When The Cambridge Tab met Katie Hopkins

Katie “would always question” the argument ‘we have too many white middle class private school students’.

Cambridge Outreach katie hopkins The Tab Cambridge

Katie makes a surprisingly good impression.

She’s extremely friendly, yet argumentative (no surprises there) and assertive: her superficial charm, which only lasts if you pay little attention to the vitriol she spews, sometimes lapses into a sickly sweetness: “Oh, bless you”.

She compares herself to “marmite” which she doesn’t even like – “such is the irony of life”. This may be a slightly misleading comparison, after all over 200,000 people haven’t felt the urge to petition for Marmite to be taken off the shelves.

The unprecedented backlash against her Sun column has empowered her to compete “in a world where you are competing for space in a way that you have never had to before”. She delights that her “strong article” resulted in such a response, “it gives you a sense of the number of people who are reading your stuff” since she still wasn’t fired.  

(C) 2015 DAN KENNEDY

(C) 2015 DAN KENNEDY

Katie is not kind about many things, migrants, the overweight, females, people with tattoos… the list goes on. She does however gush about our university, “How many times a day do you think your parents tell people that you’re at Cambridge” she exclaims.

She argues that Cantabs have “the trump card” and the “ultimate comeback” in any argument. She adds for good measure, “In terms of shade, you throw the ultimate shade.”

“I fight for what you have achieved but you guys discredit it somehow and I think that’s a weird idea.”

She certainly discredits the notion of some employers who say they wouldn’t hire graduates with a first.

She does look for “experience” when employing, saying that “The Teach First idea was a brilliant one wasn’t it. It takes really gifted kids and puts them into the worst job in the world … teaching at a state school”, she concludes, laughing carelessly.

Katie is very results driven. She mentions article ratings several times in our interview, outlining this as the denominator for success. She believes the same results-driven mentality should be applied to the University.

Does she think the admission system in Cambridge should focus on access for students from all backgrounds? She scoffs, “What does balance achieve apart from less able students?”

Katie “would always question” the argument ‘we have too many white middle class private school students’.

“What is so wrong with that? In industry, we’re judged on results. For example for my column, I’m judged on how many people read it. It doesn’t matter how to those kids got there. As long as they got their grades and performed well at interview I don’t want the institution to be downgraded for the benefit for some crazy loon who wants to see some kind of balance”.

Katie really hit the headlines when she appeared on This Morning saying she wouldn’t let her children play with other people’s kid whose names she deemed unworthy. She maintains this opinion but admits that at her children’s current school all the kids have “trendy” names like “Anabella, Arabella, Ruby and Otis”, so it isn’t a problem.

“If you compare the names on the court list of any given day with those names I suggested I wouldn’t let my kids play with, they’re entirely compatible. The courts lists are typically Tyler, Storm, Hunter and so on.”

hopkins india

“I know that Oxford managed to find a Tyler in some back-setted warren in one of their buildings where they grabbed him and drew him out to one of our debates.”

“Do I base the rest of my life on your strong opinions. Absolutely. Have I employed a fat person, No I haven’t. And would I now employ someone who has just got married and wants to have children. No absolutely I would not. That’s illegal to have that view.”

She has views akin to Donald Trump’s with respect to women. She previously said on another appearance on This Morning, “women are really vicious in the workplace, they’re really jealous, really competitive. Women are emotional, they cry in toilets… Men talk in logic and rational terms.”

In this vein she took a swipe at ex-Cambridge student, Laura Bates who founded Everyday Sexism. She compared this project to “standing in the bottom on a cave and shouting because that’s all it is. It’s just a repository for someone to have a moan.” Despite slating the purpose of the project, which is to document instances of sexism in order to demonstrate it still exists, she admits the reason “people think they can go for me, or threat to kill me or rape me, is it to do with me being a woman.”

She protests this kind of activism because she claims, “I understand a very male way of working”, whatever that means. She argues, “if you want to be accutly female, you’ll have to place yourself” somewhere other than her “male-oriented environment”.

Ben Brown

Ben Brown

She attributes part of her success as a TV personality to her time on The Apprentice. “People saw this gobby bird saying what she thought of people, in a suit. That, at that time was quite a weird thing. The only other women on the BBC were dressed in floral and wearing kitchen equipment. We don’t have those feisty women. We just have smilers.”

People have such a bizarre fascination with Hopkins. Arguing and disagreeing with her give people a satisfied feeling of self-righteousness. Hopkins has appeared on This Morning SO MANY times. Each time Holly Willoughby gets the opportunity to say something like “I try and make footsteps in the right direction, I’d rather be part of that” whilst eyeing Katie with disdain.

Why is her vitriol so irresistibly entertaining? It gives people the opportunity to “RAGE. RAGE. RAGE” against her, as Katie says herself.

One can never know if she truly believes the stuff says. It doesn’t really matter. She is going against the norm of what is acceptable because it is a method by which you can “compete in this crowded world”.

The “RAGE” she creates is how she sustains herself. Every time someone signed the petition to rid her from the Sun, it because more obvious that she has a media profile which was just too valuable for the Sun to let go of. She’s a savvy attention-seeker who has well and truly found their niche.

Her undeniable eloquence and the heated controversy around her name masks the fact she actually lacks the ability to be ‘entertaining’ without perpetuating tired stereotypes and degrading people. Its not exactly creative or funny, despite her telling me that of course she thinks she is hilarious.

Maybe one day people will just laugh at her clever ploy, or even stop caring what she says.

For the moment, we have the delight of watching her new show “If Katie ruled the world”. She’s thankfully not in such a position of power, but it certainly looks like she’s here to stay.

@EllieOlcott