Organisation will condemn UKIP but not ISIS
The Tab reports that:
Hand-wringing delegates at the NUS blocked a vote to show solidarity with Iraqi Kurds and condemn Islamic State militants because they say it’s “Islamophobic”.
The bill called for the Union – which claims to represent UK students – to support unity between Muslims, condemn the bloody terror of ISIS (also known as the Islamic State), and support a boycott on people who fund the militants.
But the motion offended Black Students Officer Malia Bouattia, who said: “We recognise that condemnation of ISIS appears to have become a justification for war and blatant Islamaphobia.
“This rhetoric exacerbates the issue at hand and in essence is a further attack on those we aim to defend.”
In the same meeting the NUS passed a motion to boycott UKIP and email every student in the country on polling day telling them to do the same – effectively meaning they find it easier to condemn UKIP than ISIS.
This represents many of the problems with the way the organisation adopts political stances taken to a self-parodic extreme. My experience of being involved in student politics is that those most active in it tend to see it as a platform for advancing their personal politics.* It gets treated like a debating society or discussion group in which one is free to expound whatever views or hobbyhorses take your fancy. It occurs to too few student politicians that purporting to represent a politically heterogeneous body of students should actually serve as a constraint on your ability to take stances.
A question that seldom gets asked is ‘does a student union really need a stance on this’? A clear majority of students might dislike UKIP but there is nonetheless a plurality of views on the topic; why try and erase that? And why does the NUS need to say that it’s against ISIS? Isn’t that just fatuous?
*There are noble exceptions of course