THE BLOG

Milo Yiannopoulos' Politics Of Hate Will Never Be Welcome At Glasgow

22/03/2017 12:00 GMT | Updated 22/03/2017 12:00 GMT
Drew Angerer via Getty Images

I want to start by thanking my team of students who have worked night and day to finally give Glasgow University an active working rector. They were full of passion, ingenuity, humour and a credit to this university.

It is truly humbling that the students of Glasgow University have given me their trust by voting for me as their next rector, however I never expected it would be such an empathic landslide result.

It is a great honour to walk in the footsteps of the late Jimmy Reid, Edward Snowden and Mordechai Vanunu.

I have been truly inspired by the thousands of students whom I met in the last three weeks whilst touring lectures theatres, student unions, interrupting lunches and holding street meetings.

You can spend all the millions you want on bricks and mortar, but it is our students and staff who make Glasgow University the world class institution it is. I count my years at university from 1986 to 1994 as some of the best years of my life, but more importantly it changed the entire course of my life.

Glasgow gave me more than just an education, it is where I made friendships that have lasted a lifetime, it broke down my religious and cultural barriers, I came to value the love of my family and I learned about politics not through books but through activism, solidarity and struggle.

It is where I suffered racial violence at the hands of the police. In 1991 when they smashed my teeth out they told me 'this is what happens to Black boys with big mouths'.

I learned for the very first time what it means to be at the mercy of the criminal justice system, vulnerable and disbelieved.

In 1986 studying engineering before I switched to sociology in 1990, I thought I was destined for a career in the Royal Air Force, never in the wildest dreams could I have imagined the journey my life would take me on.

There have been a great many ups and downs in that journey but I am truly grateful that I now have an opportunity to give something back to my University. In three years ahead I pledge to bend every resource of heart and mind and work in partnership with the University but it must be a partnership of equals.

It is clear having spoken to thousands of students that for years their voices have not been heard.

Students have suffered the brunt of cuts, spiralling debt and rents but no one should be left to suffer in silence any longer. Whether it is mental health, insecurity of accommodation, Brexit or fighting discrimination I intend to fight for all the pledges I have made.

In nearly three decades of campaigning, I have learned that those who mount campaigns against injustice can win against overwhelming odds, justice is a right and not a privilege but as Rector I will not be able to do justice to this position unless I have the support of the students.

I am determined to be a strong voice, fighting their corner but want the students and staff by my side.

As for Milo, what can I say, this so called free speech warrior never even bothered to show up to a hustings to debate, his supporters scuttled around in the dark of the night tearing down election posters, the ten students who nominated him wouldn't even publicise who they were, whilst the thousands of his Facebook likes originated from the USA.

I always believed the best way to combat this vicious troll was to demolish him through debate and by thousands of students turning out to vote in a message of unity against his hatred and bigotry.

His career is spiralling into the gutter where it belongs, this wasn't just a defeat for Milo it was a humiliating and derisory defeat for the politics of hate that his Alt-Right followers espouse.

Following Donald Trump's victory, Brexit and the rise in terror attacks the stakes have never been higher. Across Europe mainstream political leaders and sections of the media 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 there can be no room for complacency, we must do all we can to rid ourselves of this poison.

Glasgow University has always been a diverse and inclusive place to study but that meant standing up for all students when and if they feel threatened, abused or discriminated against. On this occasion I am proud that the students and the people of Glasgow once more rose to the occasion.

Milo's entire career has been built on playing the victim as a free speech advocate, but this darling of 'Alt-Reich' is washed up, whilst many of us in Scotland are simply bored of his pathetic ramblings and need to shock like some toddler on speed.

Let me make it simple for Mr Yiannopoulos, your politics of hate will never be welcome at our University, in Glasgow or in Scotland. Enjoy your stay in Honolulu.

Aamer Anwar is the newly-elected rector of the University of Glasgow