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Another year has passed and the University UKIP society has grown significantly. We've had one of the best turnouts for our society that I've seen in a while. While we are unlikely to become the biggest political society on campus, it is great to see so many new faces. I also welcome the fact that the other societies have grown on Campus, in both activity and membership; while we may not agree on everything, having more people actively interested in politics can only be a good thing.
I note with some irritation some students trying to dictate how the University should behave towards certain companies. It should be up to students to decide whether they wish to work for BAE Systems or other companies of that ilk. They are a FTSE 100 company with a very good graduate recruitment scheme, and those who would wish to see them banned on campus need to ask whether they feel that their fellow students can be their own moral guardians. BAE does not hide the fact that it is a high tech military company, nor the fact that it does business with lots of countries (including Israel). By all means protest, but please don't try and make decisions for anyone other than yourselves.
It's worth noting in all of this that during this month that 8 Israelis have died as a result of thugs going around stabbing people, and the BBC (showing their bias) have had the audacity to call one individual who charged at the police with a knife and was promptly shot dead, a "Palestinian" rather than a "terrorist". Not only does this imply that Palestinians endorse such horrific attacks on innocent people, it also implies that he was somehow justified in attacking civilians. Neither is true, and I'm considerably annoyed that the BBC would fail to report in a balanced manner.
In other news, I was pleased to note that Weald of Kent School (an expansion of a grammar school) is opening, giving 450 children the opportunity to have a strong education in an academic environment. I also note with bemusement that Labour oppose the measure - for people who claim to support social mobility, the fact that they support the comprehensive system astounds me. You can give me all the garbage about the comprehensive system resulting in less people slipping through the cracks you like, it has led to a situation where the top 40 schools send more pupils to Oxbridge than 1800 comprehensives put together.
One of the key policies that attracted me to UKIP was their support of grammar schools and support of technical GCSEs and apprenticeships for less academic pupils, giving every pupil a path to a good career. I hope that policy continues and the Tories will reverse this worrying trend away from grammar schools.
Thomas Turton is the Secretary of the University of York UKIP Association.