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Morning Call: pick of the papers

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

1. Russia is a hostile power, but this is not a new cold war (Guardian)

The west needs to step back from the Ukraine crisis and devise a new strategy of containment towards Vladimir Putin, says Martin Kettle. 

2. Man Utd and Britain share a problem – debt (Times)

The football club is paying off its borrowings, writes Tim Montgomerie. But for Labour, the deficit will force tough decisions on tax and spending.

3. Boris, George and selfish scheming that could hand Labour the keys to Downing Street (Daily Mail)

The Mayor and the Chancellor should leave their machinations until after the election, says Stephen Glover. 

4. This war on 'Islamism' only fuels hatred and violence (Guardian)

Tony Blair's anti-democratic tirade chimes with David Cameron's toxic manoeuvring at home and in the Muslim world, says Seumas Milne. 

5. The mysteries of the UK economy unravel (Financial Times)

Three almost universally held ‘truths’ will wither when new standards are adopted, writes Chris Giles. 

6. Rebellion is brewing against the elite that has ruined Europe (Daily Telegraph)

"The idiot in Brussels" and his like may keep their jobs for now, but trust is evaporating fast, says Peter Oborne.

7. Enjoy the sushi and hot noodles while you can, Barack – the Chinese will remain cold (Independent)

For two of the countries on his itinerary, the timing is especially poor, says David Usborne. 

8. London borough elections: Britain's other other country (Guardian)

London elected 14 more MPs than Scotland in 2010 – this other country is under parliament's nose, notes a Guardian editorial. 

9. Kim turns into the Macbeth of North Korea (Times)

Planning is already in place in case the leader’s brutality leads to his assassination and the collapse of the regime, writes Michael Burleigh. 

10. Latin rebels turn to pragmatism (Financial Times)

But take Venezuelan and Argentine reform with pinch of salt, says an FT editorial. 

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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.