Beyond parody: National Union of Students won't condemn the Islamic State
  by Willard Foxton Society
Last updated: October 15th, 2014

So, the other day, a Kurdish student attempted to get the National Union of Students to pass a motion condemning the "Islamic State". It's a pretty uncontroversial motion; after all, what Isil are doing on a day to day basis – the murders, the rapes, the imposition of slavery – is absolutely monstrous.

Yet, the National Union of Students refused to pass the motion, saying that to criticise the "Islamic State" would in some way fuel Islamophobia. In some ways, this is a pretty predictable story – if you offer a student union politician 10,000 doors, they will almost always stride purposefully, waving a banner, towards the one marked "Socialist Worker-inspired idiocy and self-destruction".
Let's leave aside for a moment the fact that the fanatics besieging Kobane are unlikely to drop their guns at the NUS's say-so, and Islamophobic thugs are unlikely to be swayed by them either. Let's first of all examine the key claim: that criticising the Islamic state could lead to Islamophobia. In my book, opposing Isil is only Islamophobic if you think Isil is in some way representative of all Islam. Which you could argue is sort of Islamophobic.
The people who opposed this motion are moronic beyond belief. The idea you could turn round to a Muslim Kurd and say “you are a Western imperialist Islamophobe for wanting us to condemn the people murdering and raping your countrymen” requires a level of Russia Today fuelled self-delusion.
Secondly, opposing the demonisation of a group of extremists as representative of an entire religion as a whole is a pretty shaky bridge for the NUS to walk out on; I can't imagine them refusing to criticise Israel on the basis that might stoke anti-Semitism.
Thirdly, and finally, I suppose you could make a claim for opposing the motion if it was some kind of all-out assault on Islam, using the horrors of Isil to push some fascist, racist agenda. In fact, having read the motion itself, it's an achingly Left-wing and handwringing document in itself, expressing "no confidence or trust in the US military intervention" and offering "to build solidarity" with Kurdish refugees.
Ultimately, you have to ask yourself: what does this petty squabble matter? After all, everyone remembers rolling their eyes at a similar student union resolution in their own university days.
The truth is, most of the people involved in student union politics exist in a tiny, mad, anti-capitalist bubble, and will go on to miserable lives as minor council bureaucrats, their only excitement being to stand behind winning MPs at every election, having lost their deposit standing as the "Real socialist campaign for anti-imperialist justice BOYCOTT QUICHE NOW" candidate. Oh, and marches of course – they get to go on marches and then complain that the BBC is ignoring them, because of an imagined "media conspiracy", rather than because the same people march with the same inchoate demands every weekend and it's in effect a quaint hobby, a bit like Morris dancing.
All this matters because it's a tragic shame that student politics in the UK has been completely abandoned to this myopic, pointless hard left world. People rolling their eyes at NUS goons is the start of the slide towards not caring about politics at all; insanely out of touch actions like refusing to condemn IS feed into political apathy more widely.
Maybe if student unions weren't so awful, politics would be a little bit better? It's about time the bulk of students stood up, were counted, and swept these idiots away into the dustbin of history.
Ironically, they didn't support the 2003 invasion of Iraq, and I was thanked as a guest speaker.
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