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.

Sorry pal

Sorry pal

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.

It turns out this little bundle of joy is not the motivating factor for most students' political persuasion

It turns out this little bundle of joy is not the motivating factor for most students’ political persuasion

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.

An inspiringly large crowd of passionate students ready to effect change

An inspiringly large crowd of passionate students ready to effect change

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.

I mean, It's just too easy...

I mean, It’s just too easy…

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.

  • Bored

    tl;dr – I want people to think I’m left-wing and committed to party politics, but I’m too lazy and idealistic to join the Labour Party, even though CULC is actually quite good. But I’m going to write an article anyway. And the Tab is going to post it, because views.

    But yeah, it’s the students actually involved in politics who are responsible for it being unpopular. Totally. Or is this the Tab’s famous sense of humour?

    • hmm

      I don’t think he’s saying it’s the students involved who turn people off student politics. It seems like the argument is much more about the fact that even when students are fiercely political, alignment to party politics just isn’t particularly inspiring

      • Bored

        Perhaps, but see: ‘I’ve been disappointed by the political societies’ – and the suggestion that CULC has some kind of three line whip on political opinions, which as far as I’m aware isn’t true. I agree that political parties have a responsibility to inspire, and that they’ve been failing at that for a while- but I’m a little tired of people giving this as a reason for not getting involved themselves. I, naively, think that politics was about what you can do for other people, not what politics can do for you.

        • Bored

          ^I appear to change tense half way through the last sentence^

  • Stanley Baldwin

    “isn’t this supposed to be the place that churns out Prime Ministers?”
    Well, given that we haven’t had a Cambridge PM since the 1930s, probably not.

    • Stanley

      probably because it would be impossible for anyone to look quite as bloody louche as me while running a country

  • Greg Hill

    Student politics sometimes delivers great things, though. Take the gym, for example, which I built.

    • Ludwig Wittgenstein

      The words ‘DEAD’, ‘BEAT’ and ‘HORSE’ come to mind, Greg

      • Concerned animal lover

        Is the horse OK? Shall I call a veterinarian?

  • A Sensitive Scholar

    Keep your head down and vote UKIP. Most of the people here are so out of touch that it’s best to just not engage them.

  • Ha.

    Anyone who actually is a politico rolls their eyes at politically committed students. Maybe that’s why you couldn’t find us at CULC/CUCA/CULD meetings.

  • Russell Brand

    You sound like a good little lad, email me at russell@therevolution.revz