Self-righteous Selfishness

That OUSU should not take political positions is a terrible excuse to justify opposing the motion to condemn Israel’s actions in Gaza. The idea that a Student Union should represent all its students by avoiding controversial issues does not make sense. It is never possible to truly represent all students, all the time.

Oxford students are a diverse body with internal differences and disagreements, and this isn’t a bad thing. Only the most banal and pointless policies will find total acceptance: someone can always be found to disagree with a policy, even on issues integral to student welfare like counselling, student loans and discipline.

To do nothing at all is unrepresentative of those students who supported the motion in the same sense that doing something would be unrepresentative of those who opposed it. A Student Union that tries to please everybody will please nobody. This is why we have a democracy based on majorities.

The idea that OUSU should restrict itself to student welfare is a kind of self-righteous selfishness. Oxford students are far from being needy. That we should ignore the world beyond the ring-road would be equivalent to an individual refusing to pay taxes that will be spent on other people’s children, or a nation refusing to intervene in another’s natural disasters. This is not how society should work. If we can do anything as a student body to help those in need elsewhere, we should do it. If the argument is that our actions will be ineffective, that suggests that those in opposition are over-reacting just as much as those in favour.