Posted inOpinion

The Union As It Will Be: A Letter to the Editors

Dear Editors of the failing Oxford Blue,

I was most concerned by your article of March 1st, “The Union As It Is: Starting Out”. Your implication that this institution is the same “every year” is cruel, hurtful and fundamentally untrue. Clearly the author has not spent much time in the Onion, and his observations are based on a series of miscommunications about Oxford’s most dynamic and exciting society.

This year has been particularly dynamic. Back in Michaelmas, when we actually had a termcard, the Onion was a veritable hive of excitement, as a team of intrepid seccies scouted out which Christ Church freshers we would like to someday be Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. In Hilary, the Onion mobilised in an unmatched display of solidarity to face down the cruel, hurtful, and fundamentally untrue articles in the failing Oxford Blue. Through a combination of sharp-tongued persuasion and blazing righteous rage, we were able to show our fierce commitment to supporting the ambition of our friends. And we’re just getting started. The incoming President has already led a once-in-a-year ambitious campaign to abolish slates. Legend has it, he may even be permitted to organise his own events going forward.

Some people have claimed that there might be a “revolving door” between the Onion and some of the other institutions in Oxford. To which I say, old news. Some of my friends in college weren’t the biggest fans of the profiles of Onion candidates which went out at the end of last term. But who’s afraid of a bit of hagiography? Indeed, if anyone is worthy of hagiography, it is one of our latest candidates, who has tirelessly campaigned for her right to be elected.

And this may have its other benefits. Continuity should be prized in Oxford. The warm and generous friendship between the current President of Oxford SU and the current President of the Oxford Union – already tested in the intrepid act of breaking into College Balls together – should enable a seamless transition of power as they move to take up one another’s positions. I am sure this legacy of close collaboration between these two institutions will only have benefits going forward. Imagine! Someday we may even have a President (from Magdalen, mayhaps?) who rules both the SU and the Oxford Union at the same time! It will still be dynamic, though. The person will change every year.

To all the naysayers who think we’re being complacent by letting people move through the revolving door at hyperspeed, let me disabuse you of some notions. This is about competence. The most competent people in Oxford – many of whom are personal heroes – are in the Onion. There’s something about the wood-polished air that gives individual actions a certain and distinctly pungent je ne sais quoi. And to all those who do still have their reservations – then vote! The Union has a proud history of coming together to just barely deny the Presidency to candidates who have been accused of faults of unscrupulousness, misdemeanours and being an alleged racist.

No doubt the author of “The Union As It Is” would be cynical. Only the failing Oxford Blue would publish an article which is so utterly devoid of hope, change, progress (and other associated nouns). Indeed, a little birdy has told me that Cherwell rejected the piece on the grounds that it didn’t show enough goodwill towards an institution which is desperately trying to reform.

I myself have only had “positive transactions” with members of the Onion. Your reporter cannot be held entirely to fault, though. Clearly they would benefit from some debate lessons. The Oxford Union would give them a generous opportunity to shape the Conversation.


Sebastian “Bash” “Mimsy” Wobble.