THE BLOG
23/10/2015 06:00 BST | Updated 20/10/2016 06:12 BST

Yiannopoulos Should Not Be Banned From Bristol, He Should Be Ignored

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.

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.

The remarks are so offensive that the feminist society have called on Mr Yiannopoulos to be banned from the University's premises entirely. However, I've found a solution that will suit both societies: the journalism society can still have their debate, and the feminist society need not have to listen to the unsavoury views Mr Yiannopoulos espouses.

It's simple really, when you think about it. Don't go. That's right, just don't go to the talk. Or better yet, go to the talk and challenge him on his views. Find out why he thinks what he does, and perhaps, with reason and calm argument, you could even change his mind.

The problem is, banning solves nothing. It is the sort of solution Theresa May comes up with when she hears something she doesn't like. Ban it. Ban it and it will go away. Only, it doesn't go away, does it?

I mean, radicalisation doesn't stop when you ban people from being members of extremist groups. If anything, by not being allowed to discuss and challenge extreme views, the extreme views will get worse.

In the same way, ignorant bloggers don't go away if you ban them from talking to students. You're solving nothing. If anything, you're making it worse. In fact, I imagine people like Mr Yiannopoulos are spurred on by being banned from speaking. He would wear a ban from Bristol University as a badge of pride.

Nothing will be achieved by banning him. It will, however, be yet another encroachment on freedom of speech.

Mr Yiannopoulos might well have disgusting views. But, what it simply doesn't make sense to say that he is violating the 'security and safety of students' by conveying these views to those who voluntarily wish to listen to him. Unless students are going to be tied up and forced to the event, no one's rights are being infringed.

Most students won't even go to the event. Far more will now have seen his embedded tweets on news websites though. The furore being made over his visit has given him more of a platform and more recognition than he would otherwise have had.

As is always the way, words can offend, and nobody should be forced to listen. Going to a talk though is more of an active effort to hear his views than, say, googling them. But we wouldn't claim Google is violating our security and safety by allowing us to type his name into that search bar to see what he has to say.

It is completely right that the feminist society committee decided to inform students of the sorts of views Mr Yiannopoulos holds. However, a more appropriate response than resorting to 'safe space' policies might now be to simply ignore him. After all, do you really think that Katie Hopkins would have a column in a national newspaper if everyone simply ignored her? I suspect not.