Morning Call: pick of the papers

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

1. After Woolwich, don't ban hate speech, counter it. Hate it, too (Guardian)

Facing Islamist violence, the British home secretary, like her counterparts in Europe, wrongly reaches for censorship, writes Timothy Garton Ash. 

2. Cameron the new Major? Don't buy that myth (Independent)

The current issue for the Conservatives is discordance rather than disunity, says Steve Richards.

3. I'm used to the left fibbing about 'savage' cuts. But the mystery is why Mr Osborne is playing the same game (Daily Mail)

The claim that the deficit has been brought down by a third is is not borne out by a fair-minded examination of the figures, writes Stephen Glover. 

4. Who will cut up rough in Star Chamber? (Daily Telegraph)

All sides will be busy rehearsing their arguments and even deciding the order in which the Star Chamber judges should speak, writes Sue Cameron.

5. Russia the paranoid bully must be confronted (Times)

It’s easier for Britain to turn away – but it must mitigate the malign effects of Putinism, especially in Syria, says David Aaronovitch.

6. Worry about the jobs revolving door (Financial Times)

It is becoming usual for public servants to cash in by taking private-sector posts, writes John Gapper.

7. The whiff of suspicion over the Chilcot Inquiry grows stronger (Daily Telegraph)

Lord Owen is right to raise questions about a conspiracy of silence following the Iraq war, says Peter Oborne.

8. David Cameron’s circle of friends is shrinking (Daily Telegraph)

The Prime Minister has surprisingly few friends, and plenty of colleagues waiting for him to fail, says James Kirkup.

9. Boris the hare should beware the tortoises (Times)

When it comes to their next leader, the Tories MPs who still miss Margaret Thatcher may well choose a woman, writes Isabel Hardman.

10. French battle is over more than marriage (Financial Times)

The issue of same-sex union reflects deep anxiety over the country’s future, writes Mark Mazower.

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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.