Sunday, June 22, 2014

Multicultural murderer now dead

You can see the empathy in his eyes, can't you? Can't you?

An escaped murderer who had been jailed for life for killing a British couple on their Caribbean honeymoon has died after being shot by police.

Avie Howell, 24, who shot Welsh newlyweds Ben and Catherine Mullany in 2008, was caught in a rural parish just south of the capital, St John's, before a 'confrontation' broke out.

He was shot in the knees and died in hospital three hours after climbing over a 30ft-wall at the holiday island's prison.

He had been on the run since yesterday after he and his cellmate, who was on fraud charges, had cut through a wire fence and scaled the perimeter.

Howell and accomplice Kaniel Martin, 27, were convicted of killing the couple in 2011, who had only been married for two weeks.

They had burst into Mr and Mrs Mullany's chalet at the Cocos Hotel in a dawn raid in July 2008.

The newlyweds, who lived in Rhos, near Pontardawe, were both shot in the head while their killers made off with their mobile phones, a cheap digital camera and a handful of cash.

Corporal Thomas said: 'This morning, the police acting on a tip-off on information they had received regarding his his whereabouts went to that area where a confrontation took place between him and the police which resulted in him being shot.

'He was rushed to hospital and roughly at about midday, he was pronounced dead.'

The couple, who were both 31, had only been married a little over a fortnight when they were shot.

Mrs Mullany, a hospital doctor, died instantly, while her trainee physiotherapist husband, was flown home to Swansea in a coma. Despite the best efforts of his wife's medical colleagues he died a week after the shooting.

It meant that just five weeks after happily celebrating their wedding at St John The Evangelist Church in Cilybebyll, their grief-stricken parents were attending the couple's funeral.

Then three years to the day after the deaths, Howell and Martin were found guilty of murdering the honeymoon couple as well as shooting 43-year-old local shopkeeper Woneta Anderson.

The pair had yet to stand trial for the 2008 alleged murders of Rafique Harris and Tony Louisa. Those two killings happened just a few weeks after Mr and Mrs Mullany were shot.

In the wake of the murders, the couple's family set up the Mullany Fund - which saw Duchess of York Sarah Ferguson and Antiguan cricket legend Sir Vivian Richards become patrons.

The charity aims to carry on the good work started by the couple by giving grants to medical students.

Three years to the day after the deaths, Howell and Martin were found guilty of murdering the honeymoon couple as well as shooting 43-year-old local shopkeeper Woneta Anderson.

The killers were both jailed for life.

The couple's family were said to be 'extremely shocked' at the news that one of the killers had been able to escape.  They were also concerned that Howell might flee the island.  A source said: 'You would have thought they would have kept him under lock and key.'

Following the verdicts, which came three years after the killings, Mr Mullany’s parents, Cynlais and Marilyn, and his wife’s mother and father, Rachel and David Bowen, broke down in tears.

In a joint statement, they said at the time: ‘There is no joy at today’s verdict, just a sense of relief that after three years of waiting there is justice for our children.

‘These two individuals can never again inflict the same anguish and devastation to any other family as they have to ours.

'We will never be able to comprehend the senseless nature of their deaths, the total disregard shown for human life and that no remorse has ever been shown.

'Ben and Cath will live in our hearts forever. They made our lives happy beyond measure and enriched every day that they were with us.'

The Honeymoon Killings, as they became known, shocked the tiny nation of Antigua, which had touted itself as a safe tropical honeymoon destination.

The Mullanys’ stay at the five-star Cocos resort had been a wedding present from friends and family.

Guests described hearing screams from their cottage on July 27, 2008, before gunshots.

Martin and Howell, who had been enjoying Antigua’s carnival celebrations hours before, seemingly targeted their cabin at random.

The gunmen, who refused to face questioning in court, protested their innocence throughout the trial. Their silence means the motive remaines unclear.

They were snared after SIM cards registered to them were activated in Mr Mullany’s stolen phone within hours of the shootings.


More feminist hatred

Meeting the newly crowned Miss England — brilliant 24-year-old Cambridge University medical student Carina Tyrell — is a rather baffling experience.

The first trainee doctor to win in the beauty pageant’s long history — and qualify for a tilt at the Miss World title — she certainly has all the right vital statistics: a bikini-perfect size eight figure, long dark hair, coltish legs and  dazzling smile.

She sounds perfect, too, talking about her Miss England responsibilities as a ‘role model’ and ‘ambassador’ — thankfully just stopping short of any mention of promoting world peace. One minute she’s excitedly talking evening gowns and high heels and the next soberly discussing, in cool clinical detail, how to manage a patient with kidney stones.

But why on earth would someone of her remarkable intelligence even think of swapping the wards of Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge for Torquay’s Riviera International Conference Centre to shed tears of joy over a diamante tiara last Monday night?

Why would such a gifted young woman set aside years of hard academic work to pursue the prize of a luxury holiday, free fake tan and tooth- whitening, and all the shoes and handbags a girl could wish for?

Certainly not one who calls herself a feminist, surely? But that’s exactly what Carina says she is.

One thing is for certain, she may need a tin hat rather than a crown to deal with the controversy she has sparked since she was made Miss England, mainly from women who have accused her of betraying her sex.

Leading the charge is feminist campaigner and former Cambridge doctorate student Germaine Greer, who not only dismissed Carina as ‘far too thin’ and mocked her looks as being in the ‘Barbie doll mould’, but witheringly added: ‘I could be very knee jerk about it and say I think it’s a pretty tacky way to try to make your way if you have got a chance of getting a Nobel prize.’

Carina, sipping on peppermint tea, gives a very good impression of not being remotely stung by the  sisterhood’s slings and arrows or remotely concerned that this might look like a regrettable blip on her otherwise stellar CV.

‘I don’t think I am letting intelligent women down by doing this and I don’t think I am feeding some  sexist agenda,’ she retorts.

‘I may be a trainee doctor, but I like to think I am human, too. People need to realise that doctors do need to have something outside medicine to be a well-rounded person.’

As for Greer’s (decidedly unfeminist) sneers about her looks, she is splendidly dismissive.  ‘I am naturally slim, all my family are, and I’ve never dieted in my life. It’s just fortunate that I was brought up enjoying a naturally healthy,  balanced diet.

‘Looks have never been an issue for me. I didn’t even wear make-up until three years ago and it’s not as if I spend all day staring at myself in a mirror. I’m too busy doing ward rounds and taking bloods.’

Carina is the daughter of retired Norwich-born physicist Mark Tyrell, 73, who helped build the Large Hadron Collider at the CERN nuclear research centre, in  Switzerland, which probes the mysteries of the universe.

Born and educated in Geneva, Carina arrived at Cambridge University’s all-women Murray Edwards College in 2009, with seven A-starred and three grade A GCSEs and a top-scoring International Baccalaureate.

She has been awarded a First for the non-clinical part of her six-year medical degree and is tipped to qualify as a doctor with yet another.

Her ambition is to become a  consultant by the age of 32 and work on the public health front-line in the world’s poorest countries or in disaster zones with the international medical charity Medecins Sans Frontieres.

All she has wanted to do is work as a doctor ever since, at the age of five, she made a mosquito net as part of a school project on malaria and realised there were children far less fortunate than she.

But here she is, telling me winning Miss England was one of the proudest moments of her life. Almost on a par with winning a distinction in her oral exam in pathology, which she took the morning before the Miss England finals. Really?

‘I wasn’t expecting to win a distinction, which was wonderful, nor was I was expecting to win Miss England, which was fantastic,’ she insists. ‘I can’t quite believe I have done both, but I put as much work into Miss England as I did into my medical studies.

‘I have the crown in a shoe box in the boot of my car and I keep  getting it out to have a look and try it on. I get to keep it for the whole year. It’s very pretty.’

Which is all very delightful. But many will be astonished by her decision to suspend her final-year  studies for 12 months so she can fulfil her Miss England duties and prepare for the Miss World Final in  London this December.

Even Carina’s fellow students have been scratching their heads at her decision to turn her back on years of serious academic study to take part in a contest that was ditched from the TV schedules — along with Benny Hill — years ago for being outdated, sexist and demeaning to women.

But for all her qualifications, Carina can’t see any conflict at all and says if people would only challenge their own misconceptions about the  competition, they’d come round to her way of thinking.

‘It’s not about just looking pretty in a bikini. It’s about being a role model, somebody who is striving to make a difference, taking on a leadership role,’ she says.

‘Many female doctors these days like to show they are feminine by wearing nice hair clips or dresses and heels — appropriate for hospital, of course. The modern woman is now allowed  to show who she is. We don’t have to dull ourselves or bring ourselves  down to meet certain expectations.

‘Although Cambridge University has had students taking time out to represent their country at sport, I don’t think they’ve had a medical student enter Miss England before.

‘Yes, there were a few raised eyebrows, but what they see is a young lady who wants to do something different and positive in her life, and they are supporting me as an individual.’

How very puzzling. Most women with half Carina’s brains and  prospects wouldn’t dream of entering such a competition which purports to be all about celebrating inner beauty while requiring contestants to pose in skimpy swimwear on a yacht.

Carina does admit that the night before the Miss England finals, she was having second thoughts and worried she’d made the biggest mistake of her life by entering.

Exam time is never a good moment to be fretting about bikini lines or — the biggest conundrum of all — how to make the hackneyed desire to ‘help less fortunate people’ sound original.

While she was poring over medical texts and answering exam questions such as how to manage a salmonella outbreak, she was also tackling a rather different intellectual challenge: fashioning a hat out of an old lampshade and two coat hangers.

Along with the other finalists, Carina had to show her ingenuity by creating an ‘Eco Outfit’ made from recyclable or second-hand materials — which, if anything, sounds almost as degrading as the swimsuit round.

Carina decided to recreate Audrey Hepburn’s ‘Day at the Races’ outfit from the film My Fair Lady by customising a wedding dress she found in an Oxfam shop and the lampshade hat. At the same time she was squeezing in some running so she’d be fighting fit for the military boot camp round.

Had she completely lost her senses?

‘It was very stressful,’ admits Carina. ‘There were many times when I thought “Am I doing the right thing?” I worried I’d jeopardised my studies by taking part in this competition . . . and also that my studies might jeopardise my ability to compete in Miss England.

‘All my life, since school, I’ve worked very hard to fulfil my childhood dream of becoming a doctor. Nothing comes naturally to me, I’ve had to put in the effort. So it was very difficult combining revision with the Miss England competition.’

Quite apart from her academic achievements, Carina is bilingual, a qualified ski instructor, a talented artist and has won awards for tap dancing, gymnastics and trampolining. The world is already her oyster, lined with pearls, so quite what Miss England could offer her is anyone’s guess. ‘I’m a feminist in that I strongly believe in women’s rights,’ she says. ‘For me, the competition is about encouraging young women to be well-rounded, to think about others, to be charitable, to be healthy and sporty.’

She adds: ‘Being a Miss England involves public speaking and interacting with people and all of those things that empower women, and I don’t see why that would be anti-feminist.

‘I’m not the prettiest girl in Cambridge, let alone England, but I’ve been told I am an attractive person and I have valuable skills to offer.

‘I can help people as Miss England in a way that would not have been possible as a doctor. I’m hoping to use my influence on a new scale. As a student doctor I can only do so much, but now that I have a public image I can really make a difference.’ Her first engagement as Miss England is today at Bristol’s Big Green Week celebrating eco ideas, art and entertainment.

But what do Carina’s parents make of this sudden change of direction for their daughter? Her father, and mother Sue, who is in her late 50s and a retired executive with the World Health Organisation, are apparently thrilled — despite initial reservations.

Carina says: ‘My parents and an aunt flew from Geneva to watch me in the finals and they couldn’t have been more delighted for me when I won. My dad said: “I never imagined that one day my daughter would be a medical student at Cambridge and Miss England.”

‘They’re the most wonderful parents. They would support me whatever I chose to do, as long as I was happy.’

But yes, Mr Tyrell would like to see his daughter resume her medical career. After all the glitz, glamour, charity receptions, public appearances and potential modelling contracts winging her way — which could earn her up to £40,000 — will she be happy returning to her old life of student digs, strict budgets and long hours until she qualifies?

‘Even if I were offered a billion pounds I could never give up medicine. That’s where my heart is. My desire to help people is so strong, I would feel I’d let myself down if I lost sight of that,’ says Carina.

‘I’ve worked so hard at school and at university to get where I am. It’s been really stressful and difficult and perhaps this is just a little bit of escapism for me, something to tell my children about in the future.

The skills of this brilliant trainee doctor may be lost to us for now — but let us hope it’s not for ever.


The death throes of a noble British charity that fought for freedom of expression

For more than 40 years, a wonderful British charity called Index on Censorship has been the champion of free expression, opposing tyrants and ideologies that silenced, imprisoned or even killed writers and journalists who did not toe their line.

Founded at the height of the Cold War to support dissidents behind the Iron Curtain, the politically neutral, London-based body has since compiled a long and noble record of campaigning for free expression around the world.

Who, aside from the most authoritarian regimes, would oppose its aims? Yet today the organisation’s finances and core beliefs are under threat from a body that supports Government intervention in the regulation of the Press.

In which country? Russia? Cuba? Actually, it’s in Britain.

Yesterday, the Mail reported that two distinguished figures from the world of investigative journalism had resigned as Index patrons.

Ian Hislop, the editor of satirical magazine Private Eye, and the journalist Francis Wheen — a biographer of Karl Marx — stepped down because Index’s new leadership had invited the comedian and Hollywood actor Steve Coogan to join the charity as a patron.

Multi-millionaire Coogan, whose one-time predilection for cocaine and lap-dancers had been exposed by the red-top Press, is the ubiquitous spokesman for the Hacked Off pressure group.

He has led its campaign for a Government-implemented, Royal Charter system of Press regulation, which critics argue would allow politicians ultimately to control a Press that has been free of State intervention for more than 300 years.

Index, unsurprisingly given its remit, had strongly opposed such intervention, which is why there was astonishment in media circles when Coogan’s appointment as a patron was announced last week.

But what is even more disturbing is that indirect financial pressure had already been exerted on Index, by another body with links to the Hacked Off lobby.

For we can reveal that last year, the multi-million-pound Esmée Fairbairn Foundation — which gives money to what it regards as worthy causes — withdrew its financial support when it rejected an application for £40,000 to fund an Index project promoting free expression.

Index was told that its stance on Press regulation in the UK had been discussed at the Foundation’s board meeting when its bid was thrown out. Significantly, at previous meetings, the Index bid had been supported.

The rejection came little more than a year after a one-time SDP activist called Sir David Bell — whose contempt for Britain’s popular Press is well known — and who was the founder of the Media Standards Trust which spawned Hacked Off, was appointed to the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation board of trustees.

The Foundation — named after the wife of Ian Fairbairn, a City figure who founded it in 1961 — boasts a portfolio of investments which at the end of last year was worth a staggering £827 million.

Index finance manager David Sewell told me: ‘Esmée Fairbairn had funded us before, but our stance on Press regulation definitely had an impact on our last bid.

‘We got through stage one of the process. Stage two was the final decision by the Esmée Fairbairn board, and that’s when we were turned down.’

He explained: ‘Our friends at Esmée later told us that the Leveson Inquiry had definitely been discussed, even though it had nothing to do with our bid.

‘Certain members of the board were not happy with our position [on Press regulation].’

He said he had been upset by the decision, and the apparent reasons behind it.

Another senior figure at Index said: ‘We were told confidentially that the Esmée board had deviated from a discussion of a bid to do with arts and free expression, to a major discussion of Press regulation and our position on it. You have to ask whether that is right.’

The source said that Index had come under pressure for its stand on Press regulation. ‘Some of Index’s traditional supporters are more of the Left,’ said the source, ‘and they asked why we were apparently getting into bed with [the popular or Conservative Press] over this. But it was a matter of principle.’

The Left-leaning journalist and Index chairman David Aaronovitch wrote recently: ‘Index, almost alone among similar organisations, took the position after Leveson that we should campaign against State involvement in the regulation of  the Press. This almost certainly cost us donors . . .’

Index has been acting on principle since 1972, when it was founded as a magazine by, among others, the  poet Stephen Spender and  David Astor, then editor of the Observer newspaper.

Index went on to support and publish the works of banned writers across the world. The Czech playwright and future president Vaclav Havel and author Salman Rushdie, after the Satanic Verses fatwah was issued, were both backed by Index.

It is still run from ramshackle offices near London Bridge, but in recent years the charity ‘overreached’ itself, according to one insider, and has run into financial difficulties which saw it make a number of important staff redundant.

Those money difficulties have not been helped by its recent stand on Press freedom, which brought it into direct conflict with the powerful Hacked Off group and  its supporters.

A pivotal founder of Hacked Off, which continues to campaign to end the self-regulation of the Press, was Sir David Bell.

A  Lib Dem donor, Sir David was the chairman of the Pearson-owned Financial Times and a trustee and sometime chairman of a body called Common Purpose.  The latter is a controversial, elite leadership training charity, once described as ‘the Left’s equivalent of the old boys’ network’.

Millions of pounds of public money has been spent on its courses, but it has been accused by critics of being a secretive, quasi-Masonic movement, and was criticised by the Information Commissioner’s Office over disseminating to local authorities the names and contact details of members of the public who had asked Freedom of Information questions about its activities.

In 2005, Sir David and Common Purpose founder Julia Middleton — an author and leadership expert — established what became the Media Standards Trust, ‘an independent registered charity that fosters high standards in news on behalf of the public’, which was based at the Common Purpose offices. Sir David was the MST’s first chairman.

That year the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation gave the fledgling organisation £70,000. Among the MST trustees was Albert Scardino, husband of Sir David’s boss at Pearson, Marjorie Scardino.  She is now a favourite to become the next Chair of the BBC Trust.

The Scardinos were very supportive of the Media Standards Trust. In 2007, it received a $350,000 (£205,000) grant from a U.S.-based trust called the MacArthur Foundation, on whose board Mrs Scardino sat.

In 2008, it also received £150,000 from the Pearson Foundation charity, and £5,000 from the Scardinos’ own pockets.

The relationship with the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation was equally cosy. In 2009, it gave the MST £150,000. In January 2011, Sir David Bell joined the Esmée Fairbairn board of trustees after ‘a competitive recruitment process’.

Meanwhile, Sir David’s media charity had launched a series of attacks on the popular Press. But it remained a relatively minor player until the phone-hacking scandal exploded in July 2011.

It was now that Hacked Off  was founded by MST director Martin Moore.  It was run from the MST offices, and the Trust controlled its finances. Along with Hugh Grant and Max Mosley, Steve Coogan was and remains its most public face.

When the Leveson Inquiry was announced, Sir David stepped down as MST chairman so that he could take up his highly controversial appointment as one of six ‘independent’ assessors at the hearings, none of whom had experience of mass-selling newspapers.

Leveson published his report in November 2012. By then, the battle lines between Index on Censorship and Hacked Off had been drawn.

In its submission to the Inquiry that January, Index had said: ‘The Press will never be perfect. But we must ask: do we want a Press that is tamed into deference and compliance, or a Press that probes and questions and will, on occasion, get things wrong?

‘Freedom of expression is a bigger prize than a free Press. It is about the public’s right to know.

‘There is already a plethora of laws and codes that could and should be enforced to improve the practices of journalists, editors, managers and directors.

‘To the Inquiry, our message is simple: be careful what you  wish for.’

Similarly, Index patron Ian Hislop told the Inquiry: ‘If the State regulates the Press, then the Press no longer regulates the State.’

He added: ‘I believe in a free Press and I don’t think it should be regulated, but it should abide by law.’

The current trial of News International journalists for  alleged phone hacking and suggests that the law is being enforced, and with a vengeance.

Even as the Leveson Inquiry moved slowly to its conclusion, in 2012 Esmée Fairbairn gave the Media Standards Trust a further £220,000. Sir David has said he had no part in the decision.

In May of that year, Index’s more modest bid for an arts project linked to freedom of expression was given an initial green light by the Foundation.  But when the Esmée trustees met the following February, it was rejected.

It’s not as if the Foundation is short of money. Current accounts show that so far in 2014, the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation has donated almost £7 million to more than  60 organisations.

The individual gifts ranged in size from £9,750 to £300,000. Index of Censorship is not among the recipients, of course.

Last week I sent questions to the nine public figures who were Esmée Fairbairn trustees at the time of the Index rejection. Had they been in attendance at the meeting, and, if so, what position had they taken on the continued funding of Index on Censorship?

Only three replied. Banker and philanthropist Sir Thomas Hughes-Hallett simply said that he ‘couldn’t help’. Poet William Sieghart and a spokeswoman for education entrepreneur Joe Docherty both directed me to speak to Esmée Fairbairn’s ‘media advisers’.

This is a PR company called Champollion. It was founded  and is still run by Simon Buckby, who was the advertising director for New Labour’s 1997 General Election campaign.

He was also a special adviser to future Hacked Off supporter John Prescott, and campaign director for a pressure group campaigning for Britain to join the eurozone.

Along the way, he worked for Sir David Bell’s Financial Times, while Champollion is listed on the Common Purpose website as a company which uses its training courses.

Yesterday, Champollion issued a statement on behalf of the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation.  It said: ‘Esmée Fairbairn Foundation makes approximately 300 grants a year, with a total value of £30-35 million.  ‘Our mission is to improve the quality of life for people and communities throughout the UK, and we do this by funding the charitable work of organisations with the ideas and ability to achieve positive change. We do not comment on individual grant applications.’

Questions about Steve Coogan’s appointment as Index patron are also still to be satisfactorily answered.

Why was he given the role when his only apparent activism in the area of freedom of expression has been clarion calls for government intervention?  Had he given money to the financially ailing charity?

The new Index on Censorship chief executive, Jodie Ginsberg, who took up the post only last month, argued that Coogan is a combative public figure with whom they can agree to disagree on this one issue.

Others who have worked at Index feel it is a ‘big misjudgment’, which is meant to placate the Hacked Off lobby, some of whom had previously donated to the cause.

Index’s accounts show that income fell by almost a quarter between 2011-2013, as the Press regulation debate raged.

The news of the split within Index because of the Coogan appointment has been greeted with dismay by those who had benefited from its support in times of great danger.

Leading Soviet-era dissident and current human rights campaigner Lyudmila Alexeyeva, 86, said: ‘Index on Censorship is a well-known organisation, and a very important one.  ‘There were just a few organisations in the Western world which supported us in Soviet times — and we appreciated it a lot. It is such a pity to hear what is going on with it now.’

She added: ‘Honestly, maybe I have been too idealistic about the situation with freedom of speech in Great Britain. I always convinced that this was something immovable — and now we see that this is not so.

‘How did it happen that he (Coogan) is about to be put in a senior position at Index? It is very sad to hear that others are leaving the organisation because of him.

‘How could it happen that at the top of such an organisation there is a man whose creed is against its main concept?

‘If we do not have any freedom of speech here in Russia, we do want to see it solidly existing somewhere else in the world. And Britain has always been a citadel of media freedom.’


Men facing rape claims should have the right to anonymity, says Oxford Union president after he was cleared of allegations

The president of the Oxford Union cleared of rape allegations has called for the right of anonymity for those accused of similar claims.

Ben Sullivan, a third year university student, was on bail for six weeks after he was arrested over claims he raped one fellow student and attacked another.

But on Wednesday, police informed the 21-year-old that no further action would be taken against him following an investigation.

Last night, he said those accused of rape should have the right to anonymity until initial investigations had been carried out by police.

Mr Sullivan also revealed he had struggled to deal with the fallout from the ‘poisonous allegations’.

Speaking about his ‘harrowing’ experience on Newsnight, he said: ‘I’m not of the extremist [sort] who don’t think you should have your identity revealed until you’ve been convicted, or even necessarily after being charged.

‘What I don’t agree with though is that everyone’s identity is automatically revealed the minute they are arrested.

‘I think there should be some sort of happy medium whereby your identity is protected initially, until at least the conclusion of a preliminary investigation.’

Asked whether alleged rapists should be given anonymity but not those accused of other offences, he said: ‘That is completely true and why I would never say that everyone’s identity in the circumstances should be kept secret.

‘I’m completely aware that it can be extremely useful to police investigations for people’s identities to be revealed for people to come forward.

‘However, these are obviously incredibly poisonous allegations, they are incredibly difficult to deal with.’

Mr Sullivan’s arrest rocked the prestigious 200-year-old debating society, where many political leaders have cut their teeth.

His arrest sparked a period of turmoil for the society as a boycott campaign from fellow students saw a host of high-profile speakers cancel their appearances.

Speaking of the ordeal, he said: ‘It’s been very difficult, very harrowing. It puts things in perspective, changes your priorities to say the very least. I’m very thankful to everyone who has given me support - my friends, my family, and people at the union.’

A letter written by student politicians to around 30 speakers who had been booked to attend, asked them to boycott the Union, and Mr Sullivan to resign in what they called a ‘push for equality’.

Nobel Peace prize winner Tawakkol Karman, a human rights activist, Interpol secretary-general Robert Noble, the US entrepreneur Julie Meyer and David Mepham, the UK director of Human Rights Watch, were all said to have pulled out of debates at the Oxford Union, citing concerns about Mr Sullivan’s arrest.

But the banker’s son, who attended £22,000-a-year St Paul’s school in London, repeatedly defied calls to stand down as president while the police investigation was carried out.

Student union official Sarah Pine who was the leader of the campaign to boycott the union also appeared on Newsnight and said she stood by the campaign.

Mr Sullivan said: ‘I don’t doubt the organisers of the boycott have very good intentions and I do agree that sexual violence is a very serious problem at Oxford and other universities.’



Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the  incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.

American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of  other countries.  The only real difference, however, is how much power they have.  In America, their power is limited by democracy.  To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already  very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges.  They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did:  None.  So look to the colleges to see  what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way.  It would be a dictatorship.

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH,   EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS and  DISSECTING LEFTISM.   My Home Pages are here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here


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