A society at Edinburgh University has apologised after it used a picture of a golliwog on posters advertising a debate on political correctness.
Edinburgh University Debates Union withdrew the posters last week, but was forced to cancel the event on Tuesday, after three of the scheduled speakers withdrew. They had been due to debate the motion “This house believes that political correctness has gone too far”.
One of the speakers was Fred Mackintosh, an advocate and teaching fellow at Edinburgh University’s Centre for Professional Legal Studies, who described the inclusion of the golliwog on the poster as ‘puerile and ill-considered’.
“Our liberal society has come a long way, but there is still a lot to do,” he said. “I chose to conclude that the inclusion of a golliwog in the publicity material was simply puerile and ill-considered, rather than something more sinister.”
He added: “I do not wish to be associated with such an event and those who prepared the publicity for this debate could do well to consider the need to treat others as they would wish to be treated.”
Euan McPherson, the society’s convenor, told the Edinburgh Student newspaper that it “was never [EUDU’s] intention” to cause offense.
The other two people who cancelled were Marco Biagi MSP, and David Campbell Bannerman MEP.
The posters featured the Robertson’s golliwog, a former mascot of the UK jam manufacturer. It was retired in 2002, though the company denied it was for reasons of political correctness.