“No room for Bigoted Bloom”: Students plan to protest feminism debate

Outraged students plan PROTEST against Flo Perry’s debate with Godfrey ‘Bongo Bongo’ Bloom.

Whilst feminism seems an ever present issue in modern university life some students seem keen not to be ‘lectured’ by feminists who are ‘atop their high horse’ as one third year Geographer told us.

However an issue far more contentious has arisen as this Friday sees Tab Columnist, Flo Perry go up against former UKIP MEP Godfrey Bloom in a debate at the Durham Union Society.

If you’re not familiar with Bloom, the recipient of last year’s Plain English Campaign Foot in Mouth award, just a quick Google search will introduce you to the man branded ‘a wince inducing gaffe machine’

Flo and Mr Bloom will be arguing the motion ‘This House Believes it’s a woman’s world’ for the opposition and proposition respectively.

However, Bloom’s invitation to speak has caused caused unrest and anger amongst some students, and Durham University Students Against Austerity are planning a protest to demonstrate their disgust on Palace Green.

A poster advertising the protest

DUSAA believes that the DUS ‘deliberately puts those fighting for equality on the back foot with its provocative and insulting motions’.

They add that inviting Bloom who, in the past, has referred to women as sluts and been accused of sexual assault, is ‘a gimmick that betrays the Union Society’s lack of interest in women’.

The DUSAA  believe that the DUS is doing a “disservice to academia, to this University and especially to the women who work here, by resuscitating defeated, bigoted, and oppressive opinions.”

On the event page for the protest the organisers state that they ‘do not deny [Bloom] this right [to free speech], but rather exercise our own by protesting this Friday on behalf of the many groups he seeks to vilify’.

Flo’s ready to take Bloom to the floor

The DUS has replied saying that they were eager to have a representative of the European Parliament Committee on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality who has opposed most of these measures.

They believe he is directly relevant to the motion and that their members deserve to hear all sides of any argument.

Bloom has branded feminism a “passing fashion”

DUS president Rishiraj Goenka said ‘I have a lot of faith in the intelligence of Durham students and our members, and find it challenging to accept that by giving Godfrey Bloom a platform somehow our members will be indoctrinated to support his views.’

The DUS has also expressed confusion as to why the DUSAA are choosing this debate to picket, when DU Fem Soc are co-hosting the event.

Goenka closed his remarks by nothing ‘that the best way to engage with elected representatives like Godfrey Bloom is to debate with them and hold them to account, rather than simply ignore or silence them.’

The protest starts at 8pm on Palace Green with the debate starting at 8:30.