LUKE HEPPENSTALL-WEST confirms that student party politics are still pretty frickin’ dire.
Cambridge is famous for filling the House of Commons with its braying graduates.
Everyone else hates us for it. But do the majority of Cambridge students actually care about politics?
When I was 14 I thought I was a Communist. I hadn’t even read Marx – my rage at ‘the system’ probably had more to do with the fact that girls wouldn’t talk to me than any particular ideology. I’ve since grown up (sorry Communists), but I’d still see myself as pretty left-wing.
I had high hopes for Cambridge, filled as it is with intelligent, outspoken and motivated people. I was sure that there would be something out there to get involved in; to rekindle my political angst; to make me more generous with the shit I was gradually starting not to give.
I’ve been disappointed by the political societies. Many are elusive and poorly attended – the Greens are nearly impossible to find: all their protests seem to start at 9am, and the one talk I managed to get to was given by their MP, who told a bunch of 18-24 year olds that all Socialism must now be Eco-Socialism because what we all care about most is the welfare of our children.
Nobody turned up to the Lib Dem meeting I went to. The Conservative Association have a habit of charging £15 for their socials (although I did only try to attend in order to write an article about them).
There are at least 3 far-left societies who spend most of their time slinging 1930s jargon at each other. Famously, the Fabians got more signatures at Fresher’s fair when their rep went to the toilet, than from the rest of the event combined.
Of the bunch, Labour are the most popular and active, and to their credit they do support things like the Living Wage campaign, but even then they only have a fraction of the attendance they should.
It’s all quite disenchanting – isn’t this supposed to be the place that churns out Prime Ministers?
I suppose ultimately, the problem is that we’re all really, really busy. I hear you now: wow, no shit Sherlock. That’s another brilliant conclusion from the man who brought you ‘best benches in Cambridge’.
But seriously, organised party politics at a student level just isn’t the best thing people could be doing with their time. It’s not that students don’t care – I know loads of very committed, opinionated people and we’ve had some great arguments – but why would we want to fill the gaps in our packed schedules with something that’s neither enjoyable nor worthwhile?
Take Labour, for example. Alright, so they go down the pub and do stuff sometimes, but they also expect you to support the shite that Labour comes out with.
Not only that, they want you to get up at 10am on a Saturday (basically Fascist in itself) and canvas that same shite in order to get some old Millibandite wanker into Parliament, just because he’s not quite as bad as the Tories.
I for one would rather join the Tiddlywinks society – at least its indoors and you can roll out of bed in time for brunch.