I am entirely glad whenever election season at UTas ends. I intensely dislike being unable to walk through the university without seeing a lot of forced smiles on pretty coloured posters and having people I have never met approach me and offer me a forest of pamphlets.
It was with this relief that I read Mathew Sharp’s wonderful article on Togatus. I completely understand Mr Sharp’s likely confusion and dismay at the abuse he is receiving as he denoted the lack of democracy involved in this year’s election.
However, it seems that in criticising the liberal intelligentsia Mr Sharp, and Togatus itself, have committed a near-heretical act.
The comments on the article on Togatus’ Facebook page were soon filled with vitriol against the two offenders. Mr Sharp was criticised as being a conservative and Togatus for daring to have the effrontery to print something from such a seemingly horrible individual as he.
I really wish that this response surprised me.
I have been in Mathew Sharps’ position. I wrote an article on last year’s election, exposing the lack of democracy and fair play in the MORE teams’ predecessor Phoenix, which involved a lot of what I perceived as nastiness towards their ill-fated opponents, Students for Students, for which I was roundly criticised.
I am not interested in student politics, nor have I ever been. I see it as being dull and ultimately quite facile. However, I AM interested in journalism and a free press.
It was no lie or defamation for Mr Sharp to write in his article that the MORE team “..shares various left-wing activist campaigns… It is no secret that political parties and agendas are involved within Tasmanian student politics…” We all know this, we all see the constant bashing of the Liberal Party alongside the lionising of the Labor Party. One need only look at the fridge in the TUU building’s tea room to know this.
Similarly, Mr Sharp wrote that “The TUU has devolved over the past few years… [and] threatens to alienate individuals who do not wish to partake in the perpetuation of politicised ideals.”
This is also quite true. If one is known to be a conservative, as I am, then one becomes persona non grata in the TUU building. Unless one is a fellow-traveller of the current administration, one is as welcome in there as red meat on Good Friday.
The unfair, unjust and unreasonable attitude of hostility towards Mr Sharp and Togatus last week may best be summed up by the great pricker of liberal deceit, Mr William F. Buckley: “Liberals claim to want to give a hearing to other views, but then are shocked and offended to discover that there are other views.”
This has been proven true today with a lot of phony outrage by a group of bullies.
One only wishes they weren’t so damned nasty about it.