The tyrant has no smile upon his face

In this irregular office, my morning routine has to be slightly altered – instead of cycling in as and when I wish and dumping my bike in the storeroom, thus bypassing a routine wander past the security desk, I have to go to security, get the keys for my temporary office, then go up there. 

So first: I can’t take my bike the few inches into the lobby on account of goodness knows what damage it might cause to the vinyl floor. So, I have to go and find somewhere to lock up the bike, i.e. in the office above the old one, thereby lugging the great lump of a thing up the stairs.

I am back now to the front entrance, but by now the little head of security and a crony block my way because my ID card has been lost in the move. So I have to argue my way into see the only one of ’em with any common sense, who waves me right through.

Is this normal? Well no, not really. Although I don’t have to go via reception often on campus, this week is abnormally tense due to the university’s notoriously active student union taking the Scargill approach and occupying the big lecture theatre out of solidarity for Gaza. Now, I always thought that two wrongs don’t make a right: but what do I know?

I understand that it’s somewhat rich of me to complain at disruption to my life when the occupants of the Gaza Strip are considerably more inconvenienced (to put it mildly). But is it achieving anything? There’s really nothing the university can do of any significance, so is it worth disrupting everybody else’s lives to make the point? I suppose that’s the point of industrial action, marches etc., but I’ve always been a bit suspicious of this approach. Does this not just create resentment and bitterness? It certainly seemed to in the 80s, and in my own experience of lecturers’ strikes, political action etc., it’s only inspired more work for me, and less sympathy.

Personal opinion: this is a petulant, juvenile way of reacting to an issue. Causing difficulty for those with no active participation in the problem does not help anything, it merely aggravates and bothers. Part of me feels like I should engage: having recently uncovered some of my Salford mill-worker roots I’m tempted to indulge my leftie side, but I don’t support the occupation of the old theatre just as I don’t actively support any other occupations, strikes, marches, etc., because that, most definitely, is not my place.


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