It’s good to talk, but better to do

Wasn’t the morning of May 6th wonderful? Not you realise, because I was particularly interested in the fact that Labour get to act on more recommendations of independent advisers, but because there were prime photo opportunities while the gaggles of hacks tried to fish their smug smiles out of the gutters.

Whenever our lives are touched by an event that is given any semblance of importance, of course, it is standard for every Tom, Cock and Harry to have their say. This is fine when it is restricted to its natural habitat of the pub, but when the populist spoutings sticks on a bit of lippy and try to gain entry to the nightclub of sensible opinion, well – it’s those situations that you thank evolution for the hiccup that produced bouncers.

A General Election is great because not only does it provide more to moan about than your average Thursday, but it also gets party political types all hot under their (ostensibly polyester mix) collars.

You see, I’ve always found it rather prudent to be wary of anyone who is a member of a political party; it’s akin to having a mono-brow, or considering it credible to own a moped. What gets to me most, however, is the mindset intensified during election time, that throws all sense out of the window to despise something simply because whoever said it is wearing the wrong colour badge.

Of course, this is not a phenomenon unique to national elections (this is merely where it is magnified to proportions NASA would be proud of). Even on our own dear campus there is the well nurtured, yet bemusing culture of inherent hate towards the Students’ Union. This, amusingly, is much employed by those members of the Union who, for example, consider the achievements of campus societies to be completely separate from such a body.

There is something about this mindset however that exasperates me even more than the ludicrous nature of the Scottish football team: the inability of these groups to do anything useful whatsoever. Shouting out loud, it seems, is often mistaken by people for effectiveness. (Shouting inwardly to ones self, however, also rather fails to pack the punch where political activity is concerned.)

What never seems to be realised, however, is that once their bombastic retching has made its way from wherever it originates to the mouth, it appears to the rest of us as little more than a whine. And the problem with a whine you see, is that it is, to quote a particular view variously attributed to the government, YUSU and the controller of ITV Comedy: “fucking useless”.

There will be people who whine that Labour went to war in Iraq and never bothered to exercise their right to vote – people will argue that such political apathy is due to “disenchantment with modern British politics” however one must realise it is simply laziness. There are people who whine about the state of the pavements outside their house, or about broken streetlights who’ll never bring it to the attention of anyone who might help. There will always be people who whine about the state of YUSU without bothering to do anything to make life for students on campus better, just put the earplug budget of those who do into double figures.

Do these people not think that if they actually want to make a difference, rather than assert their smug superiority (read inferiority, obviously) in a wince-inducing whine, they should actually have the balls to stand up for a view they believe in and follow it through? As long as I can always claim that, I will be a content man.

Can it really be that people are arrogant enough to think that their crusade will make a bigger difference than actually working with society from within, in order to help life and all its oddities to evolve? To be fair, there are people that thought the Tories would win the election…

Actually on the subject of Tories, I may as well conclude this point with a little report on how useless being smug without substance can make you look.

At the pre-election constituency hustings for Selby, the narrowly defeated Tory candidate Mark Menzies gave an answer to a question that belied belief. The candidates were asked to name a politician from another party that they admired. Menzies chose Winston Churchill for the following reason: he wasn’t afraid to go against the beliefs of his party and popular opinion to enter into a war that he believed was the right thing to do.

I forgot that Winston Churchill was still living at Number Ten, glad you kept us straight on that Mark. Blair may still anger some through allying with a certain political animal in America but surely one must recognise Blair went to war for all the right reasons (despite the UN’s ‘wronged’ resolutions…)

Of course it would be wonderful to think that Menzies’ comments had been made with a subtle and ironic nod of respect towards Blair’s actions, actions that we know full well almost any Prime Minister would have been forced to take in his position, but of course the guffaws of biologically conservative youths in the back row each at pre-prescribed junctures put pay to that.
Go on, grow those balls for next time, would you, please?

(Robbie Dale)

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