No Platform Harry: The Cambridge ‘hard left’ make me scared to express myself

A Cambridge student launched a scathing attack against the University’s so-called hard left on national radio, claiming members make him scared to express his political views

Anna Hollingsworth

No Platform Harry spoke out on national radioYoutube/LiveWire

LBC radio presenter Matt Stadlen was aghast when a Cambridge student described the practice of no-platforming at the University while calling in to Stadlen’s programme.

The student, going by the first name Harry, called in during a discussion about a workshop on “dealing with right-wing attitudes” held on 13th February at the University of Sussex.

Host Matt Stadlen said he found Harry's comments "terrifying"Youtube/Livewire

Harry voiced his concern over what he deemed to be different receptions of no-platforming in left-wing and right-wing contexts. “There’s no clear criteria on which we decide who we do and don’t invite, because frankly the hard left are happy to invite Islamists who have all kinds of backward views, on women, on gay rights, and [other students] can’t challenge those things,” he said.

“They want them to come because they’re anti-West or anti-Israel and they follow certain supposedly left-wing lines on things. But if you invite someone who is supposedly a darling of the right, with backward views on gays or on women, then you’ll get completely lampooned or socially ostracised by these people.”

For this reason, Harry said, he wouldn’t feel comfortable criticising the current no-platform trends in public in fear of it being “socially risky”.

Presenter and Cambridge alumnus Matt said he found this “terrifying” and “sinister”. He added: “It really worries me that a highly intelligent young man such as yourself, being educated at one of the great universities, feels somehow intimidated into not putting onto social media exactly what he feels about something.”

No-platforming, freedom of expression and safe spaces have been widely debated in British universities in recent years. Last year was marked by heated discussions surrounding Oxford’s #RhodesMustFall campaign, calling for the removal of a statue of Cecil Rhodes from Oriel College.

In Cambridge, Marine Le Pen, the leader of France’s far-right National Front, was greeted with anti-fascist protestors when she spoke at the Union in 2013, while in 2014 a lecture by Nigel Farage was cancelled after students and local residents said they would picket the event