This week’s PalatiComment mailbag


In the section of Palatinate, we want to put forward forthright views on a range of topics; from those affecting your life in Durham to stories on a national scale. The aim of those forthright views is to encourage debate and open people up to different points of view.

So, when you read something in Palatinate, don’t just digest it passively: react! online, tweet (@PalatiComment) or email into The person writing the article is almost certain not to have touched on something that you think is vital, so by reacting you get to put forward to the complete picture.

In this new mailbag feature, we will be picking out the highlights of those reactions from the past week. If you add something interesting to a future debate, you might well be featured too.

It’s time to sort through the week’s post…

in last Tuesday’s edition of Palatinate argued that the protestors occupying the space outside Westminster Cathedral should move on. He suggested that capitalism was too ingrained in our society to be radically changed and the protestors had a false mission. You can read Hugh’s piece here:

However, two days after the article was published, we received this disgusted email from disgruntled Josephine Butler student, Ruby Lawrence:

I have just read Hugh Westlake’s article and I cannot think of any other way to put this – it’s disgusting. It is ignorant, generalising, incredibly narrow-minded and (for want of a better word) crap. I am amazed at the lack of insight and intelligence Westlake has managed to display.

Westlake seems to believe the protestors are pushing for communism. I think he has gravely misunderstood the matter and seems to have an embarrassing lack of knowledge on why these protests are taking place. The article would have fitted perfectly into the Daily Mail – it is one of the most offensive things I’ve read in a long time.

If this is your coverage of the protests it is sadly lacking.

The contention prompted to pen a potent counter-argument to Hugh’s article. Have a read here:

The section below Adam’s article then overflowed with a range of contributors debating the various aspects of the two contradicting pieces. Some of the high lights are below:


Personally I agreed more with the original article, however, a well written and necessary piece


Capitalism hasn’t been around for ever nor will it be. It’s just a matter of time when the majority of people realise that plundering the earth’s resources at the current rate is unsustainable and will demand for an alternative.

I am sorry but this article is completely misguided and the first article makes far stronger points. Many of the points made in the original article have been simply ignored and the author has simply resorted to calling Mr Westlake ‘boorish’ what a strong academic debate Mr Robertson makes!

‘T’ was far more complementary about Robertson’s reply:

Plaudits to Adam Robertson, a well considered and intelligence response to an article which wasn’t even for yesterdays fish and chips.

’s article was so staggeringly ignorant and so utterly devoid of almost any logic that I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry.

Most impressive was his frankly McCarthyist assumption that anyone not singing the praises of unbridled capitalism must, by default, be an uncle Joe loyalist

When issued a lengthy retort to these negative comments the reaction was again mixed and largely critical. He was drawn into a to-and-fro argument with a number of commenters.


Have you written this article because you’re poor?

Why should be discussing the future of the society with communists? I bet there would be a huge uproar if a far right organisation was to be included in any such discussions.


I am, personally, not in favour of a communist economy or society, but I am still willing to involve advocates of them in a discussion on how to fix the mess we are in.”

There is a difference between Stalin and ‘a  person in favour of Communism’. Fascism on the other hand is an ideology defined by hatred and violence.

However, the week wasn’t entirely dominated by discussion about the Occupy protest on Palatinate Online.

Charlotte Deans argued that Live Lounge’s plan to introduce bring-your-own-drinks nights was going to downgrade the enjoyable experience of going out for a drink. You can read her piece here:

PurpleMonkey responded:

“Pre-lash has its purpose”.
Can you explain to me why you support pre-lash and what it’s purpose is if it isn’t to support “going for a drink … purely to get as inebriated as possible” or connected with binge-drinking, that you disapprove of elsewhere in the article.

wrote in the last print edition of Palatinate that Durham students should stand up and protest against the forced imposition of 38-week lets. She suggested that we need to improve from the apathetic turnout for the tuition fees protest last year. Olivia’s article is online here:

On twitter, @ifoundthewords commented:

Great to see a 38wk let but the odd criticism of £9k fees distracted from the accommodation issue I think 😮

Get commenting, emailing and tweeting this week to ensure your thoughts make it into the debate and in our mailbag.

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