Monday, 5 March 2012

Student Politics

Stop me if you think that you've heard this one before, but student politics doesn't really make much of a difference does it? Upon entering the hallowed iron railings of Leicester University, I soon found myself besieged by angry careerist sorts shaking leaflets in my face and saying how being elected activities officer would knock, say being elected supreme lord and master of the world into a comparatively shallow second place. Maybe this special brand of political vim and vigour exists across the country, or maybe our slightly bedazzled friends at Leicester Uni are struck by the sterling example of Aaron Porter, once supremely dull Student Union head here, then moving on to catastrophically apathetic N.U.S leader, now pretentious policy advisor wonk for hire. Maybe one day, dream our politically minded comrades, we too can follow in the stardust laden footsteps of this paragon of a human being.
Or probably not. Student politics here makes me rather depressed. The pattern of elections and S.U position tenureships here seem to act as a microcosm for the Westminster system. Perhaps this is what trained Aaron Porter for his current attempts to curry favour with the Labour Party? Simply put, smiley-faced candidates who you suspect have either stood for election due to their popularity, or out of some misguided aim to actually try and accomplish things within a broken system make promises that are either wildly unachievable, or more likely, vague to the point of attracting as many voters as possible. A constant amongst the flyers I was handed promised that their candidates were "against racism, sexism and homophobia." As though anyone would bother to elect a candidate who instead said on the flyers "Shoot the bloody lot I say, it's the only language they'll understand." Other boring, vague constants included opposition to fee rises and commitments to 'hard work' and 'listening to what you have to say.' All of these apparent promises I have seen, both wild and vague, I have seen no sign of. My experience at this university has not changed at all. Drunken twits still go on nights out. People pretend to pay attention in pointless seminars. '1924' in the Student Union still inexplicably remains in business. The only thing that ever seems to change is the posteriors on the seats in the student council. Being elected to the student union now merely seems to me to be something to scribble down on your C.V in the 'other' section, and not as what it should be, an actual-fucking-responsibility. In fact the only way the actions of the student union and council affect my university experience is the two week period in spring when endless canvassers try to garner your attention, and you have to plot alternate routes to get to your lectures to avoid them.
"But Oscar you twat!" you might say, surely the student union and council affect your university experience in ways you can't imagine? This might be the case. But as I have said, the grandstanding overambitious proposals never seem to be realised, and whatever other tedious ratifications the union may do, we are never informed. No wonder no one is interested in student politics here at all when we are kept in the dark. Maybe if the student union actually tried to engage the student body by telling of the positive things they are actually trying to do, and not focusing on pretentious and dull bullshit through the campaign season, more people might be interested. But of course, this won't happen, so I'll be happy to continue my whinging.
Actually, there was one student council candidate who interested me last year. It was an anonymous student, bizarrely for some reason dressed up as Ali G who went under the name "No One Cares for Academic Affairs." Simple, to the point, and true. He was the only person I bothered voting for in the election, and even he didn't get elected.

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