Impeaching Donald Trump, war with North Korea and Brexit consequences were all under fierce debate at De Montfort University Leicester’s (DMU) latest Be The Change event.
Two panels of experts took questions from staff and students throughout two hours of discussions held in the evocative former courtroom in Leicester Castle Business School.
Chaired by Vice-Chancellor, Professor Dominic Shellard, the event was the latest in DMU’s Be The Change series, which encourages a broad political debate among staff and students at the university.
First topic under discussion was the behaviour of US President Donald Trump. Professor Shellard asked panel member Dr Clodagh Harrington, senior lecturer in Politics, whether Trump could be impeached.
She said: “I think impeachment is still a liberal dream. It’s worth reminding everyone that Trump did not win the popular vote.
“But what’s interesting is that he is not even trying to widen his appeal and in doing this, may shore up his conservative support – if he went for a second term he could scrape in again.”
Dr Harrington also argued that while a US war on North Korea was unlikely, the most dangerous weapon in the US was "President Trump’s thumbs.”
She was joined on the first panel by Professor Richard Hall, Co-Director of the Institute for Education Futures, and Chris Goldsmith, acting head of Politics.
In a discussion on Brexit, Chris Goldsmith made the point that educating students on the subject was difficult. He said: “How do we teach about Brexit when nobody knows what it means?”
Professor Shellard made the point that in his view, it was possible the UK would not actually leave the EU at all.
He said: “I’ve heard the point made that it is physically impossible for the UK to unpick itself from EU. There is such a lack of progress in basic negotiations, such a lack of planning.”
In the second half of the debate, Professor Shellard was joined by Professor Nigel Wright, Pro Vice-Chancellor Research, Kaushika Patel, Deputy Dean Health and Life Sciences and Professor Jonathan Davies, Professor of Critical Policy Studies.
Discussing the possibility of Jeremy Corbyn becoming Prime Minister, Kaushika Patel said: “It would be good for the country but it’s not going to happen.
“Corbyn has been smart in engaging young people; he is speaking young people’s language but the 16-18 group are not ready to vote yet.”
Also discussed was the Football Association’s response to remarks made by former England women’s manager Mark Sampson, found by an independent investigation to have been racially discriminatory.
Derrick Mensah, vice-president student activities with De Montfort Students’ Union, said: “There’s a lot of black and BAME people trying to get into football. The FA should out itself as institutionally racist.”
Professor Shellard said: “The reason we have these events like Be the Change is because we want to avoid this conspiracy of silence that occurs in incidents like these. We want to open as wide a forum for discussion as possible.”
Posted on Friday 3rd November 2017