Wednesday, 19 November 2008

NUS - Guest Post - Owen Meredith

Continuing with the NUS debate, after a very amusing chat in the

comments on Blaney's Blarney
, Owen Meredith has
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!



It is spelt "lose" and "losing".
That's Keele for you!

Anonymous said...

Grow up, Andy.

Caroline Hunt

Cor it's almost exactly what I was saying a few years ago.

Andy Peterkin said...

Different "Andy", I would point out.

Owen Goal said...

Fight for it - says the man who's resigned from the Exec!

Anonymous said...

Something is only worth fighting for if you care for it, as far as i'm concerned the NUS is not worth fighting for. The only dealings we should have with the NUS are disaffliation motions.

John Moorcraft

Indeed...Its nice to see Huntism is alive and well in CF :-)

Greg Stafford said...

Leave Andy's pefect spelling alone pls.

I think Donal's (as ever rather rambling and self-important) point is probably true. But you're missing the fact that NUS conference is a huge gathering of politically interested students.

Surely CF should be turning up and running a recruitment drive with a fun theme to hoover up membership applications from the moderates who are apalled at the behaviour of the lefties?

That is all bitches...

Richard Holloway

No! no! no!

What's the point? Leave the socialists to their student politics. I love the NUS, it takes a huge number of left wing students and puts them into an organisation that does very little. If these misguided people were not fighting for 'students' they would be out campaigning for Labour or the communists. Far better to leave them to their playground politics and get on with the real battle, a Conservative government and Conservative local councils.

Andy Peterkin said...

The problem is the minimal number of moderates. Just go with the stated aim of causing as much mayhem as possible on a shoestring budget - as I say, 2003 cost £50 total.

It is perfectly doable.

Anonymous said...

Every meeting organising an NUS campaign is one that could have been spent organising a CF campaign day to a marginal. It shows bizarre priorities to say CF should use time, effort and resources so irresponsibly.

Can someone also explain what the Conservative Party actually gains even if it did well in an NUS election? The NUS doesn't matter to anyone who isn't involved in it.

Anonymous said...

Come back Forward Together, all is forgiven!


CF have as much influence as the Lib Dems, and more than many other factions within NUS. Why don't we use it?

Tom Stubbs makes noise on behalf of the Lib Dems but our rep on the block almost never turns up to NEC meetings or other NUS events; he was notably absent from Extraordinary Conference early this month.

Just like a computer; if you put rubbish in, you get rubbish out. Lets put something into NUS; you might be surprised what we get out!

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