So a political blogger had been venting at the "hard left" and specifically me on the The Huffington Post. Oddly enough the author seems to think that "no single individual represents the utter madness of the hard left than Edd Bauer.".
Well I suppose we all need a bogey man, even if it is a 23-year-old People and Planet member in a fair trade jumper. If Tom ever met me he'd probably find me a great disappointment. As a student representative I have advocated nothing more than campaigning to bring about the return of a free education system that allowed many of our parents to be the first in their families to go to university.
Tom doesn't know me or what he is writing about. He incorrectly asserts that the campaign to have me re-instated led to an attempt to remove the president who suspended me. Actually a petition requesting a vote of no confidence in the president was signed by the required number of elected student union councillors after he was revealed to be a chief prosecution witness in a university disciplinary against a student for taking part in a peaceful sit in, and was entirely unrelated to my suspension.
He seems to think that because I dared to publicly disagree with an undemocratic three month long suspension for an arrest that led to a not guilty verdict that I am a dangerous member of the "hard left" as he puts it.
If this makes me a dangerous member of the "hard left" then are not then the 13 Labour, Liberal and Conservative MPs who signed an early motion condemning my suspension equally dangerous members of the hard left? It seems that what Tom actually hates is any real attempt to change the status quo. He doesn't like action that shifts debate or galvanises opposition, or anything that breaks into that comfortable world of amiable political chitter chat between an elite of aspirational student politicos.
What Tom is really arguing for is the return of the self-defeating toadying to our universities as advocated by the outgoing cohort of student politicians. My university is pushing vicious cuts closing field leading departments, cutting everyones wages except the bosses, sacking 200 staff. Our Vice Chancellor since coming into office in 2009 has been a leading lobbyist and spokesperson for higher tuition fees and privatising the entire education sector. I have helped organise a student campaign against David Eastwood for his actions; in response he has "banned protest on campus". Tom is living in a deluded world where he thinks determined, ambitious businessmen and politicians like Eastwood are going to won round to a position of supporting a public education system for all rather than just an elite by polite chitter chatter over dinner.
If we are actually serious about winning long term we need a strong articulation of the alternatives to privatisation, tuition fees and cuts. This articulation must take place in the public domain and yes to achieve this we will have to criticise our opponents and yes we will require action and not just words. The suffragettes didn't just ask Lloyd George round for dinner to give him a good talking too; the Chartists did not just send a strongly worded letter. They made their reforms a reality by using action, consistently and constantly to put their issues to the front of public debate.
What Tom doesn't seem to realise is that the privatisation agenda is now progressing so far and so fast, that ordinary people and students feel compelled to stand up and fight. What Tom is seeing are not the actions of the "hard left" as he sees it but rather the actions of the hard pressed. The sooner people like him wake up and realise the scope of the threat to the generations that follow us and take a stand the better. Polite debate doesn't scare entrenched politicians or city bankers who bankroll them on one bit, our fight for change might displease some but it is worth it if we don't want another lost generation.
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