Cambridge Union announces best line-up in decades

Feeling the Bern for soggy bottoms

The Cambridge Union has released one of its most star studded line-ups in years, packing world-renowned musicians, actors, athletes, and politicians into a stellar Easter term card.

The stand out speakers of the term are undoubtedly Bernie Sanders and John McCain, two titans of American politics.

Sanders is the US senator for Vermont and ran for the Democratic presidential candidacy in 2016, missing the nomination to Hilary Clinton in a tightly fought race. Widely regarded as bringing about a political earthquake in American politics, Sanders won 23 primaries and caucuses in the Democratic contest. Cambridge will certainly be feeling the Bern come 2nd June.

McCain, a Vietnam War veteran, is the US senator for Arizona currently serving his sixth term. He won the Republican nomination for president in 2008, losing in the final presidential race to Barack Obama. He currently serves as the chair of three Senate committees and was a open critic of Donald Trump’s campaign during the US presidential election last year. For anyone who knows anything about politics across the pond, this will be a firm favourite.

Two titans of American politics

Sanders and McCain are not the only political icons who will be gracing the floor of the chamber this term. Ardent Remainer and former leader of the Liberal Democrats Lord Paddy Ashdown will be speaking on 17th May, with the former Conservative Party leader and prominent Brexiteer Lord Michael Howard also addressing the society. Gina Millar, the businesswoman who filed the Brexit case that led to government defeat at the Supreme Court, is also paying a visit.

For gateau lovers and avid cooks everywhere, the arrival of Mary Berry on 8th May will be the metaphorical (and possibly literal) cherry on the cake. Berry, who until last year was a judge on the wildly popular Great British Bakeoff, is a world renowned food writer and television cook, publishing more than 75 cook books and defining the tastes of the nation for decades.

The one and only Mary Berry

In the arts world, actor, writer, campaigner, comedian, and Footlights royalty Stephen Fry will be making his return to the Union on 25th April, imparting wise words to exam weary Cantabs. Fellow Cambridge alumnus and British megastar Tom Hiddleston is also set for an appearance, giving us the lowdown on night managing and being Chris Hemsworth’s on-screen brother (and maybe even Taylor Swift’s ex lover?!)

For those who live for the controversy, fret ye not. Former Editor of the Daily Mirror and ex-Britain’s Got Talent judge Piers Morgan will be speaking on 5th May. Daily Mail columnist and national migraine Katie Hopkins will also be making her Union comeback.

King and Queen of controversy?

In the world of sport, four time Olympic table tennis champion Deng Yaping is speaking on 15th June. Widely considered one of the greatest table tennis players of all time, passionate ping pong playing Cantabs won’t want to miss her visit.

There’s also good news in store for music fans, with The Kooks and Sigma making their Union ‘debut.’

The Kooks

Other speakers include the Russian Ambassador to the UK and former New York mobster Michael Franzeze. 

Commenting on the frankly berserk lineup, Union Speaker’s Officer Jonah Surkes told the Tab; ‘for me, Easter 2017’s line-up is exactly what the Union should be for- providing the opportunity to engage with world-class speakers from a diversity of backgrounds. Organising this term’s speakers has been far from easy, but I am thrilled by the end result.’

The Union: defending free speech since the bronze age

The debate line-up fails to rival the speaker timetable, but with Sanders and McCain on the bill this was always going to be a tough feat.  Nevertheless, there are a few notable names, with Sarah Baxter, Deputy Editor of the Sunday Times, columnist Peter Hitchens and the ever dreadful Godfrey Bloom volunteering their rhetorical abilities at the Union despatch boxes.

The term card also includes the annual Union garden party in May Week, as well as new deals for members at Nandos, Nanna Mexico and Smokeworks.

Speaking to the Tab, Union President Harry Stovin-Bradford commented; ‘With this term’s line-up the Cambridge Union reaffirms its status as a world class forum for the free exchange of ideas. I am enormously proud that Senator Sanders and many others have chosen the Union as a location to engage with young people…Easter term promises to be highly educative, and great fun.’

Fun indeed. Perhaps the Union membership was worth it after all.

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