When news of Margaret Thatcher’s death reached her alma mater, Oxford University, the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Andrew Hamilton, put out a terse statement: ‘As Britain’s first female prime minister, and one of its longest serving, Baroness Thatcher ranks among the most prominent of Oxford’s alumni. One of the foremost politicians of her age, historians will debate her legacy for decades to come; today we remember a graduate of the University who reached the highest public office and had a lasting impact on British politics and society.’
It was carefully worded. With the neutral observation that ‘historians will debate her legacy for decades to come’, and a passing mention of her ‘lasting impact on British politics and society’, Professor Hamilton trod delicately. He couldn’t say nothing, but neither could he say much at all beyond the facts: the merest whiff of praise for her accomplishments would have risked the ire of the Congregation – the academics who make up the governing body of the University, most of whom voted against awarding her an honorary doctorate back in 1985. Continue reading →
On Wednesday 27th February 2013 at Corpus Christi College, Oxford, the University’s Student Union voted overwhelmingly against the anti-Israel motion to support ‘Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions’ (BDS) – a Palestinian movement which seeks to isolate Israel on the world stage by severing all diplomatic and economic links with the country, and placing embargos on trade, aid and military cooperation. Israel’s actions are, in short, devoid of all reason and lack any moral justification.
As far as the BDS campaign is concerned, the Israeli Government is guilty of ethnic cleansing, colonisation, racial discrimination, and military occupation. The motion was to have remained in force until such time as Israel ‘ends the occupation and complies with international law’. Continue reading →