Orders of the Day — Student Unions (Funding)

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 12:08 am on 10th March 1988.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Gerald Howarth Gerald Howarth , Cannock and Burntwood 12:08 am, 10th March 1988

That illustrates the passion with which my hon. Friend views these matters. He is so concerned that he has anticipated the very comment that I was about to make.

At the time of the great troubles, Professor Max Beloff asked why students who had gone to university to study and learn, and to make friends, should, as part of their wider education, become involved in grotesquely trivial political matters. He said that to play a game of cricket or pursue a young lady were equally valuable pursuits. In the light of yesterday's debate in the Chamber, that seems to be a wholly honourable thing for a young man to do at university.

It was a feature of the times that, to preserve a moderate balance, in Southampton we tried to get the entire engineering section to vote at lunch time for some common sense. The trouble was that, unlike the social scientists, who kept gentlemen's hours, the engineers had to work and engage in a certain amount of discipline. They would pitch in at 5 minutes past 1, having come straight from lectures, vote down all the political nonsense from the Left, and disappear at 2 minutes to 2 to get back to lectures, and at 5 minutes past 2 the die-hard Lefties, who did not have to go back to lectures, would reverse everything that was a genuine reflection of the views of the normal students at the university.