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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2492

Naked Mission: Cambridge Professor Walked into BBC Radio Studio and Disrobed Herself

Hemantha Abeywardena writes from London…

The Brexit debate that is becoming more and more intense in Britain at present took a new turn on Friday, when a professor of economics suddenly disrobed herself in a BBC radio studio, having arrived for a discussion on the subject.

Dr Victoria Bateman, a professor of economics at the University of Cambridge, met John Humphrys, the host of the popular Today programme on BBC Radio 4, in the studio for a pre-arranged discussion.

Much to the dismay of the veteran presenter, 75, who plans to call it a day after 37 years in the role, Dr Bateman suddenly removed her clothes, leaving her fully naked.

The presenter, perhaps, having been shell-shocked, immediately let the millions of listeners know what was before him: “Oh, I see you naked,” he addressed Dr Bateman first; then turning to listeners, “Dr Bateman has the words, ‘Brexit leaves Britain naked’ written on her body,“ said he.

Mr Humphrys could only watch patiently when Dr Bateman got into the act in a flash. Afterwards, she was ready to face the barrage of questions from the broadcaster as if nothing happened.

Mr Humphrys could not help himself - not to refer to her nudity; Dr Bateman had her response too: “It’s Britain’s Emperor’s New Clothes moment,” she hit back; Dr Bateman was referring to the famous tale by Hans Christian Andersen, the Danish author in the late nineteenth century.

The Broadcaster then accused the academic of being an exhibitionist , while trying to make her point. By holding her ground, she defended her act - and the mission – while maintaining her composure without the slightest hint of embarrassment.

When Mr Humphrys recovered from the initial shock, the interview started. Dr Bateman, in response, said that her slogan on the naked body carried three messages: Brexit leaves Britain naked; it gives rise to the anti-immigration sentiment; finally, it exposed the past government failures.

“The same arguments were made by people wearing clothes,” Mr Humphrys shot back, while asking why Dr Bateman felt the need of bearing it all. “I have written thousands of words against Brexit,” she replied. “But I thought it would be useful to reduce all of those words down, condense all of those words down to one powerful message,” she continued.

“Brexit is New Emperor’s Clothes,” said Dr Bateman later, saying it is something that cannot deliver what it promises.

Dr Bateman is no stranger to delivering lectures while being naked. She has done that before on Twitter, while being subjected to criticism by people who normally wear clothes – and take off only in private.

Dr Bateman, in addition to being an avowed anti-Brexit campaigner, is a prominent feminist too.

She has this message to men - who wear clothes or not: “For thousands of years, men have controlled what women can do with their bodies. Women's bodies have been seen purely as things for sex and babies, “ while adding, “what is wrong with a modern day woman taking control of her body and using it to give voice to what is the most pressing political subject in Britain right now?”

Dr Bateman wound up her relatively-short interview with Mr Humphrys by challenging a prominent member of the opposing camp, Jacob, Rees Mogg, the flamboyant Conservative MP, for a naked debate with her. His response remains to be heard in this regard.

In Britain – and elsewhere in Europe – we have seen pitch invasion by naked activists and thrill seekers during a game of cricket or football. We have seen men and women disrobing collectively in support of worthy causes.

This, however, is the first time that an academic took the centre stage naked in order to make her point/s. Of course, she has come under criticism for what she was doing. Judging by her response in kind, however, it is clear nothing can stop her from doing what she is determined to do.

So, men and women who wear clothes have to put up with it, especially in the coming weeks when the Brexit debate gets really intense. On her part, Dr Bateman will keep challenging Brexiters for naked debates in proportion to the power of the heated arguments.

- Asian Tribune -

Naked Mission: Cambridge Professor Walked into BBC Radio Studio and Disrobed Herself
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