Some of you might remember the Blurred Lines referendum last November. Alongside that vote, UEA held its elections for our delegates to the National Union of Students (NUS) national conference. I was one of them, elected on a manifesto of communism, agrarian reform and cats for all.
Delegates vote on NUS policy, elect members of the executive committee and elect the full-time officers of the NUS – including the President. With conference drawing closer, it’s worth looking at the candidates for President.
The candidates for this year are: Toni Pearce (incumbent), Daniel Cooper (Vice-President of the University of London Union), Aaron Kiely (NUS Black Students Officer) and Jack Duffin (a parliamentary candidate for the UK Independence Party). There is also a campaign to get Beyoncé elected as President.
As things stand, the first preference vote of this writer goes to Daniel Cooper. Strongly on the left, he’s been heavily involved with occupations, anti-cuts campaigns, campaigns for workers’ rights and the movement to turn our campuses into police-free zones.
My second preference is hovering between Aaron Keily and Toni Pearce. To the my mind the NUS has not offered enough resistance to the Tory-led government’s cuts under Toni Pearce’s leadership, but this writer also disagrees with Aaron Keily on some issues.
I will not give any preference to Jack Duffin. He is a member of a racist party whose policies would harm the lives of millions. UKIP demonises immigrants, denies the existence of climate change and opposes gay marriage. Its leader, Nigel Farage, has said that the racist Enoch Powell is his “political hero” and he also believes women are “worth less” to employers after having children. Jack Duffin himself has lectured feminists on what they should campaign on, supports abolishing affirmative action and has demanded “control of our borders”.
The NUS needs to change. It needs to resist the Tories, push for cops off campus, campaign for open borders and support free education. Some may disagree. But we should all stand against attempts by UKIP to hijack the NUS for their xenophobic agenda.