Politics is rather boring.
Or at least the people who practice it usually are. Add the pseudo-intellectual arrogance of a Cambridge student into the mix, and you are stuck with a rather silly, ideologically driven and evidentially sparse set of ideas, propagated by a bunch of self-styled political students, mouthing off at whoever (or often, whatever) will listen to them. No wonder no-one really cares – even at the last general election, a large number of students didn’t bother to turn out; not that electing a Liberal Democrat has made much difference. And as for CUSU – quite rightly it is considered a bit of a dullard’s game.
You only have to turn up to a ‘meeting’ of the fortnightly CUSU Council to see what happens when a bunch of self-important, self-interested and extraordinarily boring people get together to slam their own, usually totally ridiculous, policies on an executive – and I use the term very lightly. Our CUSU executive has to implement all the nonsense that gets thrown their way every other Monday – and having watched this pantomime for a couple of years, something fairly worrying is happening – and something that nobody seems to know about.
Now all student unions have been plagued for years by people who think that their role is to launch an armada against Mugabe or send the tanks into Milton Keynes – and who think that anyone outside of the room they are in will actually care what they have to say - but there’s a whole new phenomenon taking place in Cambridge. It’s something that has been slowly creeping up on us since the rather moronic raising of tuition fees, and the smash and burn culture of the last year or so – where the best way to show anger is apparently to break into expensive shops and steal plasma TVs. Very few people thought that the tuition fee increase was a good idea. But a group that has really benefitted from this are beginning to wreak their own particular brand of havoc on the university.
I’m talking about the far left extremists. The bad gang of alleged Marxists/Communists (all with iPad and MacBook Pro in hand) out to save Cambridge from the excesses of the bourgeoisie. To be honest with you, I’m not too sure who is in the latter category, but so far as I can tell, it’s anyone who’s not them. I, for one, am apparently one of the first up against the wall (rather invitingly put, I feel), when the revolution comes. I’m not sure if they are actually so unwell as to believe that it will come – but they seem pretty convinced.
Well, this lot have decided that it’s time they made their move; and their ingenious plan is to start becoming members of CUSU Council – mostly unelected, if they can (why break the habit of a lifetime), and mostly in the MCRs (how they have the time or inclination to complete a degree, I simply can’t understand; how is the world going to fundamentally shift on its axis without their help?). I don’t think their entire reason is to become a member of a politburo, although I imagine their sitting around with a bunch of the ‘saved’ is probably helping massage their egos; they’re there because they’ve realised they can cause a lot of trouble – and that nobody seems to care.
Well, I think we should. CUSU is now demanding a walk out of all lectures on 30th November, because our representatives asked them to. There is also to be a referendum on who clears our bins, which probably won’t (and shouldn’t) get to quorum, but will waste a whole bunch of money. And this is just the start of the ideology seeping out of their diseased political udders. Last year, they were in a decisive minority, and any calls, on our behalf, for strikes, walkouts, occupations (the most silly and pointless of all protests), pickets, condemnation of the university, hatred of Israel, fury at preventing genocide in Libya, etc, were ignored. If they try it this year, they might just win.
This is our council, and they are our representatives. It’s time we took them in hand. Most of us are pretty much centre left here. And most of us are here to learn, to debate, and to discuss; not to walk out, smash up or make sweeping political statements. CUSU is our students union, and should be dealing with students’ issues. Let’s get them out, vote them out, debate them out of town; and the body of student opinion can wrench their attempted iron curtain out like a massive magnet, and drop it back in the political doldrums, where it belongs, and where their ideas can continue to fester and bore others.