The Great Alexander Shattock shares his wisdom
Irrelevant. Useless. Belligerent. Lettuce-like. What do all these words have in common? No prizes, folks: they could all be used to describe OUSU. If you were to use them.
And yet! Only a brave few stand up for this truth; bright candles in the face of hackery’s raging wind. Last term I read a superb article by a gentleman and a scholar, in the OxStu’s better-groomed and socially adjusted rival paper. It raised a question that the OUSUphiles have been praying doesn’t come up. What has OUSU ever done for us? Other than representing Oxford students at a national level, providing the Student Advice Service, disciplinary advocacy, campaign funding, common room training and support, the Fresher’s Fair, and free dental dams…what has OUSU ever done for us? Like, actually? Stony silence descends on the room. The President faints, aghast. Checkmate, OUSU.
But what can be done? Recognising and complaining about the problem is only the first step towards fixing it. What can good men do, in the face of such determined, relentless inadequacy? Martha Mackenzie (Pres Current) and DJ Townsend (Pres Incumbent) face the fight of their lives. If our Student Union is to become credible again, they must transform OUSU: from an organisation which spends all its time on important issues, into an organisation which spends all its time telling people it’s working on important issues. Of course, successfully shepherding an institution through this transition is the standard test of a 21st century politician’s steel. But if either of them should dither in their duty? If they should fail? Like the box next to Nigel Farage’s name on any ballot paper anywhere, Oxford Students should never be crossed. They want a Student Union that is good at justifying itself, not a Student Union that is justified: if OUSU officers can’t understand this basic theoretical distinction, then sooner or later, the Gloucester Street gutters will be foaming with blood.
Of course, this is not what our representatives want to hear. They won’t listen: they don’t care. They may even try to silence me; driven, as Cassandra was, to violent insanity by the knowledge of their own inevitable doom. In doing so, however, they should know this. They can threaten me, they can cut me down and I won’t give them the satisfaction of resisting. But like a man drowned in a vat of Lyle’s Golden Syrup, I will one day rise again; and my treacly vengeance will bring OUSU to its knees, sobbing, and slightly sticky.