This article was first published in 2004
Getting involved in student politics is a lot like contracting a strain of herpes but with a greater chance of painful weeping sores. For a start, you’re usually infected through no real decision of your own and, once you are, everyone who knows about your condition finds you deeply unattractive. Your circle of friends starts to constrict until your social life consists solely of your fellow sufferers and finally, when all hope of cure dies, you resign yourself to living as leper and try your hand at being a proper politician. In short it’s a lot like student journalism.
Tedious meetings with anal bureaucrats, repeated appeasement of chip-shouldered zealots, a constant fight against the insistent, brutal stupidity of the student population at large? If you’re looking for a thankless task, you’ve found it. You care? You get shafted. You try your best? You get shafted. You aim to defend the rights of students against the University, the National Union of Students, the government and everyone else desperately trying to fuck them over? You’re met with irrelevant demands from the motivated minority and general apathy from everyone else. Little wonder few feel it’s worth the effort and those that do are twisted, broken shells of their former selves, wracked with brooding, loathing and an inferiority complex that would put a Nick Hornby character to shame. Hell, it’s almost as though the system’s tailor-made to ensure an exclusive mix of the misguided, the unable the chronically retarded, perpetuating an ever spiralling descent into an abyss of shit and infighting.
If past SRC elections featured a less than sparkling selection of candidates then the more recent ones have been like selecting a winner on Back to Reality. It’s as though the the bottom of the barrel had a basement, a secret basement where mankind’s detritus had been breeding in secret to produce the ultimate in worthless self-aggrandising, semi-educated, jumped-up political fucktards. Even the usual comedy freakshow muppets from the various anarcho-socialist splinter groups won’t touch them, leaving President Ali Ritchie adrift in a sea of preening incompetent tossers like some kind of demented curtain-wearing Michael Caine at Rourke’s Drift. The sad fact is that most students wouldn’t know what the SRC was if they came home and found it balls deep in their mum. If student democracy at Glasgow isn’t dead it’s only because Eric Idle’s knocking the bottom of the cage. It’s over. You might as well fuck off home now. Just make sure you knock before you walk in.
Or not. Because let’s be honest; the SRC may be sulking in the corner, cutting itself up and listening to the Manics but you’re the ones letting it. Yes its deck is currently stacked with insipid meandering bastards whose sole purpose in life is to disenfranchise and alienate you but it was you who let them get there. By not voting at elections. By not standing at elections. By not giving two tugs of a dead dogs cock about what the fuck happens. “Oh but I find it so hard to care, it just makes me feel so apathetic.” You say. Well boo fucking hoo. There’s only one way to break this vicious cycle of apathy and it sure as hell isn’t going to come from the SRC gleefully stroking themselves off about late opening for the library. [or saving revision week, some things never change… 2012 ed.] It’s going to come from you.
Find a popular mate with some neat ideas and get them to run. Round up your friends and stand yourself. Fuck it, I don’t care if you find the candidate with the nicest smile and vote for them but you’d better fucking do something because another year of assholes claiming to speak for everyone on the basis of two hundred votes and you might as well kick the chair away and start swinging now. It’s your University, it’s your SRC so it’s about time you stood up and fought for it, you bastards.