On Friday at 11am the library service called me and said that the event could go ahead as planned. Later that day at 3.40pm, the head of the library service called to cancel my booking. He said the decision had been taken at the highest level of the council. I asked for clarification — did he mean David Mellen, the council leader? — and was told yes. I was disappointed and asked them to reconsider because of how difficult it would be for me to change venues this close to the event. They declined.
I asked instead if we — as members of the public — could still go into the library and talk there. I was told no. I then asked if they were really banning women from a public library, and the head of the library service, Nigel Hawkins, said he had been instructed to cancel the event; if Julie Bindel or myself went into the library to talk to each other we would be “barred from entering”. I was astounded by this and requested that the council leader call me to discuss his decision. But David Mellen refused.
I asked for written confirmation of my room booking being cancelled. This was sent at 4.29pm. The room was booked for 9am the next morning with the event due to begin at 11am.
I was left with no choice but to go ahead with the event in the library car park. We were picketed by a small group, half of whom said they were protesting Julie Burchill. She was not even there and I have never met her. These are the people Nottingham City Council are led by in their decision making: confused people who don’t even know the name of the woman they are so opposed to.
Two police cars were sent to “keep an eye on things”. I spoke with two officers, explaining that they weren’t needed, no crime was committed and that they probably had better things to be getting on with than standing around in a car park with a bunch of women.