Ah student politics, where everything’s made up and the points don’t matter. Until you insult the dead to impress your friends and someone picks up the phone the the Herald Sun. I think the most bizarre thing to emerge from yesterday’s motion celebrating the death of Margaret Thatcher, passed by the University of Melbourne Student Union, is the surprise that seems to exist among those who voted for it that there might be some kind of back-lash against insulting the memory of an extremely elderly stroke victim with two living children and several grandchildren. They’ve since tried to have their names taken out of reports and none of them have spoken to the media. But surely the point of vowing to metaphorically dance on the grave of Britian’s first female Prime Minister was to gain some form of media attention, presumably because you feel that Andrew Bolt has been having a hard time sounding morally superior recently and you thought he deserved a freebee. And it’s all well and good to say that the Herald Sun are overreacting, but apart from the fact that for once that isn’t true, what the fuck did you expect? You thought Mr. Bolt was going to roll out of bed this morning, read some texts and laugh it off as ‘boys being boys’? How could you possibly do this and not see a monumental, multi-media cluster-fuck in your very near future?
Let’s be honest, as students, we don’t expect much from student unions. At Monash I’d be happy if I heard one thing from the union that wasn’t about the ongoing war with a catastrophically unprofitable vegan restaurant or how they were unable to secure any kind of reduction in costs, in any area, on anything. But it seems to me that the University of Melbourne Student Union is perhaps the finest example of what can be achieved when twelve people decide to put aside their political differences and just do their level best to make young, politically interested people look like twats.
Let’s put aside for a moment what they actually did, except to note that it was about as far from the purview of a university student union as it is possible to imagine. As I mentioned before, I don’t go to school at Melbourne, but I know a few people who do, and from time to time I’ve heard them mention that it’s not a perfect utopia of educational excellence in which the needs of every last student are perfectly fulfilled. Given that sub-par state of affairs with regard to the ultimate goal of any student union, what makes this band of knuckle-dragging, mouth-breathing morons think that they should be doing anything other than tying to improve the university for the students? Anyone would think that they had done literally all there is to do, not only as politicians but as people; climbed every mountain, forwarded every stream, and somehow needed to fill five minutes at the end of a meeting, at which point someone said ‘well I guess we’ve never taken a cheap-shot at a dead person…’.
There are many reasons to dislike Mrs. Thatcher, just as there are many reasons to like or dislike any political figure, but, as has been pointed out at length by the University of Melbourne Liberal Club, she was a democratically elected leader who was loved by a great number of her people, and deserves all the respect due to a person of that station. Or at the very least the respect any decent human being would afford the death of an elderly woman who has left behind a large grieving family. Student politicians are fond of lamenting the inability of professional politicians to put aside their petty squabbles and do what is right for the nation, but our leaders transgressions on this front pale in comparison to a union that seems incapable of acknowledging that political figures are deserving of basic human dignity.