Oxford and Cambridge Universities have an awful lot in common. And last week was no exception. By inviting polarising political figures from the left and the right - George Galloway and Marine Le Pen, respectively - both institutions reaffirmed what is at once perhaps the most sacred and the most imperilled of all our values: the freedom of speech.
For nearly 200 years the Cambridge Union has existed to promote free speech. At times this inevitably leads to controversy. In the 1960s, it stemmed from the Union's invitation to Enoch Powell and Oswald Mosley. Last term it was Julian Assange, and before that Dominique Strauss-Kahn. This time it was Mme. Le Pen.
It takes a lot of courage to say what you really think; it takes even more courage when you are the President of one of the most powerful countries on earth, addressing the world. On the 9 May 2012 President Barack Obama became the first sitting US president to back same-sex marriage, marking a significant historical, political and cultural moment.
Fashion is elitist, and it has its critics, mainly concerning its detachment from the realities of society, but within the doom and gloom of an economic recession, it can be a breath of fresh air. Most of us will never be invited to a catwalk show. Yet it is a hobby for so many, and goes way beyond merely wanting the clothes.
Throughout Cambridge University there are many Conservatives. But many of them dare not openly admit this. Young Liberal Democrats, Labourites, Socialists and Marxists are lauded as idealists who care about the injustices of the world, whereas young Conservatives are seen to be unpleasant, reactionary and self-interested individuals with no capacity for compassion.