• Henry Michael

Writer's Block 8 - Politics

Updated: Aug 30, 2018

With student elections round the corner, it’s an important time to consider your stance on current political issues. Is a valuable education worth the rise in tuition fees? And if so, where does this leave UWIC? Opinions are complex, and I’m often misunderstood as being racist, like when I said I like 'most but not all' of Bloc Party, or have trouble trusting the brownies at McDonalds. Nonetheless I still think of myself as a conscientious person, despite the attempts I make to avoid eye contact with charity workers - as along with all my volunteering at the local Breast Enhancement Clinic, I also campaign regularly for the Third World, raising over £4,000 for Zanu PF.

Political discussion is a regular sight in the corridors of Cardiff, as modern thinking has been at the centre of Welsh culture ever since the discovery of the wheel, in 1970. But as time goes by, I’ve found that people are starting to rely more and more on forums like the internet; nothing sparks debate quite like replying ‘LOL’ to a YouTube video about feminism, and you can wreck havoc on people’s dissertations by carefully changing political facts on Wikipedia, then laughing as your friend’s thesis about the Cwmbran Missile Crisis fails to scrape them a decent degree. TV offers many other avenues for delicate social discussion, like Question Time or The Jeremy Kyle Show - but is enough actually getting done? There seems to be an undeniable wealth of debate, but like the Elephant Man wearing a new tuxedo, I can’t help but wonder if it’s failing to tackle the key issues.

Then again, it’s not fair to label all student politics as inconsequential. Indeed, last month’s AGM was describe by the CU website as “the pinnacle of democracy”, and rightly so - as after a powerful 2-hour debate, the Taf finally agreed to stock beef crisps, and the union carpets have now been slightly softened to accommodate people with gout. It’s the same kind of no-holds barred protesting that we saw in London last summer, when students gathered en mass to deliver a message to the coalition, a message that they weren’t going to back down, at least until it drizzled. Likewise 50 students recently locked themselves into the Shandon Lecture Theatre, a stand against fees which might have worked had they not opted for an area without toilets, then had to ask the management if they could go home for a bit because they were all tired of shitting in bins. It was quietly explained that a sit-in protest is one of those concepts which relies on you staying in the same place, like jail, or being in a car - and though this often proves inconvenient, it wouldn’t have had quite the same impact if Ghandi had nipped out for a pack of minstrels during the middle of his hunger strikes.

Still, I can’t fault people for demonstrating their beliefs. I’m an altogether more lazy entity, the sort of person who would have harbored Anne Frank, but only because I couldn’t be arsed to go up and turf her out – and though I won’t be out there with you, throwing bottles of jizz at Nick Clegg, I will probably still winge when my kids have to pay extra fees. I’ll just have the extra £6 I saved on banners.

Letters to the Editor – This week: Politics and you

Everyone keeps talking about this Welsh Referendum. One vote never makes a difference, so what’s the point in taking part?

I used to think the same, until a mistake in tactical voting saw Al-Qaeda win the Reading local election - executing the mayor of Wokingham, then failing to deliver on several basic promises laid out in their manifesto, like letting women drive cars, or not bombing Swindon. This is why I get annoyed when people don’t vote properly, because you end up with the political equivalent of Joe McElderry; a set of laws that everyone likes to start with, but turn out to be so bland that they’re almost entirely forgotten about by Christmas.

It’s quite cold where I live and this “global warming” idea sounds like a great solution. How can I increase my carbon footprint?

It’s the small changes that really make a big difference. Try leaving all your appliances on standby, or reducing your need for light-bulbs by setting fire to large piles of plastic around the house. Make good use of public transport, like driving your own bus - and Virgin Atlantic have recently introduced a “carbon unfriendly” option onto their website, where the plane makes 8 trips back and forth between airports before crash-landing into a wind turbine.

My flatmates say that illegal downloading is killing the TV industry. Are people losing their jobs?

Unfortunately so. My dad used to be a high-flying screenwriter, but when the industry collapsed he couldn’t even get basic work as Michael Barrymore’s pool boy, and had to take on a degrading part-time job that no-one else wanted, as head of the Welsh National Assembly. Since then he’s resorted to hanging around service stations, bumming lorry drivers for loose change - and though he smiles whenever me and my sister look over, you can tell that he’s a broken man, it’s in his eyes. Still, as long as you’re watching LOST for free... that’s the important thing. We’ll find something to eat.

Vote Henry Burton for Student President

“None of it was proven in court”

About Me:

I’ve always wanted to run for student president, ever since I was 21. Chatting to students, improving services - but there are plenty of good parts as well, like having your own placards, or spending half the expense account on whores. I’ve actually applied for this role every year, but keep getting beaten by some dickhead called “RON”, so I’ve had to make several improvements to my manifesto:

My Pledge:

- To make several unreasonable pledges about things the SU President couldn’t possibly control - To rotate the direction of Cardiff to face constantly towards the sun - To reduce tuition fees to just 40p, paid for by the unceremonious sacking of around 95% of Union staff - To have a decent crack at healing lepers

In Addition:

I’d also like to add that I’m extremely diverse and caring, as shown by the above photo. Honestly, I didn’t even know the cameras were there. I’ve also got one of me visiting some sick children at the local hospital, but apparently it’s going to take a few more days to photoshop out all the dry vomit on my collar, so you’ll have to wait on that one.

Cheers yeah?

Vote now at your local SU election booth.