This week The Journal was approached by the Liberty Student Society asking if we would help promote their charity ball.
The students are admirably raising money for Tostan, a charity promoting education onFemale Genital Mutilation in Africa. With a couple of thousand already banked, they’re clearly doing a good job.
- Business students aiming to help city’s struggling retailers
- Society bids to save school buildings from redevelopment
Then I saw Katie Hopkins’ name. She is to appear at a separate fundraising event they are holding. My heart sank.
In the last few years Canterbury’s had its fair share of tubthumping right wingers coming down to sound off. Milo Yiannopoulos, Tommy Robinson, Jacob Rees-Mogg and now Katie Hopkins have all threatened to turn up.
Clearly, I’m not a fan of any of these people, but we can’t pin all our vitriol on these loudmouth firebrands when we’re part of the problem.
Yes, that’s right. Me, dear reader, and you.
I deliberately put a photo of Katie Hopkins on this article because I knew it would grab people’s attention. And be honest, was that partly why you clicked on it?
So by me using her name and you endorsing it with a click we have both perpetuated the eternal cycle of right-wing populism and the counter antifash backlash.
And as social media descends into the inevitable maelstrom of malevolence, everybody forgets two important points.
The more we argue about immigration, Shamima Begum’s baby, and whether the world is run by lizards, the more we just entrench our opponents. Have you ever known an informed, well-crafted and persuasive argument expressed on Facebook ever change anyone’s mind? Of course not. Everyone simply ignores the facts that don’t suit them and retreats into an ever-more polarised position.
The second, and certainly more apposite point, is that we forgot why she’s coming here in the first place. And that’s because some of those supposedly snowflake students worked out that bringing a controversial character like Hopkins down was likely to raise an awful lot of cash for some deserving folk in Africa. And that making a bit of noise might also help them flog a few tickets for their charity ball.
Sadly, the instantaneous social combustion that occurs whenever the alt-right shows up seems to have obscured that message.
Thus I take you back to the headline of this article. Forget Katie Hopkins. I mean, really forget her. And instead focus on the excellent work being done by Tostan and the commendable efforts by local students to raise money on their behalf.
If you are a student, please get your ticket the charity ball. It’s in a good cause (and you won’t have to see Katie Hopkins).