Democracy… Shaken, not Stirred

The Union Council meeting on November 7th was the usual cocktail of heavy debate and decision making with, judging by some of the comments found on social media sites, a sprinkling of confusion.

But one vote came from completely out of the blue and caught the eye of many onlookers, both in the chamber and on twitter – a vote made after the interval in the night’s proceedings which permitted the consumption of alcohol in the meeting. Now, as a student I’ve had my fair share of experiences with alcohol, so forgive my worrying, but doesn’t alcohol and productivity go together like water and oil?

It is well known that alcohol plays a large role in human life, more so student life, but a line must be drawn somewhere. For many, that line is drawn at the entrance to the council chamber. The union is run by students, for students, and although students want a good time, they also want fair representation, and would this kind of behaviour from our elected representatives bring that? Not even MPs are allowed alcoholic drinks, the Chancellor is the only exception to that rule, they are allowed any drink of his choosing while delivering the Budget Speech, but even they now tend to refrain from exercising their right, for fear of reprisals from the voters! Students are starting to feel out of touch with the policy makers, and this won’t help.

Fortunately for those who feared the metaphorical faeces had indeed hit the fan, Concrete understands that this motion was a temporary measure, which will not be permitted again, after the Council Chair saw what had happened in the only interval councillors received during the session that lasted almost 3 hours, and that only one potentially controversial motion was debated following the interval, on holding a referendum on the new “members only” policy introduced at the start of the semester.

“That’s alright then,” some people may cry out, those who decide Union Policy cannot be expected to go without a drink for two hours. No, no they cannot… On the other hand, the students they represent should be able to reasonably expect the policy’s to be approved by likeminded students without any unnecessary ‘distractions’. Refreshment in the middle of the meeting – that’s fine, we can force you to go without a drink. Have you heard of the £1.40 pint of coke? I’ll have mine with a slice of lemon, on the rocks.


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May 2022
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The University of East Anglia’s official student newspaper. Concrete is in print and online.

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