The national press have recently been obsessing with the election of Louis Trup to the presidency of Oxford University's student union. 'Tis the season for desperate journos to (as usual) label Oxford students as immature, infantile and basically really childish for electing a 'joke candidate.' As the Daily Mail headline ran, 'did they leave their brains at home?'
Rather than actually ask Louis to comment, these sensationalist outlets of media trash lampooned him as a 'joke.' I understand that most people will know that the Mail is the Mail. It's really not something to be taken seriously. Louis Trup, however, definitely should be.
Trup is far from being a joke. Sure he's a hilarious guy. After all, writing a manifesto - sorry I meant 'personifesto' - completely in crayon was absolute genius. We cannot deny that LJ Trup is good fun - but he's no joke. As his campaign slogan ran, 'behind the fun is a serious message.' The real jokes are the student politicians which the Mail thinks we should take seriously.
It's about time we recognise the totalitarian streak to the political correctness and faux moralism of playhouse politicians in the NUS. For our SU representatives, students are basically children who need to be told the difference between 'right' and 'wrong.' The patronising nature of our NUS delegates is quite disturbing. They feel a moral duty to censor campuses in case our minds might be 'polluted' by the lyrics of a song which might be played on the radio. We're not worthy enough to formulate our own opinions. I am not mature enough to decide whether the Sun is an appropriate newspaper to read - so my Student Union makes that decision for me by banning it completely from my Common Room. Aberystwyth did the same thing with theExpress.
Student politicians are complete jokes. Rather than fight racism on campus, fighting for 'gender neutral' toilets is the big issue. Rather than, I dunno, actually fight for the interests of students, the NUS thinks it can bring peace to the Middle East. Move aside John Kerry, Sheffield Student Union can get the job done.
A friend of mine at York University recently resigned from his SU's disabled students network, out of frustration that it seemed more focused on passing resolutions against risqué party costumes than actually acting within its remit; i.e. defending the rights of students with disabilities. 'I can no longer be a part of this,' he told me. 'It's become a complete joke.'
And then there's religion. Gosh that's such a terrible thing. You can't believe in God. You can't have 'conservative' opinions on contraception or gay marriage. Otherwise you're an extremist. You're a homophobe. You live in the Middle Ages. I personally hold very liberal positions on both issues. But I understand where those who hold different opinions are coming from; and indeed respect them for it. Why can't someone hold an alternative position? What student unions basically stand for is McCarthyism under the guise of buzzwords like 'equality.'
Introducing LJ Trup. The monorail, world peace, the 'personifesto,' eliminating fifth week, the creation of SocSoc with Abbas Kazmi as President. It's brilliant satire of all the crap which student politicians stand for. The complete waste of money on ridiculous projects, their unachievable demands, their gross centralisation of power, their obsession with global politics, their unaccountability (and secretive cliques), their bizarre reverence for extreme political correctness.
Finally, someone challenges this rubbish. Someone decides to stand for real change - not a safe Labour seat in twenty years. Behind all the fun is a serious message!
As an aside, I can't stress enough that Louis Trup is one of the nicest guys I know. He's truly a selfless and caring person. As a shy fresher last year (looking kind of homesick), Louis came up to me, we chatted a bit, he cheered me up - and he even bought me a pint. He really cares about people. He's worked for mental health charities since the age of 14. He genuinely wants to help.
I'm really proud to know Louis - and I'm even more proud to be part of a student community that has united behind his message. Hopefully, others will follow in his example.