefword.org.uk/blog/2013/03/what_does_a_wom

    • stephengreen

      I think we’ve got that Ms Baker. It may have been uncouth, it was certainly boisterous and perhaps in a formal debate infra dig, but the vehemence of the response and the nonsense spoken since, dwarfs this little episode in its appalling look at our culture and the nature of a certain vindictive type of student activism. So you’ll forgive the rest of us if we don’t rend our clothes and seek to make amends.

    • Mr Creosote

      Read the article and the link – where’s the nearest gun shop?

    • mumble

      “Women should not have to accept being overtly sexualised or targeted as “par for the course” in a university which is supposed to represent learning and equality.”

      Wait, what?! Equality? Isn’t that what we debaters call begging the question? Universities are not supposed to represent equality; they are the ultimate in elitism. No-one who’s got into Cambridge should need to be told that.

  • http://www.facebook.com/james.flack.73 James Flack

    Given one of the heckled was from Edinburgh, that’s a far more powerful bias in Glasgow than any based or sex, race, religion, or the like…

  • Robofish

    I’m assuming the writer of this piece didn’t attend the debate in question, and so doesn’t actually know what was said there beyond second-hand reports. So this entire piece is simply a collection of speculation and prejudice.

    • stephengreen

      Does one need to have first hand experience of everything before one is entitled to offer comment?

      Do go away.

      • Robofish

        Given that Gerald Warner clearly has no idea what was actually said at this event, it seems like it was a bad idea for him to write a whole article on the subject, based purely on his assumptions about female debaters. And the commenters have rightly called him out for it.

        • stephengreen

          Firstly you suggest he should not speak on a subject to which he has only second-hand knowledge, which is the most obvious claptrap.

          Now you divert to a different tactic, that he:

          “clearly has no idea what was actually said”

          Which is odd, considering that he mentions lots of examples throughout.

          Do you want to try for third time lucky?

  • FMarion

    OK–let me get this straight. Some college boys, lacking somewhat in the social graces, act like boors, some college girls are offended, and the whole thing is deemed to be so completely unusual that it not only generates this article but 290 outraged comments as well? Or, perhaps, is this just another case of young people in higher education taking themselves far too seriously (doesn’t everyone take themself too seriously at that age?), and that both sides might look back in 5 or 10 years and laugh at their younger selves.

    And a note to the young men involved. Get over your self righteousness and write those young women apology notes. You will never regret doing so.

  • John Lea

    Really fed up hearing these pretentious, cosseted, middle-class woman grumble on and on about how awful it is being heckled and suffering ‘abuse’. I think this started with Mary Beard, and now all these puffed-up little Germaine Greer wannabes have jumped on the bandwagon. For goodness sake, toughen up! Is it really the end of the world if some drunk lad says you have nice tits? And isn’t it funny how they (feminists) always seem to argue for more equality of opportunity and female representation, but only ever in relation to certain middle-class professions, like politics, or law courts, or corporate boardrooms? You never see them arguing for the rights of women to work on building sites or oil rigs, drive tractors on farms, dig roads in mid-February. Why not?

    • Jackthesmilingblack

      Wouldn’t you feel more at home at theTelegraph?

      • Guest

        And aren’t you banned from BOTH The Guardian and The Telegraph by the same authorities? You are a bit of an Internet troll, aren’t you?

        • http://www.facebook.com/terry.field.587 Terry Field

          Being banned is a sign of robust idividuality – if you have not been banned – you must be a yes-man!

    • mumble

      Has anyone been following the Adria Richards/#donglegate kerfuffle? One of the comments I read was from a man who said, “We haven’t talked to the women [in the office] for four years, since we got sued.” Is this a success? Is it helpful? Is it the goal?

      I’m interested in understanding why the standard is “The least little thing that anyone might take offence at”. Why be Loretta Lynn about it? Why not be Dolly Parton?

      The witch-hunting (if you still call it that when it is the witch who is doing the hunting) has got to the point where, the other day, I hastily back-pedalled in the middle of saying, “It’s all part of the package”. Is this a success? Is it helpful? Is it the goal?

  • http://twitter.com/AmandaPCraig Amanda Craig

    Every time I am tempted to subscribe to the Spectator again, it prints rubbish like this. Shame on you Fraser Nelson, shame on the oafs who lap this stuff up. Alexander Chancellor, Charles Moore and Dominic Lawson would never have stooped so low..

  • Nana

    Disturbing yet hilarious. Please tell us more so we can mock you openly.

  • Maya

    The writer has failed to grasp the issue at the heart of this story. The female debaters were not outraged by the heckling per se, they are complaining about the sexist and idiotic nature of the heckling. Imagine if a Black or Asian debater was to be derided by hecklers because of his or her ethnic origins? Would that simply be the “rough and tumble” of debate? Or would that be considered the hateful reaction of a small elite who can’t abide seeing anyone they see as different, and therefore inferior, having a fair shot at a hobby that has long been the preserve of white men? This article is a desperate attempt by the author to uphold a world view that is totally outdated and counterproductive. If you want to join the “real world” it’s time you realised that it is no longer the 1950s.

  • Maya

    The writer has failed to grasp the issue at the heart of this story. The female debaters were not outraged by the heckling per se, they are complaining about the sexist and idiotic nature of the heckling. Imagine if a Black or Asian debater was to be derided by hecklers because of his or her ethnic origins? Would that simply be the “rough and tumble” of debate? Or would that be considered the hateful reaction of a small elite who can’t abide seeing anyone they see as different, and therefore inferior, having a fair shot at a hobby that has long been the preserve of white men? This article is a desperate attempt by the author to uphold a world view that is totally outdated and counterproductive. If you want to join the “real world” it’s time you realised that it is no longer the 1950s.

    • mumble

      Quick, everyone! Remove all women MPs from Parliament before they are subjected to idiotic heckling!

      [As a pleasing side-effect, this will also rid Parliament of all the idiotic heckling tha women MPs “contribute”.]

  • tom

    Never mind your sexism and your chinless lack of backbone- gosh, you are truly, truly boring.

    As a writer, a person and a thinker.

    • mumble

      Nice ad hom. Well done.

  • martin_lowe

    That’s a surprise. With a headline like this, I was expecting the author to be Rod Liddle.

  • http://twitter.com/FrenchCampsites BestFrenchCampsites

    I believe the problem is that the heckling came from within the closer circle eg the actual committee – it wasnt from the general invited audience…..I have heard this from someone who was in the audience who was there.

  • The_greyhound

    Anyone else notice the way that the word “misogynist” is hurled at anyone daring to dispute any item of puling nonsense from the feminist brigade? Like most swiveleyes, they’re not here to debate, but to enforce orthodoxy. As with other assorted nutjobs (socialists, trots, homophiles, EU groupies – lets called them Guardian readers for the sake of convenience) they consider themselves to be uttering revealed, incontrovertible truth, and it is simply not permitted that anyone else should say or believe anything different.

    It is this same mentality that makes the Guardian so eager to support state regulation of the press. The Guardian never prints anything off message, and sure as hell doesn’t see why the Telegraph or the Speccie should be allowed to.

    The reason of course is rather interesting : in the last generation most of the crackpot “ideas” of the “progressives” have been put into action : and shown to be catastrophic nonsense. So the progressives’ only defence is to forbid debate, It will shortly become an offence to laugh at the chaotic incompetence of a quango queen, and a hate crime to question the beneficence of the EU. And in the meantime there is a rich vocabulary of slurs for anyone who says anything out of turn.

  • Fritz123

    Wow!

  • mumble

    The word “misogyny”, which is a powerful word for a serious thing, has been debased by being thrown at every damned little thing that makes some woman feel even slightly uncomfortable about anything.

    Laddishness; boorishness; ill manners; lack of class; whole spectra of joking and teasing (including “robust” and “loving”); social gaucheness, clumsiness and ineptitude; competitiveness; flirting (including “outrageous”, and one of life’s pleasures); expressions of sexual desire, however delivered and whether or not honest and open; and much else; are not “hatred of women”. Some of them are sexism and some unpleasant and undesirable, but that’s another topic.

  • http://twitter.com/ReprievedSoul David John Scott

    So the Commenters continue to miss the point, perhaps better made by Lincoln portrayed by Day-Lewis – we are NOT all EQUAL, we are only equal before the law. If a person makes an irrelevant (perhaps propagandist) point during a debate centred on religion, heckling can and should ensue. If the person is female, the heckling may relevantly target the declared sexual orientation of the meandering debater.

    • http://www.facebook.com/terry.field.587 Terry Field

      Spot on David

  • Chris

    This is ridiculously patronizing. Perhaps the writer of this article would care to read this, written by one of the debaters in question, to better inform himself on the incident itself and gain a little more perspective? http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/the-cambridge-union-society/feminism-we-still-need-cambridge-union-society_b_2858567.html?utm_hp_ref=fb&src=sp&comm_ref=false

    In addition, is it really necessary for the ‘writer’ to put the word ‘debater’ in inverted commas as if the people discussed are not really debaters at all? These people have won national awards for debating (could you say the same of your writing? I doubt it), and incidentally beaten many men. They can clearly ‘stand the heat’ of debating; they are not weak or incapable. It would also be great if you didn’t proceed to drag tired Oxbridge stereotypes through the mud: it’s very tiresome and also implies that you have almost totally forgotten half of the team of which you are speaking (you know, Marlena, the one who went to Edinburgh, not Cambridge).

    • mumble

      Well, no. The point of the article is precisely that, when put in the same crucible as everyone else, they didn’t stand the heat.

  • JD
    • mumble

      And your point is, caller…?

  • mumble

    I’m surprised that no-one has made the point that, since all cultures are equally valid, Glasgow students are as entitled as anyone else to their own cultural mores.

  • http://www.facebook.com/garyecarp Gary Carp

    Perhaps this article was deliberately ironic. But the louts who seek to discourage participation and use personal abuse to harass women should be named and shamed. They are small minded yobs whose verbal thuggery only persists because the Glasgow Union tolerates this intolerance and enables these vile individuals to hide behind a cloak of public anonymity. This is simply not acceptable behaviour and the Glasgow Union must clean up its act. And until they do, all universities should suspend relations with the Glasgow Union

  • intemperatevulgarity

    Plenty of people have already skewered the incoherent, seething misogyny that characterises this ludicrous piece, so I’ll just say that this bit:

    “This ridiculous row speaks volumes about the health-and-safety, equality-and-diversity, cellophane-coated culture that is spreading its Stalinist tentacles everywhere. Political correctness, being the Frankfurt version of Marxism, cannot tolerate contradiction.”

    is just hilarious, the frenzied air of conspiracy theory – “Stalinist tentacles!” – making it particularly ripe for ridicule. My favourite part is the inclusion of “health-and-safety”, as if ensuring we live and work in asbestos-free buildings or that our kids don’t get lead poisoning from their toys is actually a plot to send us all to forced labour camps. And considering Stalin’s purges involved the repression of ethnic and religious minorities, calling a culture that strives for equality and diversity “Stalinist” is the height of ignorance and idiocy.

  • Sherpajack

    I want to call the author an *expletive*-ing tw-*expletive*, but that would neither advance the discussion nor my case overmuch.

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