Milo Yiannopoulos is a vicious troll, who has built a lucrative career by playing the victim under the guise of being a free speech advocate.
He deems himself to be a 'free speech fundamentalist' targeting feminism, Islam, political correctness, Black Lives Matter and many social justice movements.
This is a man who refers to Donald Trump as 'Daddy', said Gay rights were a detriment to humanity, claims to 'like black guys for his love life', believes that 'Women's liberation was probably a mistake' blaming the pill and the washing machine for this.
So it's not hard to see how this university drop out became such a darling of 'Alt-Right' or why his decision to accept nomination for the election of Rector at Glasgow University has caused much anger.
Milo spouts bile and aims to shock, but knows he has absolutely no chance of winning the Rector election and really doesn't give a damn about Glasgow students. I suspect his sole reason for getting involved is that this is a desperate attempt to kick start a career which nose-dived because of his alleged 'condoning of paedophillia'. Of course up until then the rest of his gutter views were not deemed beyond the pale by his far- right friends.
All his statements on the Rector election have been predictably juvenile and deliberately provocative. I empathise with 3000 Glasgow students who have signed a petition demanding Milo's removal from the election, whilst others argue that the election should be boycotted until he is removed from the ballot paper, but to do either would be a fundamental mistake as 'Martyr status' is exactly what this non-entity craves.
I don't say this as some woolly liberal, as a student in the 90's I vehemently argued and at times physically fought for a no-platform for Fascists, whilst the Liberals argued that no matter how odious Fascists were, they could be defeated through debate. But the problem with such an argument was and remains that the Fascists exist to destroy the democratic ideals we take for granted such as free speech.
They will always use public platforms to give them the veneer of respectability, but hide their true intentions and not just their swastikas. That is exactly the way they operated in Germany, When Hitler built a mass party he didn't do so by arguing for the 'Final Solution', but by posing as a legitimate political party that could be trusted and debated with.
Once he won power through the ballot box, he abolished democracy, throwing the very same liberals who had supported his free speech into concentration camps. Today's Neo-Fascists whether they be the BNP or the Le Front Nationale have the same strategy as Hitler's Nazis and that is exactly why they should never be treated as a legitimate form of politics.
I didn't argue 'no platform' for the likes of the BNP just because I found their views to be grotesque but because there was a connection between hate speech and their 'foot soldiers' carrying out physical attacks on ethnic minorities, Muslims, the LGBTI community and others.
In this country a policy of 'No platform' since the Battle of Cable Street in 1936 against Moseley's Blackshirts has meant Fascist organisations have been unable to gain a foothold. Nazis desperate for respectability, must always be denied it when they raise their heads.
Those who argue we should challenge Nazis through debate should ask whether they would expect a Jewish person who may have lost a family member in the Gas Chambers to rationally debate with a Nazi thug, who would do the same again if he could?
But despite my views on a no-platform for Fascists, I do not believe it should extended to others such as Milo, just because their views are reactionary, racist, transphobic or sexist. Sections of the media are always desperate to give reactionaries a bandwagon. UKIP with just one MP has been a frustrating example of media's obsession with such figures, but whilst Nigel Farage might remind me of the 'BNP in blazers' he is not a Fascist and his arguments should be taken head on, demolished and ridiculed.
Ten students nominated Milo but these cowards now choose to remain anonymous, like so many of the keyboard warriors who abused me when I spoke out against Milo. Meanwhile this Joker claims he has 3000 Facebook likes for his Glasgow University Rectorial bid but any close examination shows it does not equate to bona-fide local students, but rather a motley collection of Trumpites and master-race types from the USA.
The website 'A thousand flowers' carried out a metadata and found 'Nearly 90% of those who like the page are outside of the UK, with more than two-thirds in the United States. Only 350 are in the UK - meaning a much smaller percentage will be in Glasgow, and eligible student voters'.
Following Donald Trump's victory and Brexit the stakes have never been higher, the clock seems to have been turned back and a green light given to bigots to come out of the darkness.
Across Europe mainstream political leaders are engaging with ideas that were once relegated to the margins of fascism. Immigrants, the LGBTI community, minorities and Muslims are portrayed as threatening a 'civilised' way of life and students who are in the front-line cannot afford to be complacent.
This election is not about abdicating responsibility for challenging views such as Milo's but a real opportunity to take them head on. The students of Glasgow University have risen to the occasion. I have told many of students I have spoken to whilst campaigning that what actually counts is that they vote in their thousands and deliver a crushing humiliating defeat to Milo.
On the 21st March I hope the students of Glasgow University rise to the occasion and elect a rector who will be a strong voice for all students, an added bonus will be a landslide vote against Milo's hate. Should he come to the hustings on Thursday the 16th March then I expect that students and all Rector candidates will join the peaceful protests that take place, but also destroy him in the debate that follows.
As a nominee for the position of Rector and alumni I am proud that my University has never welcomed such views and am confident this will always remain an institution that is diverse and inclusive and safe for people from all walks of life once Milo has crawled back to his Alt-Reich gutter if they will still have him.Suggest a correction