The Insubordinate brings you a brand new yet easily digestable newsletter, with our take on current affairs and breaking news both internationally and nationally. This week we cover a variety of news stories from disparities in white and non-white terrorism to Katie Hopkins speaking at the University of Exeter.
– Callum, Edward, Ollie, and George.
Coast Guard officer, self-described white nationalist, planned terror attack to ‘kill almost every last person.’
“A U.S. Coast Guard lieutenant and self-described white nationalist planned a domestic terrorist attack targeting politicians and journalists, federal prosecutors say in court papers.”
Again and again, we see the ‘troubled’ white person drive a car into a crowd of people, kill an MP, bomb a city, shoot a school or place of worship, and again and again, we see the ‘monsters from the east coming to our lands’ to cause trouble and to hurt ‘our people.’ The hypocrisy of reporting and punishing terrorism is real, and it needs to be tackled.
- Mark Anthony Conditt, a white Christian, was not called a terrorist despite being the Austin Bomber. He was apart of Righteous Invasion of Truth: “a bible study outdoors group… including monthly activities such as archery, gun skills and water balloon fights.” The White House press secretary denied any link between the Austin Bombings and terrorism, and the Austin police chief claims Mark should be seen as a “very challenged young man.”
- Darren Osborne, the white man responsible for the death of one person and the injury of 12 others when he became obsessed with Muslims after watching a BBC TV drama involving child sex abuse and a Pakistani man and decided to drive his car into a crowd of worshipers at Finsbury Park Mosque. He was called a “clean-shaven white man” by the notoriously racist Daily Mail.
- Christopher Hansson, a self-described white nationalist amassed a huge arsenal of weapons and created a hit list on which to use them on including Latin-American Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez among others including CNN hosts. Hansson was branded a terrorist once his court details were revealed on Twitter however it should have happened soon, but the Department of Justice failed to release a press release as standard with his court details.
- Dylann Roof, a 21-year-old white man who was given a free Burger King meal after shooting dead 9 black churchgoers. The judge went as far as to claim his family as ‘victims.’ Roof was never charged for terrorism instead he received a weapons possession charge and nine counts of murder.
Is it a reality the west is not ready to face? Or is it a reality the media and the government don’t want you to see? Either way, the media is disproportionately representing the crimes of muslim terrorists and the crimes of white terrorists. The Institute For Social Policy & Understanding found in April of 2018 that cases of attempted violence involving Muslim suspects received 7 and a half times more coverage from major media outlets than those involving non-Muslims. The study also found that the average prison sentence was four times higher for ‘perpetrators perceived to be Muslim’ than those to be perceived to be white, facing the same charges. What this study proves is the huge disproportionate coverage and punishment Muslim terrorists face compared to white terrorists and if anything further supports the notion of white privilege even when considered as a criminal. It is statistically better to be a white terrorist in the United States of America, that’s significant considering terror attacks are increasingly motivated by right-wing views of white nationalist, and anti-globalism.
How many people have to die at the hands of white ‘troubled’ people before we finally start calling them what they really are: terrorists.
– Ollie C.
“The Westminster government will cut fire and rescue service funding in England by 15% over the next year, analysis from the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) has found, despite claiming that “austerity is over.”
Recently the annual Local Government Finance Settlement was announced by James Brokenshire, the secretary of state for Housing, Communities and Local Governments, on the 29th of January which revealed: Central government funding for the fire and rescue service is set to fall by £155 million in 2019/2020, which equates to a 15% cut from 2016/2017. It also revealed that between 2010 and 2015 funding has been cut by 30% for the service. All of this has happened despite the conservative government claiming “austerity is over.” The Fire Brigades Union (FBU) has warned further cuts could damage efforts to stop another Grenfell-style event.
This isn’t the first example of the UK government sneaking out cuts, it has a odd history of doing so. Back in December of 2018, the government snuck out an £85 million cut to the Public Health sector, that includes sexual health clinics, schemes to tackle obesity, drug and alcohol misuse services for children and young people, as well as mother and baby support. The government accomplished this by “sneaking it out” on the last day of parliamentary term, which meant most MPs had already returned to their constituencies meaning little to no debate or resistance to the cut could be formed. Yet another example of a ‘stealth’ would be the recent pension cut which could cost the poorest elderly couples several of thousands of pounds. The cut would mean that those with partners under the retirement age while they are above will no longer receive the extra benefit. This specific cut was snuck out while MPs were preparing for the showdown Brexit vote. The cut will take effect on the 15th of May despite being told that the time of austerity is over by the Tory government. Here is a list of other sectors cut since the supposed end of austerity:
- NHS cuts of £2.7 billion in another example of stealth cutting, even though waiting times are high and hospital beds are in low numbers.
- Police have 22,000 fewer police officers since 2010, with 80% lost from the front line. This comes despite the fact that London knife crimes are at an all-time high.
- Fire & Rescue Services have seen a 30% cut in funding since 2010 despite the events of Grenfell Tower, a huge national disaster.
The amount of hidden, or ‘snuck through’ cuts to departments of out government that would clearly cause outrage is worrying, and if nothing only goes as far as to show that the system can be abused, is being abused, and can be played like a game.
– Ollie C.
Katie Hopkins is no expert on citizenship, global affairs, or immigration. She is an ex-journalist and presenter who has consistently peddled lies and hatred for personal gain to the point of employer liability.
Debating societies at UK universities are, in theory, an excellent platform for the discussion of opposing views. For the uninitiated, they follow a largely uniformed structure and are similar to the debating styles which have existed for centuries:
There is a motion, usually formatted as ‘This house believes’ or ‘This house would’. The motion has two teams of two or three, a proposition and an opposition. These teams then have an allotted time to speak in turn in front of an audience, who are able to ask questions at the end. The audience usually vote on the motion at the end, based on who argued it better.
University debating societies are keen (and encouraged) to bring in guest speakers in order to provide expert or otherwise specialist views for specific topics. Oxford University’s debating society inviting Shashi Tharoor, Indian politician, diplomat and writer, some years back to discuss the topic of British Imperial reparations to India. Tharoor was, regardless of political or personal views, an expert on the topic and provided a unique insight as someone who had worked near to and within Indian government. Therefore, he contributed to the debate on these grounds; consequently, a recording of this debate became wildly popular on YouTube and social media. Similarly, using once again the example of Oxford, David Cameron, Alex Salmond, Nancy Pelosi, and even Ronald Reagan have been invited previously. The common link between these figures: expertise, experience, and as a result—quality debate. These figures are pitted against equal opposites and often given topical debate motions.
On the night of 22 February 2019, the University of Exeter’s Debating Society (Exeter Debsoc) hosted disgraced former journalist and Exeter alumnus Katie Hopkins to debate the motion ‘This House Would Prioritise Its Own Citizens’. Many students and lecturers, including myself, protested her appearance on the grounds that it would just be damaging to the welfare and confidence of many people on campus. Defenders of Debsoc, and Hopkins, claim that this was an attempt to stifle free speech and debate. I assert that this is total nonsense and that the debate was set up poorly from the start. No nebulous notion of liberty or free speech can escape that fact.
Hopkins’ years of radio and television presenting spreading lies (source: her libel case against Jack Monroe) and hate means that she is wholly inappropriate as a guest on a campus supposedly meant to promote healthy debate and inclusivity. She was merely wheeled in for publicity or shock, and the only person who benefitted was her and those who agree with her. There are several reasons the debate should not have gone ahead in the way it did as it was not a platform for free speech and discussion—just a chance for Hopkins to spread her vile beliefs.
Firstly, Katie Hopkins is no expert on citizenship, global affairs, or immigration. She is an ex-journalist and presenter who has consistently peddled lies and hatred for personal gain to the point of employer liability. To name a few of many examples, she has been: fired from the Exeter Express and Echo after a readership poll saw 84% of readers vote to get rid of her; fired from radio station LBC for calling for a ‘final solution’ after the Manchester bombing attacks; unrenewed from the Mail Online after several libel cases; widely criticised after she referred to refugees as ‘cockroaches’.
What, then, would Hopkins add to a debate? She has no experience working in government, no academic expertise on the topic of sovereignty, and a past of libel. This all points to her not being the ideal candidate for a debate.
Secondly, Exeter Debsoc made no effort to balance this debate. Hopkins’ opposition: A politician, perhaps? Another ex-journalist on the opposite end of the spectrum? An activist or advocate for international human rights?
None of the above, as it happens. Despite promises to the public and the University that a member UNICEF was going to be taking part, the member in question declined ahead of the event. Rather, Hopkins was pitted against two students, one of which is a first-year. As a result, not only was there an inflammatory and libellous panellist on one side— she was up against (well-meaning, I’m sure) inexperienced debaters with even less expertise and experience. This is not conducive for a balanced and interesting debate.
Thirdly, the branding of the debate, via Debsoc’s social media, was that it was the ‘Hopkins Debate’ and ‘Katie Hopkins is coming’. These posts served only to place one of the four speakers in the forefront and did not mention any of the others. Not only did this immediately move any potential debate away from the topic at hand and towards a discussion on Hopkins herself, but it also shows that it was just seen as a chance to let her speak more generally. This is against the spirit of what debating societies are for.
Finally, the debate breached all manner of regulations set up to safeguard students on campus. It was irresponsible on the part of the society who invited her as she had previously singled out an elected representative of the Students’ Guild and PhD candidate, Malaka Shwaikh, due to her being a Muslim. Hopkins falsely claimed Shwaikh was part of a ‘Saudi takeover’ of the city of Exeter, despite the fact she is, in fact, Palestinian. Similarly, Hopkins suggested on her Twitter feed that she would breach sensitivity speaker regulations and invited local residents to turn up at the debate. All of this should have constituted a breach of various internal rules of the University and Students’ Guild. However, she was allowed to talk, and several locals had to be escorted off the University campus as a result.
So where does this leave us? People don’t oppose hate speech merely because they ‘disagree’ with it. There are plenty of people who I disagree with who I am happy (or, rather, willing) to platform and debate with. In the context of the debate: plenty of academics or even some politicians and current journalists, who don’t merely spew vile lies and hate speech, but still hold opposing views, would have been valid debate speakers. Hell, even Piers Morgan would have made more sense given that he isn’t a security risk.
Congratulations, Debsoc, you got the publicity you were looking for. But think of the people this is giving confidence to, and to what end? For some warped idea that you are promoting some notion of ‘liberty’. Debate between opposing views is not bad. However, pitting a professional liar, who guises hate under humour, against some students is not ‘debate’. The issues people had with this debate was not out of a fear of opposition—it was a principled statement against unnecessarily platforming hatred for no apparent gain.
– Edd C.