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No EGM for Bush Paper

The comments below are unmoderated submissions by Live! readers. The Editor accepts no liability for their content, nor for any offence caused by them. Any complaints should be directed to the Editor.
Nov 17 2003 13:46

ICU President, Mustafa Arif, has ruled that the call for an Emergency General Meeting made by 100 members of ICU is unconstitutional.

Click Here for the Full Article

1. Ersi   
Nov 17 2003 14:50

I thought the level of political discussion at imperial was mature enough to know that not to take any action, is an action itself. I feel really sorry to be a member of such an undemocratic student union, where students will to discuss political matters is ignored. Since when did our union become so bureaucratic? (maybe it always was?) How does this comply with serving students interests? Maybe, just maybe, bombing innocent people and introducing top-up fees are not two separate matters, dear union council. Maybe we need a union that discusses politics openly and does not cover reactionary ideas under the veil of "no comment" or ?it is not our business to discuss this or that?. The union just said no to 100 people asking an EMG. My name was not on the petition, but will be on the next one.

2. n/a   
Nov 17 2003 15:41

I was never actively involved with ICU. So I never noticed how bureaucratic an institution it is. Quite honestly, reading some of the articles on Live! one gets the impression it is about as exciting as the average EU parliament session - dry as hell, and so far up its own backside it's a parody of real-life politics!

Anyway. While I used to defend ICU's non-political stance and believe in it, I have to admit that occasionally, a political statement can be a good thing (eg in 1938 it would be nice to be politically opposed to the German government, and consequently in 2003, opposed to the US gov't. Oops. Godwin's Law... darn! Who cares anyway?)

Still, it's neither a surprise nor a tragedy. If ICU is truly apolitical and neutral (like Switzerland) then that's fine. I must confess, however, I am delighted that 100 IC students actually could be found to believe in something enough to add a signature - seemingly the first time since the abolishment of the Union curry that this large a number have gotten off their backsides to make a statement!

Anyway, I'll be travelling down to London at significant expense of time and money just to take part in the demonstration. Hope to see some IC banners! Would be delighted to see a bigger protest presence than at the February March!

Nov 17 2003 16:06

Anyone interested in protesting or getting involved with stuff over the next few days:

  • Tuesday 18th: PEOPLE'S EGM @ 6PM in SAF/BMS...the undemocratic union has refused to discuss this issue so we will do it ourselves.
  • Wednesday 19th: meet on Queen's Lawn at 12 for a party/rally with speeches from many different perspectives
  • Thursday 20th: meet at 11 (and again at 1) to march round Imperial to build up no.s before marching to join the national demo. as a united IC front
Nov 17 2003 16:10

It seems (from talking to the people on the walkway today) that some people believe that not discussing George Bush in union council, means they are being forbidden from discussing George Bush, or that George Bush has no effect on students at IC. I'd like to point out that what has actually happened is that the union has decided not to have a policy on Bush, and will not discuss such a policy (in either direction). This in no way means that students can't organise an event to discuss Bush, and try to convince people to protest.

And in response to Ersi's first line - I'd just like to express my deep concerns that the World Wildlife Fund still haven't expressed an opinion on tuition fees. Damn them and their action-like inaction.

5. Ersi   
Nov 17 2003 17:11

I can guess only one thing dear banana. That if environmental groups had questioned the tuition fees issue, then we definitely wouldn't be having them. The reason is simple: if we had even such groups taking action for something that is seemingly irrelevant to their purposes, it would mean united strong opposition from larger parts of the society, and a good chance to winning. Tuition fees is by the way an issue that does not concerns the academic society alone. It will concern you as a parent tomorrow. It concerns today?s schoolchildren.

By the way my comment was not ironic, I expect the same respect. I prefer that than staring expressing my deep concerns about what other people believe...

6. amram   
Nov 17 2003 17:46

Ersi your hypocrisy is again laughable. "bombing innocent people"

What about Saddam did you propose a motion to condemn his murder of millions of people- or is it OK as one muslim is allowed to kill as many other muslim as he likes but the US (or any other infidel) is not allowed to defend themselves- even if a couple of thousand Iraqi civillians died, it's war, it happens. I notic that you haven't put up a motion to condemn Osama bin Laden, or a motion to condemn the murderers who bombed the 2 synagogues in Istanbul, or any one of the Arab dictators (22 at my last count). The only person you condemn is Bush...

Oh and FYI why don't you condemn the Greek occupation of Cyprus- an integral part of Turkey...

7. ant   
Nov 17 2003 18:12

Personally i am quite glad at this decision, the union is already full of long meetings and papers and i would much rather see union time being used to force college to account over more relevant issues, for example cycle storage provisions.

Nov 17 2003 18:15

If ICU did call the EGM or did pass the policy to become Anti-Bush, they would simply open the door to more of these waste-of-time motions. Let me come up with a few of mine:











I am sure the list can go on with your imagaination. With some "Tibbitan Logic", you will be able to argue they directly affect students.

I am amazed with their persistence!! Well, good luck tmr!!

9. amram   
Nov 17 2003 18:18

Madonna would affect Students at Unis such as Thames Valley where one can take "madonna studies". It may be of interst to note that other such "universities" have dozens of such anti- Bush motions...

Nov 17 2003 18:35

I actually agree with Amram (up to a point).

The world has a lot more to worry about than a _Democratically Elected_ leader in the glare of the world media.

Nov 17 2003 19:20

Good god. Hamish Common wrote in 6 pages what I would have used two words for:

"F*** Off".

12. Seb   
Nov 18 2003 00:47

I agree with the reasoning, and I can see why perhaps one should put anal rentivity in front of political expidience here, but dear god what were they thinking?

When we have 100 members asking for an EGM, surely we could have found a way to at least let them have their say and feel that they had had their day in court before ignoring it.

ICU probably needs some kind of public forum for these kind of issues.

Nov 18 2003 09:43

Thank heavens someone in the Union has seen sense. Giving neither vocal or tacit approval or disapproval is the right way to go under an apolitical stance.

Some folks here are against the visit, others are for the visit. For the Union to have taken a stance would have done nothing but cause even worse division, and may have done longer term damage to the aims of the Union than the few short-sighted extremists seeking a position paper could possibly foresee.

14. Sam   
Nov 18 2003 11:04


That is certainly a comprehensive opinion... Do barristers charge by the word?

Nov 18 2003 11:43

Well, something must be a policy...

In this case, in not discussing or making a policy on Bush, Council were enacting a policy to remain apolitical. (Yes, I know it is now a legal requirement, but with the lack of time limit on policies that can be referred back, there must be something pre-dating 1994 or any predecessors... otherwise, put a paper to council suggesting they adopt a policy opposing that section of the Education Act- which, of course, directly affects students, and so had not protected itself from any "political" campaigning by the Students Unions to which it refers, so the paper would be discussed).

This would allow a discussion in which ICU could defend (and I believe they could defend it, no problem) their generally apolitical stance, which is what needs to happen.

I think a suitable (paraphrased) quote would be that whilst I don't agree with the issue being raised, they have the right to raise it and get an answer...

But I would also suggest that the Union produces a couple of "FAQ" sheets, so for issues like this that drag the Union into the same arguments year after year (a very similar thing happened in Wye last year, the PGA held an open meeting in the week before the Stop the War demonstration and a couple of people had suggested calling No Confidence on the Committee over their refual to agree that protesters could attend in the PGA's name), as people are turned down at Council (or even as the papers are put forward) they can be handed an explanation to read... then, of course, if they still do not agree, what is stated on that sheet will refer to "policy", which they could ask to be discussed.

Nov 18 2003 11:54

Thank f**k for that.

[Cheers to the member of ICU staff I bumped into in the bar yesterday who tipped me off about this ;) ]

17. Ersi   
Nov 18 2003 15:13

Amram asks the following. Why don't I condemn Saddam or other kind of Arab dictators and I only condemn Bush. I suppose I am doing so since Bush or the like in the past were the ones to finance Saddam and provide the chemicals that killed about a million people during the war with Iran. As for the synagogues in Insatnbul, I have no knowledge of the names, if you do give them to police. The last bit, about Cyprus, I honestly hope you were just joking. The numerous UN resolutions about the invasion and occupation of Cyprus- an independent country- by the turkish military machine are not a joke and you owe an apology to a big community of this college. Just as a question, is the turkish police state within the ones you call supressive in the region? And maybe another one, what exactly do you stand for?

18. amram   
Nov 18 2003 16:15

To Ersi, Calespera.

The Americans did not supply Saddam with any Chemical weapons. The French and the Russians- you know the ones that were going to veto the 14th resolution at the UN- did. Any weapons sold to any Arab states is always a mistake, I agree.

As to the names of the bombers well how about Yasser or Mohammed or Abdel celb? The exact names make little difference. The matter needs to be settled by Governmnets and not just the police.

I owe no such apology to any "communtiy". I simply stated an educated opinion. You on the other owe an apology to the British people.You seem to find no ethical qualms in using our resources and great investment in universities (no there are no Great universities in Hellas- because you essentially remain a third world country propped up by EU cash) while insulting our prime minister and armed forces who valiantly dealt with the dictator in Iraq.

As to Cyprus, while I am no expert I do hold that the entire Island belongs to Turkey. Before the British invaded it was an integral part of the Ottoman empire.

The division of the Island occured because Greek fascist and religious fanatics wished to create an "enosis" or one super state with Greece. They wished to kick the Turks out. They started a war and lost. If anyone has been to Cyprus they will see that despite the sanctions the Turkish half remains a far more cultured region. Perhaps it is because the Turks, the real descedants of Ancient Greek philosphers (according to the Short legged and hairy theory of Anthropologists) rejected the backward, racist and primitive ideas of Byzantium which the Greeks hold true to this day.Perhaps you should read more socrates and less Thoedrakis...

Nov 18 2003 16:18


I meant Theodrakis.

Nov 18 2003 16:47

i agree with armam. what does ersi think he is talking about insulting the turkish community in such a way. turkey is one of the most developed states in the whole world. reding and sub-division were invented in turkey. this thread is about bush and the union. please don't try and hijack it with ransdom turkey bashing - and if you must at least get your facts straight,

21. Sam   
Nov 18 2003 16:49


I believe Voltaire got there first with the paraphrasing, and perhaps sums up what you mean quite eloquently:

"I do not agree with a word you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it."

Not a bad principle anyway, I certainly agree that these guys have a right to say something, and I wouldn't want anyone to stop them, however I don't think the Union is the right forum. Imperial College Union is not a massive debating society, ala Oxford. Philosophical debates about which argument is right should perhaps be confined to the Debating Society - maybe someone would like to propose having a "Bush: For Better or For Worse" debate. Imperial College Union traditionally only debates the good of the Student population, and despite what some leaflets would have you believe, Bush has not attacked Students as Students. (Students as homosexuals, Students as Iraqis, etc. etc. I haven't got my copy of the leaflet to hand...)

Nov 18 2003 17:24

The rephrasing from Voltaire was deliberate.

What I was suggesting is that rather than pushing for the original paper to be discussed, which (both through the constitution, and legally in its own right) cannot be discussed through the Union channels that have been tried, what is needed is a proper discussion as to why it cannot be discussed.

Hence the EGM should not have been to discuss the Stop Bush paper, but to discuss Council's refusal to discuss the Stop Bush paper, an issue which does (at whatever point in the past) amount to Union policy.

Hence the Union's unobjecting compliance to said sections of Education Act 1994 could be discussed, and their arguments given, in Council: it is a big and recurring issue, and as such worthy at least of the time to discuss one paper, then (as I suggested) noted, and anyone trying to put a political motion forward in future could be referred back to that.

Otherwise every time a pressing political issue comes up, people will confuse "apolitical" with "undemocratic": they just need to be shown that the apolitical stance is the result of democratic decision-making.

23. n/a   
Nov 18 2003 17:28

Sam: Well, you could even argue he benefits the student population. The aeronautical industry is in bad trouble. The only people hiring en masse are missile makers, and that's because he is happy to bomb a few nations, scrap a few treaties, do star wars and pour money into the military. So for aeronautical engineering graduates, it's either PhD or MBDA at the moment... ;-)

Bush affects student in another way too: He affects us, in 20 or 30 years, when we might have children. They will then look at us and ask "Daddy, why did no one stop the concentration camp in Guatanamo Bay? How did they let it just happen?", and right there we will be affected, because shame and guilt will wash over us, unless we protest now....

Nov 18 2003 23:29

Hmmm... I didn't think he was going to publish it. Well, there we go.

25. Seb   
Nov 19 2003 00:01

Actually, not only did America sell chemical weapons (dual use plants at the height of the Iran Iraq war when Iraq's survival looked depndent on non conventional weapons), Britain sold them plants thereafter.

26. Seb   
Nov 19 2003 00:07


There is no policy to be "apolitical". Such a policy would be pointless: Any policy would supercede it. I.e. "we have a policy to be apolitical" would be irrelevant as Council could always decide to ignore it and pass a "political" policy, which would have precedence over the previous policy, *if it so chose*.

Thus Council only has a considered oppinion and tradition of not hearing political motions that do not directly effect students in their place of work (a concept which is difficult to convey and seems to not yet have been understood by Mr Smith judging from his leaflets).

However, I think perhaps ICU could benefit from a philosophical debating forum with more "offocial" clout than the debating society, though with no campaigning remit and with no right to pretend to be anything more than the oppinion of those present at each meeting, in order to publicise and air such issues. But I suspect it would not satisfy the "politians" amoung the student body, who seem to want council to pass a motion purely for reasons of (self?) importance.

27. Seb   
Nov 19 2003 00:13

No one is stopping anyone protesting. But frankly, i reckon the only hope of establishing a due process for the detainees at Camp X-Ray is by sweet talking Bush into giving the Brit nationals a proper trial. That will give ammunition to american critics of this gross abuse of executive powers and hopefuly cause a revision of such policies before they become second nature to an overpowerful American executive claiming special powers for the duration of a "war" which can never be declared won.

That is precisely what is in this state visit for Blair. While Bush is over here collecting the stock footage of him with her maj for his re-election videos, Blair gets to show he's not a poodle and finally extract the concessions, which it sounds like he has already won (reading between the lines) on Camp X-ray and possibly the steel tarrifs, in front of the cameras and on British soil. Of course, this will make Bush look magnaminous, and will be some nice extra footage for the campaign trail... "hey guys, see, I'm a multilateralist, internationalist, interconinental nice guy".

28. amram   
Nov 19 2003 00:21

Actually Donald Rumsfeld denied the reports(regarding selling weapons to Iraq) you are referring to on a recent Fox interview.

But of course it is irrelevant anyway. It is always a mistake to sell weapons to the Arabs. But since the Arabs now have them, if they (as Saddam and the terrorists) do threaten the West and the US in particular. The US has every right to defend itself. But taking the view that the US and UK did sell the Iraqis chemical weapons - then that spoils the Saddam apologists argument that Saddam didn't have any chemical weapons.

Also to admit that mistakes were made in the past does not excuse compounding the mistake and making further dangerous moves like appeasing Islamo-fascists (did anyone see HardTalk tonight?) and certainly does not excuse inaction when faced with such a threat.

The problem about debating society is that it has mediocre talks attended by few people on subjects that are rarely intersting. I am still keen on the idea - of a current affairs thread on Live! Maybe someone would like to debate the merits of the new shadow cabinet.

Oh, and Hamish was right. enough said.

29. Sam   
Nov 19 2003 07:09

Ok, i don't think everyone has quite got the "students as students" idea...

Bush affect Students as people in many ways. However he has not affected students by the very fact that they are students. To take n/a's examples above, the first is Students as JobSeekers, the second is Students as Parents.

The only things that politically affect students by and of the fact that they are students are policies that specifically legislate or provide exceptions for Students. Hence Tuition Fees, Top-Up fees, London Transport Discounts... These all affect Students as Students.

Bush however, does not.

30. Seb   
Nov 19 2003 12:48

Donald Rumsfeld has lied numerous times before. The fact that numerous of his (then) underlings have publically stated that he was dispatched by Reagan to provide military aid, and happened to also sell an (allbeit civilian) chemcial plant along with artillery and so forth seems to provide dear Rummy with all the plausible deniability he needs (Yes, we sold him a harmless chemical plant to make industrial chemicals. We never knew he would make mustard gas). But please excuse me if I don't belive a word of it. Without chemical weapons, Iraq would have lost to Iran. That was unacceptable to America. Iraq's chemical weapons programme suddenly improves massively... what a fortuitous co-incidence.

However, as you say, that is no argument for not disarming him now.

The spoiler is that he had the potential to make chemical weapons, and had played silly buggers too long, and the credibility of non-proliferation was on the line. Of course our illustrious leaders decided the public was too stupid for this and made up various rubish about deployable CB weapons and links with al-quaeda as well as the US/UK's alterior motives (excuse to get out of Saudi Arabia, hatred of Saddam, finish what daddy started, and tony's a liberal interventionist who doesn't see the problem with going to war against "bad peole" whenever he can). The failure to do anything about north korea has been far worse for non-proliferation than Saddam though. It was foolish of the bush administration to mix terrorism, non proliferation and rogue states into one problem.

New Shaddow cabinet? Why oh why oh why did they put David Davis as home secretary. Blunket talks as though he is further right than Howard was when he was home secretary, thus eliminating an entire line of attack on him. But then they picked the nuttiest right winger they have going an put him as home secretary, and he starts talking about re-instating the death penalty. Madness.

Nov 19 2003 13:16

With regards to the discussion and the FAQ, what's wrong with looking at the constitution. Its online after all.

32. Seb   
Nov 19 2003 15:24

The constitution is long, boring and impenitrable to many people.

Someone once likend the constiution and regs as a piece of computer code which needs comments.

33. Nick   
Nov 19 2003 15:25

Trot Dictionary

1.Solidaritay - The main alternative to attacking Iraq was to build

Solid-ar-itay. Basically the idea was that Saddam would give up if only

he knew that Students didn't like him.

2. Demonstration - Much the same as building Solid-ar-itay but another

great way of saying it.

3. Occupation - Another way of building Solid-ar-itay. Trots support all

Ocu-pie-shuns except the Israeli Ocu-pie-shun of Palestine (those nasty

Jews sorry Zionists get everywhere). Ocu-pie-shuns tend not to work

when the venue is booked in advance.

4. Revolution: - the continuous rotation of the same old irrelevant

left-wing arguments.

5. Hereditary - Never admit that your Dad's a Her-ed-er-tory Peer.

Always pretend to have once met a worker.

6. Reclaim - a verb never qualified so as to be a great rhetorical

device without a need to explain from whom whatever is being reclaimed.

7. Galloway - something which should have been sent away to the gallows.

8. Socialist worker - a socialist who has never worked

9. Revolutionary socialist - a socialist who has never caused a


34. Ersi   
Nov 19 2003 17:25

I would only like to add a final comment on two things.

Arguments of the "Sun" type you are a foreign student and should not be critising the british prime minister are clearly racist. This nation is better than the other and the like arguments are only producing artificial divisions between people. What is important is that having tuition fees here will at the end affect the educational systems in the rest of Europe as well, no-one is isolated from the other. By the way, I don't claim to represent but my personal opinion and do not carry any nation flag on my shoulders.

As for the interpretation of historical events, I believe a review of some of the UN resolutions on both the cases of Cyprus and Palestine will clarify a lot of points as to how we got here.

PS: Theodorakis was a composer and personally I do not know how to read music. As for Socrates, he never wrote anything, he only lectured.

35. a,mram   
Nov 19 2003 19:45

Ersi, top marks for taking a few days to find out who Theodrakis is- he is unfortunately still alive.Did you use Google or did you phone mummy and ask her?

While it is true that he is (albeit a third rate) composer he is also a prime example of a Greek antisemite . His comments last week in front of the Greek parliament (it seems that you are also ignorant of your own nations' affairs) bear testament to this. Now to the tuition fees argument. It should be noted , from anyone who has a smidgen of knowledge of Economics, that Universitied require years of investment in both capital (buildings, lab equipmentetc) and years of investment in developing a culture of learning and science that allows for the development of academics and teachers. Therefore even if Greek students were to pay the full fees they still would not be paying enough in terms of the years of British investment etc. in this Great institution. The least you can do is not side with our enemies and demonise (in an extreme way) our elected leaders. What is perhaps more worrying is that students from OTHER 3rd world countries seek to gain expertise here only to return to their own states to put that knowledge to evil use- did you know that Dr. Death (as she was called after Halabja) -Saddam's top Chem weapons expert- studied at IC for a while in the 1970's...

Ersi your only crime is your foolishness- oh and your androgenous name...

As to UN resolutions, and of course you do mean Chapter 6 Security council Resolutions and General Assembly Resolutions, well it is hardly surprising when you have abody that is dominated by totalitarian regimes- including 56 muslim dictatorships- and was also dominated by Communist Russia for about 40 years.

As to Cyprus- I note that you did not deny my assertions on "enosis". As to "palestine" there is no such place- but for more insight see other thread...

I read the Telegraph.

36. amram   
Nov 19 2003 19:48

PS- I suggest you read Plato "Republic" for some Socrates!

Nov 19 2003 23:12

Esri, surely this country must be better than yours, otherwise why are you here studying?

38. n/a   
Nov 19 2003 23:40

Andrew Tierney: Surely, you must be joking?

"This country is better than yours" is exactly the kind of nationalistic hogwash that should have (but hasn't) died out a long time ago....

There is no such thing as a "better country". Each country may have certain advantages (say, climate. Well, not the UK then.) or disadvantages (say, having a moron/immoral person/jerk as leader. eg UK or US or France or many more). The former is permanent, the latter (hopefully) temporary.

But "this country is better" is just as dumb as saying "this colour is better".

39. amram   
Nov 19 2003 23:55

Andrew you need to be more exact. You should say that this country is more advanced, more enlightened, more educated, more meritocratic etc than Ersi's homeland. Just like I should say that you are more intelligent, more well informed and utterly more pleasent than miss n/a. To say that you were better than her would be inaccurate...

Nov 20 2003 00:17

as a foreign student i agree with what amram did write. you can not say better but you can say that it is for instance more modern in a certain way. for an example i am from germany in bavaria and you can not say that germany is poorer than england but you can say that england is better for art enthusiasts than bavaria for instance and this does not mean that yoyu are a racist. it dpends on the intent you say womthing and mit what motive you have.

Nov 20 2003 06:58

Erm, n/a..........I think your former and latter are the wrong way around. You could argue that the climate is constantly changing and with global warmer ya da ya da ya da.Also A large chunk of people are never happy with their politicians and will only ever criticise them, regardless.

Nov 20 2003 10:35

n/a: I'm not joking. Why do so many foreign students come here? Surely the UK must be better than their own countries in some way, otherwise why go to the expense and trouble to come here?

Nov 20 2003 14:18

i think so many people come here because theeducation system is better, but that doesnt mean that english people are better than the ngamewe tribe or any of the other tribes. there are simply better facilities here than in ngabauta or patamama.

44. n/a   
Nov 21 2003 16:09

amram: So you're not just nationalistic, racist, genocidal and fascist, but a sexist too? If someone disagrees with you they have to be a girl?

Well, I'm a straight guy, incidentally...

As to the "our country is better" thing: I think I made my point. Anyone strutting about with nationalism in their brain is not particularly tolerant or bright, in my opinion. The one thing to be said in favour of the UK is that some of its universities are world class (seconday education, however, is a mess, from what I gather, and anyone coming here for that would be a fool) - so it's not the country that people choose, but the specific university in many (if not most) cases.

45. amram   
Nov 21 2003 19:02

n/a you're just a big girl's blouse...

Nov 22 2003 10:03

Ah, personal abuse. The final resort, surely...

Nov 22 2003 16:50

Abuse...on Live! can't be...

Nov 22 2003 18:38

people should only have these discussions if they can do so without insulting others. arman is entitled to his opinions an doesn't have to besubjected to personally being called things like genocidal and sexist. we may not all agree with each other but we should at least be civilised about it

Nov 23 2003 17:05

n/a said: I think I made my point. Anyone strutting about with nationalism in their brain is not particularly tolerant or bright, in my opinion.

I really do not see the problem with having a sense of national pride. I will be the first to admit that I am a very intolerent person, in most respects.

But people who drop down to just insulting people because they are losing an argument, well, that's just funny.

Nov 23 2003 20:37

i agree with andrew. there isnothing wrong with being nationalist. it's like supporting a football team. back home i support a football team and a cricket team. it doesnt mean i am racist against the other teams. it just means i am proud of mine. of course, in sports there are some hooligans but supporting a team like i suuport a football team and a cricket team back home doesnt mean you are a hooligan.

thank you for reading my post,


hamsa xxxxx

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