Tab Exclusive: Union Line-Up Revealed
Jesse Jackson, Buzz Aldrin, Reginald D Hunter, Ben Fogle and Beth Tweddle will all descend on the Union this Michaelmas.
The Cambridge Union line-up never fails to be a source of controversy and speculation, and The Tab can now reveal who is on the cards for Michaelmas 2013 to its members and to keen freshers. New president Joanna Mobed has spoken of the “influential and inspiring speakers from all walks of life”, and though you won’t be seeing many of the B-List celebs that have defined the Union’s more obvious attempts at publicity, what is lacking in MIC and big fake boobs is made up for in impressive 20thC historical figures.
Perhaps the highlight of the term card is Buzz Aldrin. The former American astronaut was the first person to successfully perform a spacewalk in 1966 and the second person to walk on the moon in July 1969. Aldrin has since made numerous appearances in the worlds of science, the military, and entertainment. A lesser-known dirty secret is that in 2009 he teamed up with Snoop Lion and Soulja Boy to create a commemoration rap of the first lunar landing, “Rocket Experience”. The date he will speak is yet to be announced.
Aldrin is not the only impressive American icon that the Union have managed to nab. Also speaking is the Rev. Jesse Jackson, legendary leader of the Civil Rights Movement who worked closely with Martin Luther King Jr. He is particularly renowned for his work in pressuring businesses to hire black workers. Though the date is also yet been announced, Jackson’s appearance will be pertinent given the motion of the term’s final debate in December, “This House Would Ban Affirmative Action”.
Comedy fans will also have a lot to look forward to, including appearances from Reginald D. Hunter, Ben Miller and Tim Vine. Reggie’s visit on the 10th November is undoubtedly the highlight here: famous for his drawling sarcasm and laid-back wit, he is currently some of the hottest property in the stand-up and panel show industry. Miller – actor, comedian and director who forms one half of Armstrong and Miller – should not be forgotten either, and for those who have a weakness for a clever one-liner, Tim Vine is the man for you.
In terms of the female contingent, this term the gender balance is moving in a better direction. Let’s not get carried away: only a quarter of the speakers are female, and in only one debate do female speakers outnumber male. However, under Mobed there seems to have been a real effort to change the balance, and to secure high-powered and inspiring women, as opposed to the easy option of re-inviting Jordan. Highlights include two towering female legal minds, Lady Justice Arden and Baroness Hale; the former female Prime Minister of Slovakia; and Jill Abramson, the first female executive editor of the New York Times.
As always, there will be large numbers of intellectuals and politicians coming to the Union: names to note include ex-Bulgarian monarch Tsar Simeon II, philosophy expert Professor A.C. Grayling, and the Ambassador of Japan to the UK. Also look out for a visit from famous explorer and adventurer Ben Fogle.
Sporting fans are not left out in the cold either: they can look forward to speaker visits from Sir Clive Woodward and Team GB Olympic gymnast Beth Tweddle.
All in all, the Union have offered an impressive, if intellectual, line-up. Mobed stresses the pertinence of this term’s motions: debate topics include immigration, stripping Obama of his peace prize, YouTube, the success of the coalition, Scottish Independence, and the EU.