Schools were threatened with “funding cuts” from local councils if they hosted outspoken broadcaster Katie Hopkins as part of a nationwide speaking tour, it was revealed today.
And 95 per cent of schools that initially registered interest in taking part in Katie Hopkins’ Stand Strong School Tour ended up pulling out after pressure from local authorities. The former Mail Online columnist told Shy Society that Welsh education minister Kirsty Williams, a Liberal Democrat, and Scottish education minister John Swinney, from the SNP, were also instrumental in ‘no platforming’ her at a majority of locations.
In total, Hopkins ended up speaking at just five schools including Harrow School, an independent boarding school for boys, where 700 pupils turned up to hear her speak about the media and political landscape.
“I did a push out on Twitter and if the kids didn’t want me – no dramas. And all you needed was the permission of your head and I’ll come – no fee, no nothing, and here’s a schedule and here’s what I say,” Katie explained.
“So it was real clear. But it was a totally open speech about how to think about the news. And I started off with a list of 100 schools at which point I was like ‘oh god, this is going to be a years’ worth of school talks which I wasn’t really up for to be honest’. But then it ended up being like five, because the one’s that said ‘yes’ as soon as someone heard they came out, we ended up losing a tranche.
“We even had the governments involved, like the Labour Party in Wales – the education secretary then we had the Scottish education secretary and at those points you feel like ‘look, I am just this mother with three kids’. I literally am – then we had councils threatening schools with de-funding if I went and like no way was I playing that game because my aim was never to cause them grief.”
Katie circulated the schedule on Twitter and topics she intended to cover included Hilary Clinton’s presidential election campaign, the Women’s March and Black Lives Matter. In a flyer promoting the initiative it read: “Know why you believe in your views, welcome the thoughts of others. Own your opinions and stand strong.”
A philosophical Katie added: “The schools that I did were brilliant, and people would come up at the end – even teachers that weren’t keen and they came so I fully respect that – and they were like ‘damn you, you are actually quite likeable.’ And it’s sort of annoying then for those people, and I totally get that, because it’s much easier to imagine a monster saying the stuff I say because then you can disregard it because it’s a monster. If you meet me and I’m pretty much like someone you’d meet in Sainsbury’s getting your chicken, then it’s really damn awkward. Maybe she means what she says.
“So I persevere – and it’s not super personal, it’s about our governmental institutions controlling how we think. We just keep going – but it is shocking. The education secretary is scared of what I’m going to say – it is properly mad.”
Standing up for those without a voice in Britain
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