Continuing with the NUS debate, after a very amusing chat in the
Wednesday, 19 November 2008
Continuing with the NUS debate, after a very amusing chat in the comments on Blaney's Blarney, Owen Meredith has weighed into the argument:
"Now don’t get me wrong, I dislike the NUS as much as the next person. In fact, I brought a disaffiliation motion to Keele University Students Union just over a year ago. The NUS doesn’t function properly, it doesn’t represent students adequately and it doesn’t represent anything near value for money.
However, where my views disagree with some of those raised by others over the weekend is that they because of everything I have just mentioned we should walk away, and I believe that is exactly why we should stay and fight.
Look at it this way, I believe this country doesn’t function as well as it should, I believe this government doesn’t represent people well enough, and I believe this government doesn’t represent value for money. But would any of those advocating walking away from the NUS advocate walking away from this country? I think not.
They would stand up and fight for it back!
Surely as Conservatives we owe it to students to give them a conservative choice in NUS elections? Hundreds of thousands of students are represented by the NUS, and by surrendering that national voice to the left, we are letting down hundreds of thousands of people.
As a Conservative I fight battles on a basis of ideology and ideas, I don't run away from the ones we "cannot" win.
If we walked away everywhere we cannot win, then there would be tens of local councils where 10 or 15 years ago we would have stopped fighting, but now we are in control. We have to see the big picture and play the long game. By doing so we can win.
In a bizarre claim, the argument has also been put that in loosing an NUS election the Party would in some way be damaged. This is ludicrous! We loose elections all the time where we are not expected to win, by-elections recently in Glenrothes and Glasgow East are prime examples. They did no damage to the Party, and if anything standing up and fighting when you are expected to loose shows the public we are a Party of principal and a party that cares about people, not about winning. We cannot win everything and nobody expects us to. But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t offer people a choice.
And while we are on this, lets be honest for a moment; a Conservative win of the NUS Presidency would hardly be a big news story of the day, so loosing certainly wouldn’t be. (And for all those statistic hacks - since we haven’t stood in years, the swing too us will inevitably be a positive one which is always good news!)
I’m more than happy to have this debate on disaffiliation CF from the NUS. But we need to have an academic debate, rather than an emotional one. Yes, we need to fight locally and win sabbatical positions. Yes the NUS is a filing organisation. And yes, we should be pointing out to students that the NUS is wasting their money. But we also need to be fighting in unions up and down the country to win NUS delegates and start the process of change.
We’ve allowed the left to dominate the NUS for too long. It’s time to take it back!
Fight for it!