In an intriguing turn of events, UCU leaflets have themselves threatened to join the renowned annals of West Yorkshire industrial militancy in the face of persistent maltreatment from the Leeds student population.
The Whip made contact with one of the ringleaders of the proposed strike, Pam Flett: “Do you think we’ve been without struggle? I used to be a tree,” barked Pam. “I had plenty of opportunities to go down dark routes and waste my potential: receipt paper, loo roll, Rizla. As did everyone else here. We’re tired of our hard work being squandered by some blasé students. I can honestly say in all my years this ill-treatment has topped it all. And I used to be pissed on each morning by small hounds.”
Once the source of workers’ violation, the institution of printing is making steps to redeem itself by creating a unanimous basis for collective organisation. “Solidarity is easy when you’re all completely identical,” ten thousand leaflets said in perfect synchrony.
Nonetheless, while ostensibly indistinguishable, some of the leaflets are produced from recyclable material, endowing the potential strikers with invaluable insight into left-wing mobilisation. One leaflet commented: “I used to be a page in Mao’s Little Red Book. We were welcomed with open arms by students. These UCU people make some good points, whereas Marxist-Leninist doctrine could never have been successfully applied to an agrarian society!”
The Whip headed out to the picketing epicentre, the Parkinson Steps, to investigate the source of the leaflets’ discontent. 76% of observed students collected a leaflet with a notional nod, made a passing downwards glance until safely three to four metres away from the rabid lecturer, one fold, then dispatched into the most conveniently positioned bin.
In the same way the words, “sorry mate, I’ve got no change” are uttered around Hyde Park hundreds of times a day, students’ tokenistic acceptance of UCU leaflets is a candid illustration of the chasm between principle and practice in students’ support for worthy causes.