THE OXFORD UNION'S
decision to cancel its debate on free
speech, in which controversial author
David Irving was due to take
part, is a sorry error of judgment.
Pressure from academics and students
hostile to Mr Irving has caused the
Union to act in a fashion increasingly
familiar on American campuses, but
happily unusual here.
Mr Irving is at best
an eccentric figure, who represents
some deeply unpleasant opinions. But
the Union -- which has invited many
disreputable figures in the past, most
recently Michael Jackson, in the
cause of publicity -- should not have
backed off now, merely because Mr
Irving is unpopular.
universities become dominated by the
sort of intolerance to minority views
which is commonplace across the
Atlantic, it will be a sorry business
for free speech and democracy. It is
the academics who seek to suppress
minority opinions who do not belong in
places of learning.