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This article is an opinion piece and should be taken as such. It is highly likely to be biased, but either the article itself or the ensuing discussion will probably be entertaining. Live! takes no editorial line on opinion pieces.

Hacked-Off: ?Fascist? Council annexes Reynolds

Nov 03 2003 10:36
Hacked Off
A possibly regular sketch that aims to wring humour out of the barrel of laughs that is ICU Council.
George Bush - Fascist?

The second Council of the year saw the first implementation of the 'rotating' Council meetings, a policy passed last year that the Union could enhance student democracy by moving Council outside the confines of Beit Towers and into the far flung campuses. And so the divisions of South Kensington Hacks marched into the Reynolds building on the pretext that Medics students are, in fact, part of the great nation of IC students, and occupied it.

The meeting, predictably, started late. Navigational problems led to the delay of the President and Council Chair, who arrived to find the meeting room surprisingly empty. Sabbs and other council delegates had, predictably, taken straight to the bar for their customary pre-council anaesthetic. However, drink was banned from the carpeted meeting room and a Beer Hall Putsch ensured, with the beverage clasping rebels refusing to join the meeting until they had finished their drinks or demanding a relocation to the bar. The comparative dryness of the ensuring meeting might be attributed to the comparative dryness of the delegates as well as to the Teutonic efficiency of the Chair and this years Sabbatical officers, with papers tabled and passed with the smooth action of a well oiled machine gun.

That is, until the agenda came to Paper I , a diatribe against the George Bush and his state visit to London, demanding that the Union take an 'official anti Bush stance'. Instantly, DPFS (Deputy President for Fascists against Socialists?) Mike Moate tabled a procedural motion not to consider the paper as it would breach the Unions apolitical stance. Of course, with the next motion being to lobby the government over visa charges , one might level the charge that this is more hypocritical than apolitical.

A quick vote saw the paper dismissed. The proposer, Colin Smith, was understandably annoyed. Angry words ensured accusing Council of a right wing bias. Imperial? Right wing? Surely not! The Chair called for order (that most familiar of fascistic traits) with little effect, and then asked the angry young man to leave. 'Guards, take him avay!', but sadly no guards appeared and Colin continued. The erudite Mr Smith ?didn?t give a s**t, a f**k, or a cock or any other word he wasn?t allowed to say?, this was an issue of free speech (certainly no one would pay for it).

Finally, the President was forced to intervene with an authoritative and slightly contemptuous ?Sorry, could you shut up? Thanks?. Perhaps stunned by the apparent failure of his accusations to shame Council, silence ensured. A brief re-checking of regulations discovered that the motion to dismiss the paper had not been properly debated. And so both sides got to hear the beautiful sound of their own voices in the true spirit of Council. You see, we are not *all* monsters, Mr Smith. Sadly, the motion was turned down again. The right to free speech runs into the brick wall of the right not to give a s**t, a f**k, or a c**k. For you, Mr Smith, ze meeting vas over! As he left the room, his parting words, the surprising observation that council was, in fact, a bunch of Fascists. Another successful application of Godwin?s Law .

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Discussion about “Hacked-Off: ?Fascist? Council annexes Reynolds”

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 03 2003 10:59

Godwin's Law specifically relates to Nazis, and should not be extended to all fascists.

However now I have properly mentioned the Nazi Party, this discussion cannot continue - sorry.

Nov 03 2003 11:35

How does Gorge Dubya affect our students directly. I know Visa charges do.

3. n/a   
Nov 03 2003 15:29

George Bush affects the students directly by turning London (and the UK at large) into a potential terrorist target (with the help of Blair) - not just during his visit, but every other day too. Therefore he is making IC students' lives less safe.

Oh yes, and he affects us by offending every concept of morality, decency and justice. But I suppose that's an indirect offense that we can ignore, as it affects all of humanity, not just IC students.

But admittedly, ICU was right to ignore the paper, given the apolitical stance. (Incidentally, that would mean ICU should also not campaign against Tuition Fees, I guess!) It would, however, be nice if Imperial students could turn up to demonstrate against Bush anyway. After all, who cares whether it's official ICU policy or not? The main aim should be to show presence for IC, or students/universities in general.

Nov 03 2003 17:29

ICU can take a political viewpoint, but only if the issue affects our Students as Students. Dubya, I think you will find, does not fulfil this criteria, but Visa charges for international students affects students, and tuition fees affects students.

5. Seb   
Nov 03 2003 22:12

Wouldn't ICU taking a policy on Bush basicaly silence clubs, societies etc. that wished to support him? I don't think that's freedom of speech.

6. erm,   
Nov 03 2003 22:50

wouldnt some societies maybe want to come out in support of tuition fees? just a thought....

7. Seb   
Nov 04 2003 00:03

Which is precisely why the Union should only campaign on issues that directly effect students as students rather than students as individuals. As the paper points out, the actions of George Bush, if the effect anyone, effect everyone in this country, not just the students. The paper wanted the Union to lend it's voice against Bush because the proposer reconed that a unified front lends authority to his campaign.

The Union is the only body that exists to champion the needs of Imperial College Students as a collective body. It is however not the only body which exists that champion, say, "Stop the war". Indeed there is a seemingly very well run campaign to stop the war by the "stop the war coalition". If people want to campaign to stop the war, let them do so, just not using the Union. On the other hand, the Governments directly requested that student bodies respond to their fees proposals as part of the "consultation". The Fees policy was passed by an EGM IIRC anyway, not by Council, and so has greater democratic legitimacy.

Nov 04 2003 02:43

"he affects us by offending every concept of morality, decency and justice."

You and your pro Islamofascist (national socialist workers party) are the TRUE offence to decency. You are apologist for dictators, murders, terrorists, genocide bombers. Your hypocrisy is so glaringly obvious as to be hilarious. Why didn't you organise IC against Saddam, IC against Osama, IC against Homicide bombers?

Why because you hate Western civilisation, you hate progress, and of course the "capitalists"ie the FREE democracy that the USA is. You are anti -British, anti semitic and have NO PLACE in this University- a place for learning , aplace for education, free thought- free of Bigotry- It is these Marxist Cockroaches who should be shunned. Your mendacity seems to have no end- Bush has NOTHING to do with ICU- and only your hatred runs so deep that you yearn to inject your fascist views upon us all...

9. Chris   
Nov 04 2003 08:24

Lets not have a repeat of this discussion:

10. n/a   
Nov 04 2003 11:30

OH, amram is back.... now under yet another different name...

Nov 04 2003 13:08

Well...where to start?

Firstly I suppose I should apologise to all those present for the language I used in the meeting which has now found its way into the above article. I admit I may have overreacted, but I was understandably frustrated, and I will not apologise for my passion.

The George Bush issue is one which needs to be addressed at Imperial, as it does affect us as students...for example, Tony Blair was compelled to blindly follow Bush into an unjust war which has cost this country millions of which could have been put into the education system (which is obviously in need of money in the face of proposals to charge increased fees, which I think even most members of the council are against). But also it is an issue on the minds of the students, and which they want to learn more about...where better place to do this than where they are all together - at IC. My aim was for this motion to include the promoting of education to help people learn more about the issues involved. Also, as I pointed out in the meeting, I feel, if it best represents the majority of students' views (which maybe it does not) an official anti-Bush stance is important because we as a young, educated, vocal section of the population (i.e. AS STUDENTS) have a responsibilty to make these views heard. This would add to and strengthen the protests of others (such as students in unions who have become anti-Bush) and would speak on behalf of those who don't have the oppurtunity we have in Bush visiting our country (those in Guantanamo Bay, those killed in Afghanistan and Iraq...and STUDENTS in these countries).

Whilst I apologised for some of my language in the meeting, I will not apologise for using the word fascist, which means extremely right-wing. I think it highly undemocratic that the only people who have votes are those who sit on the council, the majority of whom have views somewhat to the right of centre. What this means is that the only issues that are even discussed are those that fit in with the agendas of the minority on the council. I was only asking for the motion to be discussed...the snotty-nosed bloke who almost wet himself in satisfaction of calling for a vote not to discuss the motion on the grounds that it was too political is being anything but apolitical. As I pointed out in the meeting the problem is with the council's definition of apolitical, which apparently seems to mean right-wing.

And if it really is against the constitution or whatever to discuss this, then maybe we need to think about changing the constitution. This would enable the council to address real, important issues in the meetings, rather than spending them a**e-ing about, discussing whose names had and had not been spelt correctly in the miuntes of the previous meeting, and electing numerous people to pointless positions that no-one really cares about anyway.

To briefly address the 'anti-British, anti-Semitic' could not be more wrong. As someone recently pointed out in a letter in Felix, if Saddam or Osama were invited to our country on a state visit I think it goes without saying that we would mobilise resistance aginst them too. Instead we have a far greater criminal to contend with...George Bush heads a nation that DOES possess WMDs, that uses its military power against other nations for its own economic gain, and that supports such attrocities as the prison camps of Guantanamo Bay and the ethnic-cleansing taking place in Palestine. I am not an anti-Semite. I have nothing against Jews, Muslims or any other religious group, except so far as I do not believe in religion. The situation in Palestine is not about religion, it is a relationship between occupiers and occupied, oppressors and oppressed. I am not anti-Semitic, I am anti-Zionist. And, incidentally, I am not anti-British either. I am for the Bristish people, who would all be much better off if our government didn't lead us into wars and support attrocities around the world. I am anti-Bristish government, who more and more of us are realising certainly do NOT act in the interset of the British people.

And finally, whilst it would have been nice, we do not need the support of the union...we will raise the Bush issue ourselves. This Friday (7th) at 6pm in Physics Lecture Theatre 1, Tariq Ali will be talking on 21st Century Imperialism and the War in Iraq, and why we should protest against Bush, and hopefully there will also be somebody from the Stop the War coalition speaking about Bush's visit. Also from 4pm on 16th November, in the Union, there is an anti-Bush evening of drum'n'bass, regae, ska, electronica, etc., etc. And of course, then there is the day he arrives: 19th this space.

12. n/a   
Nov 04 2003 13:32

Perhaps a better solution would be to form a society? Societies are allowed to be political, can get organized and apply for union funding.

So how about a "Critical Examination of Current Affairs" Society (anti-Bush sounds just too active and too anti- to be very popular) with an agenda of

1) being politically active, representing what is perceived to be the majority opinion of students

2) opposing any form of imperialism (i.e.: currently that would be mainly Israeli actions against Palestine, American actions against Iraq, etc.)

3) opposing wars with purely economic justifications

4) supporting ecological measures and thinking

5) supporting international human rights

6) expressing opposition by organizing protests, or organizing an IC participation therein if protests on a national scale are already planned

7) expressing the support by cooperating with RAG, fundraising for charities, etc.

and, quintessentially, to be the political voice of Imperial. To debate in a civilized manner any issues suggested (the "civilized manner" phrase would by default exclude amram, I guess ;-) ), and to keep members informed of any events of interest (eg what the Stop The War Coalition is up to, where to go to protest, what security laws are being passed, which freedoms are being diminished etc.)

Nov 04 2003 15:19

No, that can't be amram! He's having problems with his outlook!

14. amram   
Nov 04 2003 16:12

Hi Starbuck my outlook is now working... sort of- it doesn't always let me open certain emails from home- ideas?? anyone facing similar problems?

As to ME well I'd rather not get drawn this discussion I will just point out that it is clear that Colin Smith is a marxist and an antisemite and not worth bothering with really. He still hasn't shown how Bush has got anything at all to do with ICU council?

The communists failed Russia(and in turn murdered millions of people) for 70 odd years and MOST people are intellectually honest enough to admit that they were an oppressive disaster...

People like Mr. Smith don't even have the guts to admit openly that they ARE communists because that would only serve to discredit them. Why bother arguing with such flat earthers- oh and his I'm not antsemitic I'm "ant-Zionist" drivel- I suggest he read Martin Luther King Jr. who explained that they are one and the same thing...

By the way last year Assad jr. of Syria visited london and I went (with a couple of hundred others) to a demo against the Syrian Dictator ( a man responsible for murdering tens of thousands of his own people, for occupying and raping Lebanon and for supporting terrorism in Venezuela, Turkey, Lebanon and Israel...)

I didn't notice any of mr. smith and his friends there-?

Nor did I notice them protest when other fascist leaders from Iran, Saudi Arabia(true imperialists) and Egypt visited London. It seems that the exteme Left, in its alliance with Islamofascism makes apologies for every single Arab and Islamic dictator.

15. anmram   
Nov 04 2003 16:15

PS I post under my name

but mohammed does make some good points.

16. Ameet   
Nov 04 2003 18:32

The reason people like myself are anti-bush is not because we are pro sadam or pro osama, or anti-american or left wingers. It's because he is a stupid hypocrite. When you see him on the television the stuff he comes out with is scary, and most of it doesn't even make sense. And he has ridiculous policies on world trade, the environment, human rights and foreign affairs.

and the list could go on for ever?

Nov 04 2003 18:47

I happen to not like Bush at all - but getting the Union to "oppose" him would be the start of one slippery slope that next I knew some bastard would be telling me that the Union now supported the Tory party or something and then it would all be over... eee.... nasty thought.

And I think calling sabs who didn't actually say they even disagreed, "fascist" is just a little bit extreme.

18. n/a   
Nov 04 2003 19:14

amram - are you telling me there's more than 1 of your kind at IC?

Oh dear.

Thank god I've graduated and am no longer there, then!

Although, given your previous credibility, I still don't believe that the other dude is not you.

Nov 04 2003 22:17

Once again, where to start?

Firstly, I should state that I am a Marxist, communist, socialist (call it what you will) and proud of it. I'm proud of believing in something that promotes fairness, equality and true democracy for all. I haven't studied much political theory but I'm told by those who have that even those in the field who believe Marx's ideals are wrong, unrealistic and unobtainable, most people believe that it is the only form of real democracy...the rule of the people, by the people. I hardly see how this accusation is something to be ashamed of.

Ashram's linking of Marxism to the attrocities comitted in Russia is similar of the linking of anti-Semitism and anti-zionism, in an attempt to make me appear to be an evil racist. On the first point, Stalin was a brutal dictator who basically implemented state-capitalism, and neither of these things have anything to do with communism. On the second point, I am not familiar with Martin Luther King Jr.s definitions, but maybe I should clarify my standpoint further: I am not against any race or religion of people...I am against the dispossession of land from a people who have lived there for generations, and the ethnic cleansing that has taken place in Palestine since. This initial disposession took place in 1948, and has got progressively worse since, but I won't go into those gory details this time round. If we want to get hung-up on definitions then I suppose there are 2 reasons why I am not anti-semitic: firstly, I am not against Jews. Secondly, I am not against Arabs, who you may be interested to know, are also Semitic peoples.

I think the use of the term anti-Semitic (assuming it to mean anti-Jewish) is very dangerous when it is brandished in the way that Ashram does. It is something that we must all fight against. It is not racist to oppose the ethnic-cleansing in Palestine. It is right. I suppose Ashram would call those who are members of organisations such as 'Jews for Justice for Palestine' and 'Jews against Zionism' anti-semitic Jews? Noone likes to be accused of being a racist, but people must not be scared off by such nonsense when it is clear that such accusations are completely false. If Ashram is going to call me anti-Semitic (in the Jewish sense) for criticising Israel, then surely he would admit he is anti-Semitic (in the Arabic sense) for criticising Syria,Iran et al. Clearly criticism of governments and political ideologies is not racist in either case.

I should also point out that I am aware of the brutal regimes of Syria, Iran and other Arab countries - my girlfriend and her family are Iranians who came to this country seeking political asylum because of such a regime. But we need to look at things in the correct perspective. I am against every one of these regimes, just as I was against Saddam Hussein. But I would not have gone on an anti-Iraq demonstration in the run up to the Iraq war, because I see past the superficial problem on the surface...the Imperialist powers of the west create these regimes, and they are worse than these regimes. Iraq is in a worse state now than it was before the war. I am not apologising for Saddam (who was initially supported by the US, just as Osama Bin Laden was) or anyone else...I was 100% in favour of his removal, but by the Iraqi people (something that could have been achieved were it not for years of crippling sanctions). Self-determination is a basic human right and should have been exercised in Iraq, just as it should have been in Palestine. And when Iran or Syria are invaded (whether by the US or its attack dog, Israel), we must be sure to oppose this further Imperialist colonisation too.

Nov 04 2003 22:21

ps - apologies...for some unknown reason I referred to Amram as Ashram throughout my last posting. Hope no offence has been caused.

21. Seb   
Nov 04 2003 22:25

"money which could have been put into the education system"

Come off it. That's tenuous at best. That money comes out of the military operational budget, it's not comming out of money already allocated to HEFCE. We could also campaign, on this basis, against increased spending on the NHS as it too could be said to be comming from the education system.

Nor do I think blair was compelled to do Bush's bidding. Blair was bombing Iraq and urging Clinton to invade Kosovo long before Bush had even declared his presidency. Blair is, quite simply, a liberal interventionist. The interesting thing is that the neo-cons are actually very much from his mold. They all started out as Democrats and drifted into Republicans with the aim of using force to solve the worlds problems. There is something to be said for that, it's a pitty we didn't have someone like him when Rwanda was busy butchering itself. However I would certainly agree the idea that you can go around knocking over dictatorships and replacing them with democracies is absurdly naive.


You are missing the point. Bush does not effect us as students. What you are saying is that we, as students, could have a particularly good effect on the campaign against Bush. As students, we might have a responsibility to make our political views heard (though I would say this is wrong, EVERY member of a democratic civil society has that responsibility), but the Unions responsibility is to campaign for things that effect studnets, not things that students can effect. Your definition could equally apply to any issue, from free trade, globalisation through to the state of the rail network, not just Bush.

Fascist means more than right of centre. It means undemocratic. All members of council were elected by the student body. They chose not to agree with you.

" I think it highly undemocratic that the only people who have votes are those who sit on the council"

Then go and collect the 600 signatures needed to triger a referendum.

"the majority of whom have views somewhat to the right of centre."

Proove that.

"What this means is that the only issues that are even discussed are those that fit in with the agendas of the minority on the council."


"I was only asking for the motion to be discussed"

No you weren't. This was not a discussion paper, it had five resolution points.

"As I pointed out in the meeting the problem is with the council's definition of apolitical, which apparently seems to mean right-wing."

Rubbish. If this was an issue of party politics, they would have heard the motion and voted agaisnt it. Particularly if council is the right wing conspiracy you make it out to be. Besides which, can you cite one example of a right wing motion passed by council? Does ICU have a policy on globalisation for example?

I challenge you to find *one* policy the Union has on a poliitcal issue that does not directly and exclusively effect students.

"And if it really is against the constitution or whatever to discuss this, then maybe we need to think about changing the constitution."

Technicaly, it's against the law. The Constiution gets changed every year.

"and electing numerous people to pointless positions that no-one really cares about anyway."

I think that just about explains your point really. You think the Union should be about airing your views. I think it should be about protecting the interests of our Members to College and the Government on matters that relate to the University. You may not care about the trading, retail or student development committee, but I bet you would complain if the Union suddenly stoped serving cheap food, or didn't stand up for people suffering welfare issues.

", we do not need the support of the union..."

Indeed, that was precisely why Council decided not to consider your paper. If they were genuinely Bush fans, they would have amended it or voted against it. However, to vote against the paper would be to go some way towards endorsing Bush, something very few people would want to do.

22. Seb   
Nov 04 2003 23:23

And I wouldn't bother debating with Amram. It's fruitless.

"I suppose Ashram would call those who are members of organisations such as 'Jews for Justice for Palestine' and 'Jews against Zionism' anti-semitic Jews?"

Yup, he does.


amram's alter ego

Apr 10 2003 01:37 so Amram, criticsim of 'Israel' and the neo-Nazis who run it somehow makes me anti-semitic, does it?

Try this:

Are these Jews anti-semitic too?


Apr 10 2003 12:18 To the idiot above.

To call the Free democratic liberal government of the Jewish people Nazis is unoworthy of a response.

As i explained earlier- but you were too ignorant to undestand- the people above- are quislings.

Frankly "jews for Jesus" are more authentic."

Nov 04 2003 23:24

"I am a Marxist, communist, socialist (call it what you will) and proud of it."

oh dear- how pathetic, do you even know what Marxism is you nit wit?


"I haven't studied much political theory"

I guess not. But then are you just a pathetic sheep fed the lies of the far left? Do you have any of your own ideas little man. Do you even have a clue ? No

"I'm told by those who have"

oh that makes it better...but you are interested in Human rights you are for freedom in Iraq

" I am not familiar with Martin Luther King Jr.s definitions,"

maybe you should get a little education before you waste our (and ICU's) time-

What was it a slow day in Materials Dept?

"the ethnic cleansing that has taken place in Palestine "

a bare faced lie.

oh and FYI- this horse is so dead that one feels rather unwilling to flog it more- Antisemitic was a term invented in the 19th Century in Germany to specifically mean "irrational hatred of the Jewish people"!

24. Andrew   
Nov 04 2003 23:48

Who cares? What difference would ICU make to the whole situation? Stop wasting the time of council who already waste enough time arguing about pointless papers from jumped up students who think they know everything about the world.

Nov 05 2003 00:00

I personally agree that the union should be apolitical and should not pass policies like this one.

However the law about not being political is about spending money, not about a union having beliefs and policies, so there was nothing in the presented policy that would be illegal or unconstitutional for the union. The union CAN pass any political policy about anything as long as it does not spend any money on it!

So it seems to me that it was improper that it was not discussed and voted on as with any other policy, especially as it is the first council policy I have seen this year not written by one of the sabbs. You can discuss a policy then thouroughly vote it down if you want the union to be apolitical, but then peeople feel they have had a chance to air their views.

Having a union where normal students bring policies about issues that they and their friends care about to be discussed, we can't have that!

26. tom t   
Nov 05 2003 11:02

The paper was never expected to pass. It was merely used to raise awareness of the impending visit of GWB. In fairness to points raised above particularly 'affect students as students' we could debate all year whether or not GWB affects us. But that does not remove Mr Smith's right to bring such a paper to Council, and it was unfortunate that DPFS decided to try to throw it out before anyone had even read it. This was further compounded by the Chair's mistake in not allowing debate which really heated things up.

However bad language may have got, it's fair to say that Mr Smith was treated with as much contempt as some of the posters above and this is also unhealthy for democracy.

So mission achieved - lots of people have concerned themselves with forthcoming visit of Bush.

27. n/a   
Nov 05 2003 12:19

For the education of Colin Smith:

Martin Luther King argued - rather wrongly, of course - that anti-Zionism is equal to anti-semitism because it is denying a people their homeland, and therefore discriminating against them. Bulls**t, of course. No people have right to someone else's land simply because they find a convenient religious (i.e. fabricated & fictional) claim to it. Martin Luther King might have been right about many things, but this is one thing where he was dead wrong.

Marxism and Communism are unworkable and undesirable. They're political/economic theories and have nothing to do with the current issues (a president who sets up a concentration camp in Cuba, invades countries for economic reasons and to deflect the electorate's attention from his own failed economy, turns world admiration into resentment for one of the most-respected nations ever - America, ignores and scraps international treaties that have been crucial in securing a level of peace, ..... etc etc), so they're best kept out of the topic.

28. Seb   
Nov 05 2003 17:24


But if they had heard it and voted it down, then they would have effectively been saying it was wrong to criticise Bush.

And what is the use of hearing and discussing a paper amoung thirty or so people in a body that has no real mandate to deal with these sort of issues, especially if its on the understanding that no policy will be set at the end of it? It's just a waste of everyones time and a destraction from Councils real job, which is not a debating society but a body that is supposed to hold the rest of the union's committees and officers to account to ensure the union is being run well. It's not some mystical fount of legitimacy for people wishing to make a political point. I mean, council members don't know better than anyone else whether Bush should be shot, pelted with eggs, or taken in a sedan chair down The Mall.

They simply were not elected on that basis. What they do tend to know about is running the union and other issues effecting the union.

I can't see the benefit of discussing this in council unless policy was going to be passed to use the Unions facilities to run a campaign. Merely raising awareness amoung a collection of 30 or so union hacks doesn't seem to be so good.

Better to organise a "speakers corner" style soap box in DB's at lunch time for this sort of thing. Or perhaps go to the debating society?

Nov 06 2003 04:14


You make some good valid points, although voting down a motion is simply not making something policy, it is not endorsing the opposite of that policy. If someone wants to read more in to a decision, then throwing out a paper or voting against a paper will both be taken the wrong way.

What really bugs me is when people say something cannot be done, that it is illegal and against the rules, when in fact it is only something the union has CHOSEN not to do in the recent past and there is nothing stopping that being changed.

Also it would be a simple polite courtesy to give someone say 3 minutes in council to present a paper and explain why they think it is relevant to union if they have gone to the effort of writing one (something which very few non hacks do, except around budget times). You never know, the presenter of the paper may have given a good reason why the paper is relevant to the union. Although I agree time should not be wasted and if the majority of council are not convinced after those 3 minutes have a quick speach against and then vote.

Surely this would be better than assuming that the hacks know best about what the representative body of the students should be discussing and jumping in with procedural motions.

Nov 06 2003 15:58

Oh, well it was a long shot wasn't it? Worth trying...

BTW the "anti-Bush=commie anti-semite" comments of this thread are hilariously stupid and angry. Shame to see such blunt and unsophisticated opinions floating around this university.

31. n/a   
Nov 06 2003 19:20

"Shame to see such blunt and unsophisticated opinions floating around this university"

Shame to see such blunt and unsophisticated *people* floating around this university!


32. Seb   
Nov 07 2003 17:34


Point taken. Whether the procedural motion was a discussion point or not, I think their ought to have been a slightly longer, freer debate about whether to hear the paper.

However, I think it would have been dishonest to hear the paper and then vote against it on the grounds that this gives the impression that Council disagrees with the specifics of the thing rather than the principle of passing "political" motions that move outside the sphere of events that impinge directly and only on students rather than anything that might effect students.

I felt that Council dealt with this better than last years council dealt with a similar "stop the war" motion, which went on for ages because nobody seemed to have the courage to explain why they were not going to pass the motion and instead offered meally mouthed technicalities of why it couldn't be done.

Perhaps someone ought to take a paper to council proposing we set up some sort of semi-formalised body for passing "political" motions such as this that are outside ICU's campaigning remit.

Such a body might be dismissed as not being serious enough and just a talking shop (it would have no powers or money for example) but if the point of this motion really was just to raise awareness rather than to be the basis of drawing the Union itself into an anti-bush campaign, then I don't see why it wouldn't be satisfactory.

Nov 10 2003 19:54

i don't understand wht everyone is arguing about. the biggest problem with people like george bush is that he doesnt understand that if only everyone could sit down and talk together then there owuld be less fighting. if we talked to hamas and alqaeda and organisations like that and the governments that host them across the middle east, instead of just threatening to stop them by using force then we would make much more progress. if we sat down at the negociating tables and actually explained to the palestinians to stop ethnically cleansing israeli jews and trying to annihalate them, whilst offering them meaningful concessions for a peace agrement then we are much more likely to get somewhere. noone ever got any where by hitting a bully

Nov 11 2003 00:24

oh really?

I think it's time for you to come out of that wine bar you've obviously spent your life in and have a look around. Oh, and read a little history.

35. Seb   
Nov 11 2003 11:38

Spot the flame bate.

36. n/a   
Nov 11 2003 14:22

A slightly improved quotation:

if we sat down at the negotiating tables and actually explained to the Israelis to stop ethnically cleansing Palestinians and trying to annihilate them, whilst offering them meaningful concessions for a peace agreement then we are much more likely to get somewhere.

Anyway. No one should negotiate with terrorists like Al Queda and Islamic Jihad or tyrants like Sharon and Bush. The terrorists should be fought, and the tyrants opposed (by demonstrations, boycotting products from their nations and ideally, economic sanctions) until they are out of office.

Sit down and shakehands might be the kindergarten teacher's dream solution. But in real life, there are scumbags so nasty that any kind of dealings with them require a loss of principle so dear that it would be unendurable and unjustifiable.

37. Seb   
Nov 11 2003 16:08

Say what else you like about Bush, but it's disingenuous to call him a tyrant. He was elected democratically. The fact that he did not have a majority of the popular vote is irrelevant; according to the rules of the election and that of an independent Judiciary he won the vote in much the manner of every other President. It's all very well to suggest that his brother stitched up the vote, but I wonder just why he would engage in such a politicaly dangerous act of vote rigging when there are many more states (49 in fact) which are *not* governed by his Brother. Nobody predicted Florida was going to be the decisive state beforehand.

Asside from that, he continues to enjoy the support of the majority of the American electorate and it is highly likely that he will win the next election too. He looks very much like the elected leader of a country that has made up it's mind (albeit by a slim majority) to persue a particular policy.

While we are on the subject, lets not pretend that if George Bush Jr were to keel over dead that Americas policies would suddenly reverese. Lets not also pretend that if a Democrat (Dean-Clark!) wins the next election that we will see a sudden American withdrawl from Iraq, or that a quick withdrawl from Iraq would be in the best interests of Iraqi's. It certainly wouldn't undo the dammage of the war, it would almost certainly exacerbate it.

On a lighter note, I seriously hope that Blair does decide to shut down the city of london, whitehall and all the other areas Bush's security team have identified as prime Al-Quaeda hiding grounds when he comes to London. The British electorate will forgive and forget a war (particularly as it seems to be another opportunity to show how much better we are at this sort of thing than America, looking at the press) when it comes to a general election. They will never forgive being coralled around their own capital city at the whim of Dubya.

38. n/a   
Nov 11 2003 16:34

On the subject of the election. Florida was (allegedly) won by a mere few hundred (the number I've heard was 200-300) votes.

It is also known, and confirmed, that several hundred (I think the figure I've heard was about 600) distant votes made by army personnel (i.e. votes by Floridian soldiers residing in foreign bases at the time of the election) were filled in incorrectly, and manually corrected by local politicians in Florida to make them valid. Forget about the 50 or so "We accidentally made our tick on the wrong bit in the form" senile Democrat voters. The real point is, hundreds of oh-so-bright presumably Republican supporting soldiers ruined their election slip, and it was tampered with in order to make the votes valid. That is in my book election fraud, making Bush a tyrant. (NB: all these facts are recalled from memory of a pro-Bush article published shortly after the election in The Economist)

But even if his election had been honest and democratic: Other leaders have come to power legally in democracies, and still we see them as tyrants today. The measure of a leader is not merely how he reaches power, but also how he uses it. If he has the support of his population (and I won't pretend he hasn't), does that mean he can do whatever his people are willing to support? Just because a war makes a politician more popular, because it is deemed disloyal and traiterous not to support the own troops, does that legitimize any war that can be won? Just because his homeland is happy if he does it, is it a blank cheque to tyrannize the world?

On a lighter note: Hopefully the Sun will get a papparazzi in the palace catching GWB and the Queen doing the naughty on film. That would certainly kill two birds with one stone - the institution of monarchy and the reign of a tyrant... ;-)

39. amram   
Nov 11 2003 17:57

Ariel Sharon was democratically elected Prime Minister in the ONLY liberal Free democracy in the Middle East.

A slightly improved quotation:

No one should negotiate with tyrants and terrorists like Arafat, saddam hussein, Hosni Mubarak "Prince" Abdullah, or the Iranian fascist mullahs!

40. tom t   
Nov 11 2003 18:02

Seb, you've been reading the Times too much! There are not very many AlQ'aeda operatives in Britain, even if you do believe that Heathrow was in immediate danger last year.

And I don't understand how people being coralled around London tallies with the idea that all precincts should be shut down. If I want to ride my bike through Parliament Square on my way to College, I'm not going to allow some fool-playing, appointed (by father's friends) so-called president stop me because he is a little bit scared of revenge for the suffering he has caused. If he wants to drag America into a war, fine, but he can't come here, spending my money, eat with the Queen, and expect me to tolerate this gross abuse of power. The republicans are, after all, wedded to the oil industry, ignoring (the practically useless, but a start) Kyoto, passing anti-abortion legislation, deeply in bed with PNAC and a thoroughly unsavoury bunch of religious zealots who base all policy on plain selfishness and 'American interests'. To name but a few. And then they slag off anyone they don't like by labelling them terrorists, whilst doing more to support terror than any other regime.

GGGGRRRRRRRRR he is not welcome. And that's my considered opinion.

The best thing is that Blair feels this coming and is already talking about our 'freedom of speech' and other things. Let's hope he doesn't heed Dubya's advice to quash all protest.

41. amram   
Nov 11 2003 18:04

PS has anyone read that today the BBC has appointed someone to check their overt anti-Israeli bias as well as their pro Arab bias on other issues such as the Fully Justified war Against Saddam. (No wonder fools such as n/a exist when the media feeds their little brains such racism)

oh and the comment about him being against Islamic jihad and Alqaeda was so hilarious that I fell off my chair.

It's cos of fools like him that Europe is appeasing Arab terror. Bad news European antisemites- the Islamists are coming to London too!

wake up . Oh and Seb nice to see that you are as anal as ever. Tell me are you fond of Edward Heath...

42. n/a   
Nov 11 2003 20:50

amram: Hopefully you've hurt yourself very badly falling off your chair!

43. Seb   
Nov 12 2003 20:14


So, you are asserting that Bush stitched up the election in Florida knowing that Floridas 25 votes out of 538.

Asside from that, no one has been able to proove fraud in a court of law, the courts being independent. The Economist, despite it's quality, doesn't exactly have jurisdiction. By your definition, Kenedy was also a tyrant.

"and still we see them as tyrants today"

Normally because once they are/have been elected they change the rules and effectively turn a democarcy into an autocratic state. Take Mugabe, who has completely suspended the rule of law. Astonishingly authoritarian as the Bush's administraions tinkering with the concept of the rule of law and separation of powers regarding Guantanamo Bay, the final decision on this loophole is largely in the hands of the Supreme Court. Can he get away with this kind of loophole inside America? No.

A tyrants word is law, and that isn't the case with Bush by a long way.

"does that mean he can do whatever his people are willing to support?"

No. That is the point of the separation of powers and checks and ballences, of which the US has a hell of a lot more than Britain, France, Australlia, Canada and Italy to name the few I can be asbolutely sure about off the top of my head. Certainly if you want to label (or libel) an ellected leader a Tyrant, you would be much better off with Blair who has completely subverted the British constiutional set up, sidelined parliament, absued the powers of royal perogative and has now deemed the rest of the constiutional framework as the personal property of the Prime Minister. We havn't seen such an autocrat in this country since Charles I.

"Just because his homeland is happy if he does it, is it a blank cheque to tyrannize the world?"

It's a blank cheque for Bush to lead his nation in acts of agression. In that case point your accusations fairly and squarely at who is directly responsible for them: The American public. Critising Bush as a Tyrant is a cop out. He is acting in their name, in a democracy, in a country with an independent judiciary. If the American public wanted to, they could boot him out without having to wait for an election. Something that can't be done anywhere as easily in the UK.


Whether Israel is a democracy when it accepts jurisdiction over 3 million people who it refuses the vote is debateable. However it is certainly not a liberal democracy while it does that.

tom t:

erm... I'd read that bit I wrote about the shutdown again! I only hope it happens because it's about the only thing I can see the apathetic majority giving a damn about come election time. (The Times is rather indignent at the idea of the FBI taking over the traffic planning for three days actually). Certainly I'd have thought if Al-Quaeda had cells around London they would have taken a pop at Blair or Brenda by now.


The distinction is important. Muddled language leads to muddled thinking, a maxim best embodied by your good self. And no, because Edward Heath didn't have the balls to dismiss concensus politics.

Nov 12 2003 21:03

litsen, i just wanna say one just seems taht all the iseali jewis just awnna desim8 all of the palestinians. this is a really simpel fact but yet the intonational comutiny does nothing about it - why is this - why is this injustice perpetr8ed in our names. what can we do to stop it or is we all just powerless?

45. amram   
Nov 12 2003 21:10

Seb just as I thought a "one nation" Tory...

Oh by the way, even if we did follow your (past thread) rather ridiculous (not to mention hypocritical) arguments that Judea doesn't belong to the Jews etc, where on Earth does it say that enemy civillians residing in territory occupied in war must be automatically given citizenship by the occupying power. To be a citizen you must earn it- even in Britain not every Tom Dick or Harry (especially if harry is from Hong Kong) is not given automatic citizenship. Even if we accept your theory that Israel is an occupying power it has every right to be one and has every right NOT to grant these Arabs citizenship.

Similarly look at all the Arabs who are becoming British citizens the future doesn't bode well for Europe.

Stop appeasing the Fanatics. Don't Think Israel will be another Czechoslovakia.

By the way is anyone intersted in forming an IC welcoming committee for our Great President Friend from Across the pond?

Nov 12 2003 21:32

I wanna say that gas ruah is cussing us cos we is black -or at least we wear black.

I wanna initia8 a girlcott of George W (boycott is so sexist)for his athechewd on wmen. I mean dat CLinton he never came across a chauvinist....

same bout Blair he is also a sexist pig.

And dese "fascists" in da title are not the rel ones. The real uns are the taliban - ddi ya see the way they treat their bitches?

i only make mine wear a wig...

Big up to suissa!

47. Seb   
Nov 12 2003 21:43


One nation tory? News to me. I'd have thought Edward Heath's kowtowing to the consensus rather than standing up and demonstrating some backbone was an example of that.

"rather ridiculous"

Only if your as illiberal as you are.

"arguments that Judea doesn't belong to the Jews"

No, as any fule know it belongs to it's orrigional inhabitents who the Isralites drove out.

"etc, where on Earth does it say that enemy civillians residing in territory occupied in war must be automatically given citizenship"

Territory occupied in war is not considered part of your state. While you may controll it, you are supposed to police it under the existing laws.

When you decide to take jurisdiction over it, in particular by colonising it you are getting into a copletely different kettle of fish. The social contract proponents (and you know Locke is my favourite already) generally agree that if you are going to bind a people by law, they ought to have a say in it. Asside from international law, there is nothing stopping you doing that, but it does rather blow out of the water any hope of calling yourself a liberal democracy. Liberal democracies don't have second class citizens and subjects. Israel claims jurisdiction over a large number of Palestinians in territory it conquered in war, they are not entitled to a vote.

"even in Britain not every Tom Dick or Harry (especially if harry is from Hong Kong) is not given automatic citizenship."

Only if they immigrate is that the case. I find it hard to find a definition of immigrate that would cover the Palestinians on the West bank and Gaza strip.

"Even if we accept your theory that Israel is an occupying power"

A theory that has even been accepted by your political idol Ariel Sharon.

"it has every right to be one and has every right NOT to grant these Arabs citizenship."

Under it's laws, apparently so. Of course, one could observe that South Africas white government had every right to confine blacks to bantustans. The only problem is that once you do that you stop being a liberal democracy.

I sugest if we carry this on we do so by email lest we end up with another 300 post monstrosity. You know my email adress and I wouldn't bother too much about your anonymity.

Nov 13 2003 11:28


"No, as any fule know it belongs to it's orrigional inhabitents who the Isralites drove out."

if the israelis drove the arabs out of judea then what the hell are they still doing there?

Territory occupied in war is not considered part of your state.

correct, although it seems that the six day war in 1967 is the only defensive war in world history that your rule seems to apply to.

"While you may controll it, you are supposed to police it under the existing laws."

aaaaah, i see, you'd like israel to police the west bank under jordanian law as it stood in 1967. ok, so you're talking about the same jordaninan law that allowed king hussein to kill more palestinians in one day than have died during the whole arab israeli conflict. the same jordanian laws where people were executed for expressing a political opinion, where nobody had a vote on any issue, even in local government. well, israel didnt really want to police the west bank at all. that's why, at the start of the intafada 98% of palestinians were living in area A - ie areas under the civil and military control of the Palestinian Authority - unfortunately, their police and security forces had nothing better to do than support terrorism and help blow israeli kids up, so israel was again against her will forced to become an occupying power. but don't worry seb, if you ignore history and present facts selectively then people with less knowledge than you will believe you even though you wll be committing a grave injustice - just ignore facts that are unconvenient for you. it's like describing WW2 like this: in 1939 britain declared war on germany. a couple of years later so did the USA. in 1945 the war ended as the allies defeated the germans and occupied their country.

49. Seb   
Nov 13 2003 13:33


"if the israelis drove the arabs out of judea then what the hell are they still doing there?"

*sigh*. Judea is an area that extends well outside the bounds of Israel as defined in it's orrigional declaration in 1948. I was pointing out that the claimed history is that the Isralites drove out previous inhabitents, and therefore the argument that Judea belongs to the Jews because they were there before the Diaspora and that the Arabs are unwelcome interlopers who have appeared in subsequent centuries rather ignores this bit of so-called history. The argument doesn't stand up to it's own logic until you factor in the other biblical aspect, which people don't like to do so much. This is because the argument is essentialy that Judea belongs to the Jews because it was given to them by God. Leaving asside the aledged ramblings of a bronze age deity, and the fact that many people claim to have varying and different interpretations of the word of the one "God of Abraham", let alone the plethora that also exist, that is not really a terribly good basis for determining geopolitics in the 21st century anymore than "Jews murdered Christ" was or is acceptable in previous centuries. Thankfully, few people make the argument of the greater Israel.

"although it seems that the six day war in 1967 is the only defensive war in world history that your rule seems to apply to."

I wasn't aware there was a distinction of "defensive war" with regards to the ilegitimacy of aquistion of territory by conquest. I'm sure you can refer me to the relevant documents. I also do not recall America, for example, annexing Germany after WWII.

"aaaaah, i see, you'd like israel to police the west bank"

No. In your haste you have overlooked the option (usually embarked on in such cases) of setting up a legislative body (the two leading options being UN trusteeship or some sort of provisional government) to co-administer the territories.

The PA does not really meet this, it has authority over limited area, not the entire ammount of the territory taken in 1967. Furthermore, Israel doesn't even use the laws of Jordan, it has and continues to use obscure laws from the long defunct Ottoman Empire to disposses Palestinians, hence the absurd "vacant" territories that settlers have been able to move into.

"in 1939 britain declared war on germany. a couple of years later so did the USA. in 1945 the war ended as the allies defeated the germans and occupied their country."

Ah yes, but the point is that after occuping Germany, within five years there was a German government, within ten years it had full sovereignty. There are no encroaching British and American settlements, Germans are not restricted to an "Area A" within what was once their own country. Rather than tearing down vital segments of the economy, under what the previous Irsraeli PM refered to on British Television as a form of collective punishment "Gentle Squeezing" was the term he used, billions of dollars were lavished on reconstructing the German economy.

Germany is a nation of tens of millions of people, Palestine consists of a few million. How come it has taken thirty years during which time (not all of it troubled) in which there has not only been no progress, but no real plan or strategy tabled by Israel for any kind of withdrawl, but rather a creeping colonisation and annexation, the latest aspect of which is the security wall, which has the intersting property of splitting in the north east and heading off towards the border with Jordan while another branch snakes south. Does Israel really feel the need to "protect" the Jordanians from the Palestinians, or vice versa, or is it another attempt to create bantustans?

To go back to the German analogy, the notable exception to Germanies post war experience is the Russian territory, which of course was defacto annexed into the Soviet Union (under the pretext of security, of course) peoples movement was restricted, there were cerfews and indeed, attempts at "Russification".

Anyone remember "...tear down this wall!"?

Again, as this is not a column dedicated to Israel/Palestine, and given previous complaints , I suggest that if we want to carry this on you send me an email.

50. amram   
Nov 13 2003 19:22

While I was going to stop commenting both aubrey's and Seb's arguments deserve a reply. ALthough Seb'd point about this thread is probably true and given the interest- perhaps we should think about generating such a thread on live- Nia???

Seb, why does your history start in 1967? Why not go back to 1917- when the League of nations gave ALL of PALESTINE to the British to allow a Jewish homeland- ie ALL of Jordan today. The Arabs already control 80% of Palestine why do they deserve (especially after all the wars they started) another state. Let us not forget that the Arabs have 22 states which have 800 times Israel's landmass. Let us not also forget that it is these states that have been the initiators of 5 wars to destroy Israel.

Why does your history not at least go back to 1948 if not 1917? The territories of Judea and Samria were occupied by the Jordanians as a result of that war. Why do the Jordanians have sovereignty if territory cannot be gained in war?(a theory that is absolute nonsense anyway). Indeed the territories were under Jordanian occupation for 19 years and were only then liberated by Israel 36 years ago.

Why do the Arabs not count as settlers and colonisers?

Most of the Arabs arrived in Pre-state Israel (over 85%)as a result of the Zionist renewal. Why are only Jews settlers.


The Land of Israel belongs to the people of Israel. The problem will only be solved when a solution is found that moves the majority of the Arabs back to their own lands. Iraq is a big place and could be considered. But since most of them say "Palestine is part of Greater Syria" then they woul probably do well going back to Damascus...

51. Seb   
Nov 14 2003 11:18


I'm quite able to reply, but email or nothing. The large essays are starting to annoy other people.

52. amram   
Nov 14 2003 13:28

My post was not that long. Oh and FYI I am NOT Aubrey and so I don't really know what you are talking about Seb.

53. Seb   
Nov 15 2003 02:43


I never said you were Auberry. I was referring back to my comment posted Nov 12 2003 21:43.

While I would agree with you that I do not consider my posts or your posts lengthly essays, that is not the oppinion of others who have spoken to me in more traditional methods of communication. You have my email address if you wish to discuss the matter futher, however I doubt either of us would find it particularly productive as you are dogmatic in the extreeme and unlikely to be persuaded by any of my arguments, and I have yet to see anything I regard as particularly convinving to justify the conclusions you draw from the basic facts you provide. Continuing this debate, therefore, seems futile for both of us in private, and I doubt anyone here is particularly impressed (certainly not from the comments I've been getting) to care to see it continued publicaly.

Nov 15 2003 12:55

It was interesting to see that lefts has not changed a bit since god knows when. It is their nature that if someone oppose them is fascist and anyone who help them is an angle, regardless of the consequences. SADDAM was against capitalism so he is good , does not matter if he killed a citys population by chemical weapons or not.

55. rror   
Nov 17 2003 23:59

ur right, the left have not changed at all.

56. wow   
Feb 21 2004 20:23

"Surely this would be better than assuming that the hacks know best about what the representative body of the students should be discussing and jumping in with procedural motions."

here. here

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