The real silent majority

Posted on February 23, 2012 by | 4 Comments

NUS conference is coming up. Motions are being; drafted, circulated, proposed and seconded all the across the country. However, soon many of these excellent motions will fall foul of the loud cries of the representatives of the “silent majority”. Any successful articulation and clear win in a debate by the left in The NUS and Student Unions will be immediately met by denouncement as being unrepresentative of the “silent majority” of students.

from University of Birmingham student newspaper Redbrick: the silent majority just a joke argument

It has becoming something a running of joke within the University of Birmingham Guild of Students and many other unions. That some  “represent” those who don’t vote, whose existence cannot be verified let alone their views and then claim that this “silent majority” in fact share their own political views. The argument follows that those of fighting to support strikes, for the use of peaceful direct action, to defend education and end Israeli apartheid are simply the voice of a “vocal minority”. This belief is taken on by those espouse protection for this silent majority against the “radical” vocal minority.

“As sabbs we can do a lot, but we can not push string, we need direction from the people who elected us and the people we now serve, we serve now nearly 30,000 students, so, tell us what you want us to do! We do things very well, but we can, we must and we will do better, not being blindsighted by trivial and meaningless little snippits, but LISTEN to the students and encourage the voice of the silent majority.”  Guild President Blog

The term “silent majority” is historically used when you are in clear minority in terms of public opinion and need to claim wider support without any evidence. Nixon started appealing to “silent majority” of Americans to stand up for the continuation of the war in Vietnam against the “vocal minority” at time when support for the war was a massive clear minority in the polls. The term traditionally meant the “silent majority” that is the “dead”, however now within student politics it means a “dead idea” being propped up by cynical disingenuous ploy to claim fictitious popular support.

We (the student left) are winning the debate on nearly all our issues that we will bring to the NUS in motions. If anything the real silent majority is now the students who support strikes, support peaceful direct action, want to see a end Israeli apartheid and create free education system but aren’t as vocal or active as the real minority of right wingers claiming the support of the “silent majority”. Support for the strikes, amongst students and young people couldn’t be more clear cut. IPOS Mori polling showed an outstanding 80% of young people supported the strikes on November 30th . The Student demo’s last year polled equally well. Imaginative peaceful direct action which has been at the heart of the “unofficial” student campaigns is also proving massively popular, 73% of respondents in a poll said they backed UK Uncut style tactics. The UK public like the majority of the rest of the world are showing increasing support for the Palestinians.

“While overall views of Israel have not moved substantially over the past year , there have been significant increases in negative views of the country among Americans (negatives rising from 31% to 41%) and Britons (from 50% to 66%).” from the BBC global poll

There are plenty of complex social, socieo-economic reasons why right views are over represented in student unions and the NUS, partly due to the fact that activism is often a luxury that only the most privileged and detached can afford. The important thing to remember is that the argument that the “silent majority” needs protecting from our unrepresentative views is a straw man argument of the losing side. NUS delegate elections maybe over however, it is now very important if you are not NUS delegate that you start prepping your unions delegates on the facts and the debates so that don’t fall prey to disingenuous “silent majority” cries at conference. If you’re a student, contact your union, find out who they are and start writing e-mails and messages to them, ask them to meet up if you can.

Be Sociable, Share!

Comments

4 Responses to “The real silent majority”

  1. CharlieNo Gravatar
    February 24th, 2012 @ 4:11 pm

    The truth is that at UoB the left are loud but small. Its the same old “rent a mob” bunch at every protest. This was evident at the protest last week on campus, not only was it relatively small in the first place but a significant proportion of those protesting were not even from UoB but rather bussed in by NCAFC and the rest of the rent a mob bunch. The vast majority of students at UoB are fairly centrist in their political views. The average opinion of the guild is not that it is too right or left wing rather its its just pathetic Wendy house politics full of students with slightly bloated political egos trying to further their own individual political agenda. Thats not what the guild is for. The likes of Edd Bauer appear to only represent the views of the Broad Left society, and I hate to break it too you, the average student is not a Broad left member nor remotely sympathetic to its views.

  2. Edward BauerNo Gravatar
    February 24th, 2012 @ 4:23 pm

    Charlie thanks for your response yes in fact the claims that the silent majority were against the demo was part of the reason why I wrote this.

    there has been a lot of vocal right wing criticism on Facebook but the polls done by our student newspaper show that 60-80% of student supported it.

    Is it not therfore fair to say that the vocal posters on Facebook are in fact the minority… while the “left” are simply the vocal wing of the “silent majority”.

    The point is there is plenty of poll evidence which I link to in this article to suggest that we are representative of the student body.

Trackbacks

  1. The Issue of the ‘Silent Majority’… « Voice of A Citizen
  2. The Issue of the 'Silent Majority'… « Voice of A Citizen | Country Running