The New Year period saw a strange phenomenon occur right across the globe. From Arkansas in the United States to Romania to Japan, thousands of birds were mysteriously found dead. The excitable view is that this means the end is nigh. The scientific view, for Romania at least, is that the birds had had too much to drink.
The student population has its own abundance of dead animals over the years, namely horses, which it continues to flog in the naive hope that this will bring back to life something which should have been buried long ago.
Dead horse flogging affects all levels of student life: from Lancaster right up to the national scene. On the national level it is the gullible, and frankly absurd, belief that students can 1) make the government retract its vote to raise the fees level to £9000 a year, and more seriously 2) that on top of this we can somehow get them to reverse all the cuts and fees period. The dead horse of free higher education is so far gone it’s practically fossilised. While this isn’t the ideal situation by a long shot, holding onto the belief that there can be a Jurassic Park revival is not going to make the current situation any better for students.
In Lancaster the dead horse which just won’t bolt is the Nurse Unit. No one with the interests of students at heart can deny that the closure of this service is a great loss, and that it continues to be right to oppose the principle of it. The reality though is that this horse is never going to get back on its feet, regardless of the best efforts of students and their representatives. Staff have been made redundant and the money has been reallocated, and while there still may be battles to be fought on these grounds, the simple truth is that the service has closed and nothing short of a necromancer will bring it back.
The danger with continuing to flog these dead creatures is that you’re not invited to join in with the funeral plans. While the government or University is away planning what happens next, they are unlikely to engage in discussions if the people they are talking with cannot accept that there is a next. Opposition to harmful decisions should always be strong, but there is a point when that opposition itself becomes harmful. That point is the loss of credibility, which if students are to make the best of bad situations is what we desperately need. There has to be a realisation that life goes on, and that to make the most of it we need to be in the world of the living.
This is not a rallying call to accepting defeat, but a reminder that life is what happens while you’re busy making other plans.