Passe Notes: The Oxford Union

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So, how long do we have to stand in this queue?Well, everyone in Oxford wants to see the no confidence debate. Unless their lack of confidence rests with the Union not with the Government. But don’t worry; by Trinity everyone will have remembered that the Bridge is the place to be on a Thursday, and the only people queuing in the rain on St. Michael’s street will be for the homeless shelter next door.
I heard it’s the world’s most famous debating society and invites amazing speakers.It’s certainly unique: where else is ‘librarian’ actually a desirable position? And you do get to see amazing world figures (and Jordan) shamelessly plug their new autobiographies. But nevertheless to my mind it’s still nothing on the Norwich Union.
What is the difference between the Union and OUSU?Left wing OUSU faces regular criticism for supporting Bolivian basket weavers above the interests of real students, while the Union, where politics can be divided into the right wing and the wrong wing, is slammed for cradling delusional basket cases above the interests of real students. If they appreciated their common disdain for the actual Oxford undergraduate the relations of the two institutions would be improved immeasurably.
I might be interested in getting involved. Who actually runs the union?The fat man on the door at speaker meetings. And he answers to Moscow. The elected officer’s responsibilities extend to sweeping up vomit after the termly balls-up, and working through their stalker-like tendencies by writing repeatedly to celebrities.
But do the officers get a lot out of it?Certainly. Not least the popularity they always craved at school. Any self respecting hack will have hundreds of friends, and at least five of them won’t be just on facebook. And if you harbour an ambition to be a nineteenth century Conservative politician the Union is undoubtedly the best place to start.
When do the elections happen? In 7th week, to allow the inevitable Tribunal to be settled by the end of term. Most Union elections offer more slates than Blaenau Ffestiniog, malpractice to rival a Hogarth painting, and a turnout lower than LMH’s position in the Norrington table.
What about Presidential Drinks? They sound fun: how should I go about getting an invitation?Well, that skirt is probably a start. But if that fails you’ll have to pay off the Abumafia like the rest of us. Once there you will swill gin and tesco value tonic from a plastic beaker, listen to various violent proposals for dealing with asylum seekers, and watch a fifty-something backbencher lure a upwardly mobile seccie to his hotel room with promises of work experience. At least by 3am you’ll be able to see who is really on the (still) standing committee.ARCHIVE: 2nd week MT 2005

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