Letters of “apology” in relation to the Cambridge milkshaking incident

On 24 May – well over four months ago – Elizabeth Hobson and I gave talks at Cambridge University. All the blog pieces relating to that day are here. The talks attracted a large online audience in part because of protesters from Cambridge University Noisy Twats Society seeking to drown out our talks with their chants – a typical line, “There are many, many, more of us than you” – and failing dismally. A local man who attended the talks was assaulted by the crowd, along with his 16-year-old son.

Following milkshake being thrown over me a few hours before the talks – some of it went over two supporters, Natty and Jordan – the police identified the assailants, a young woman, and a male photographer working for Varsity. The police didn’t even seek a charging decision from the CPS, but let the two people off on the condition they sent letters of “apology” to Natty, Jordan, and myself, and paid £25 to each of us. The letters finally arrived today, by email. The milkshake thrower’s letter consists of this:

Dear Sir/Madam

REF: Apology for Misconduct

I am writing to express my regret for my actions on the day of the J4MB event in Cambridge.

I acknowledge that my behaviour was not an appropriate way to air my grievances with your organisation. While I cannot undo my actions or alter what transpired, I hope that this letter will go some way to making amends. I will practice self-control and when aggrieved, I will voice my concerns using more appropriate methods of protest in future.

I am sorry for any damage or upset caused, and I hope that £25 each will be enough to cover any costs arising.
Once again, I express my sincere apology and promise that this will not happen again.


An Activist

The photographer’s letter consists of this:

Dear [Sir/Madam]

I am writing to apologise for throwing a milkshake at/over your person. Regardless of my disagreements with your beliefs, I recognise that this action was unacceptable. Even though our feelings were strong, it was wrong to express our anger in the way we did. Going forward, I will make every effort to confine my protests to legally acceptable avenues. Resorting to physical means, I acknowledge, is dangerous and irresponsible. Even if throwing a liquid may have seemed trivial, I recognise now that it still constitutes assault in the eyes of the law. Taking this course of action was therefore not justifiable.

Nor did any mirth that might have been caused justify the act perpetrated. Of course, this is not to mention the material consequences. The damages to clothing etc. are extremely regrettable. Hopefully, the £25 enclosed will cover any costs incurred. I accept this as a fair penalty and am grateful that more serious action was avoided.

Nevertheless, I have learnt a lesson from this experience. Going forward, I will always engage on an intellectual level, no matter with whom I am engaging.

Yours sincerely,

No names were provided. So not only have these two idiots not been held to account legally or financially – we understand a crowdfunder covered their costs – they have not even had their identities revealed. The silver lining in this cloud was provided by Natty’s wonderful video (4:32) of the milkshaker and the photographer, which has attracted over 14,500 hits to date.

The police were called to pick up the woman Natty had apprehended – in the centre of Cambridge – and failed to turn up in the course of an hour. The police also did nothing to disband the group of protesters seeking to stop people entering the building where Elizabeth and I were speaking.

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