The bonfire night in Lewes is just another example of Britain's innate ability to mock our leaders - and other leaders - with utter abandon. It is a crucial part of British culture. It reminds us that we live in a country where we cherish our ability to exercise freedom of expression and we are creative in the forms we exercise.
If our Dear Leaders want to argue that they have a unique right to not hear views that offend them - a right which they will not extend to their opponents, and indeed cannot or else all speech would stop - then they should at least be honest about it, rather than deceiving your audience by pretending that (legal) free speech has not been replaced by speech subject to conditions...
At its core, this has always been about consideration for trans lives, trans issues and trans voices. Despite the other conversations it has also sparked about the power of activism, the evolution of its methods with the rise of social media, the role of universities in preserving free speech and the boundaries and limitation of free expression, I am glad that we are able to have these debates about inclusivity but I really wish that more trans women were being given the opportunity to speak right now.
This week, the NUS finished its current "Students Not Suspects" tour which was allegedly aimed at fighting the Government's new Prevent strategy to deal with extremism, particularly the threat of Islamist extremism. While the Prevent strategy certainly has its flaws, the NUS's diagnosis is woefully misguided...
I think I've done it. You see, the feminist society at Bristol Uni seems to have a problem that they are unable to solve. They are utterly aghast at the University's journalism society inviting a speaker- Milo Yiannopoulos- to give a lecture, because Mr Yiannopoulos has made some pretty offensive, misogynist and ignorant remarks.
We've all heard the "if you haven't got something nice to say, don't say it" spiel. But freedom of speech is an important human entitlement and Hopkins is right to voice her thoughts. However awful, at least they give conscientious people the opportunity to undermine her with compassionate, reasoned stances.
As the Badawi case has shown, dissent in Saudi Arabia, as in many countries in the Middle East, is brutally suppressed. Yet Saudi Arabia is in fact a signatory to the Arab Charter on Human Rights in 2009, a document that guarantees the right to freedom of expression. Campaigners are asking Saudi Arabia to adhere to the standards it has set for itself.
The arrogance of those staying away is breathtaking. PEN exists to speak out for writers who are persecuted and threatened. As Salman Rushdie said, he hopes no one ever goes after the writers staying away. Still, it is easier to piss on dead cartoonists than to stand up to ISIS who crucify and behead.