Emma Felber | TheSinner.net
Among the usual crop of spectacular promises offered by societies this September, the Debates Convenor Alan Patterson came up with one even more unrealistic than usual. Just as no-one could quite believe that we would attract genuine Westminster MP’s to St Andrews (with the exception, naturally, of Menzies Campbell, who cannot seem to stay away), there were many who doubted that the Debating Society could really, truly produce a speaker willing to stand up in front of 250 students in his birthday suit.
We may have been proved right thus far in our skepticism about the first promise, but to give Mr Patterson credit where it is due, this year’s Rag week Debate delivered on its promise. Heavily documented in the national press, Vincent Bethell, an artist from Coventry, accepted the invitation to pass on his message of personal liberty to whoever would come to Lower Parliament Hall on Wednesday the 13th. Mr Bethell is chair and founder of the Freedom to Be Yourself Society, and seems to be so happy wandering about naked that it is a wonder he ever puts on clothes at all. During a five-day trial after which he was cleared of being a public nuisance, Bethell neglected to observe traditionally formal courtroom clothing, opting instead to appear before the judge in his preferred attire, that is to say, nothing. He has also been spotted at many London landmarks such a the High Court and New Scotland Yard unclothed, so often that tourists are beginning to assume that he is one of the city’s attractions.
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