Morning Call: pick of the papers

The ten must-read comment pieces from this morning's papers.

1. The left should learn about plain speaking from George Galloway (Independent)

The right is better at communicating because it uses stories so much, writes Owen Jones.

2. All good Tories should support a mansion tax (Times) 

The job of a pro-free market party should not be unquestioningly to defend the interests of the super-rich, says Tim Montgomerie.

3. Why the free market fundamentalists think 2013 will be the best year ever (Guardian)

As communists once did, today's capitalists blame any failures on their system being 'impurely' applied, writes Slavoj Žižek.

4. Obama is right to resist the Syria hawks (Financial Times)

The president’s lack of diplomatic creativity, rather than his sense of caution, is his real Achilles heel, says Edward Luce.

5. We shouted loudest over Sri Lanka’s abuses. Three years on and we’re arming the regime (Independent)

No matter how much red tape we put in place, we have no control over how such weaponry is used, writes Jerome Taylor.

6. Politicians and income tax: 10p or not 10p - that is the irrelevant question (Guardian)

Politicians of all parties often claim income tax cuts are the solution to many problems, but true progressives need to be much smarter, says a Guardian editorial.

7. Europe’s budget deal is flawed (Financial Times)

I cannot and will not accept what amount to unbalanced budgets, writes the president of the EU parliament, Martin Schulz.

8. I'd be overjoyed if this was the end of the foreign criminals fiasco- but don't hold your breath (Daily Mail)

Theresa May is just tinkering with the detail of human rights law, says Melanie Phillips. 

9. Labour shows its true colours with this spiteful tax on homes (Daily Telegraph)

If the two Eds get their way, an Englishman’s home will not be a castle, but a leaky ruin, says Boris Johnson.

The Tories aren't meant to be the nice party, they are meant to be the competent party, writes Geoffrey Wheatcroft.

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Why a group of Brunel students walked out on Katie Hopkins instead of no-platforming her

"We silently walked out because Ms Hopkins has the right to speak, but we also have the right to express our discontent."

Earlier this week, columnist and all-round provocateur Katie Hopkins turned up to Brunel University to join a panel in debating whether the welfare state has a place in 2015. No prizes for guessing her stance on this particular issue

But as Hopkins began her speech, something odd happened. Around 50 students stood up and left, leaving the hall half-empty.

Here's the video:

As soon as Hopkins begins speaking, some students stand up with their backs to the panelists. Then, they all leave - as the nonplussed chair asks them to "please return to their seats". 

The walk-out was, in fact, pre-planned by the student union as an act of protest against Hopkins' appearance at an event held as part of the University's 50th anniversary celebrations. 

Ali Milani, the Brunel Student Union president, says he and other students knew the walk-out would "start a conversation" around no-platforming on campuses, but as he points out, "What is often overlooked (either purposely or as a result of the fanfare) is that the conversation at no point has been about banning Ms Hopkins from speaking on campus, or denying her right to speak."

Instead, students who found her appearance at the welfare debate "incongruous" and "distasteful" simply left the room: "We silently walked out because Ms Hopkins has the right to speak, but we also have the right to express our discontent."

Milani praised the student body for treading the line between freedom of speech and expressing their distaste at Brunel's decision: 

"They have respectfully voiced their antagonism at the decision of their institution, but also . . . proven their commitment to free of speech and freedom of expression."

The protest was an apt way to dodge the issues of free speech surrounding no-platforming, while rejecting Hopkins' views. A walk-out symbolises the fact that we aren't obliged to listen to people like Hopkins. She is free to speak, of course, albeit to empty chairs. 

Barbara Speed is a technology and digital culture writer at the New Statesman and a staff writer at CityMetric.