THE DELEGATE 25th April 2012
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relight my fire: burns is back
Hesham Zakai Liam Burns has been re-elected President of the National Union of Students, beating Ed Marsh in the final round by 387 votes to 295. Usman Ali was eliminated in the penultimate round with 183 votes, and Kanja Sesay the round before that with 121. Liam led from the first round, where he scored 302 votes – more than double that of his nearest competitor. The 27-year-old Physics graduate spoke of the need for “consistency and momentum” throughout the election race, and is delighted that delegates have delivered just that.
Speaking to The Delegate shortly after the results were announced, Liam said: “I’m absolutely over the moon. I couldn’t be more excited. I am knackered. I am equally humbled. The other candidates were fantastic candidates and they deserve a huge amount of respect.” The margin of Liam’s victory was larger than many had expected. Liam commented: “It was a large margin in first preferences, and look I’m really happy about that, but I’m an incumbent and you hope that I’d have a broad base of support there. I think how close it came in the final round shows that the other candidates are just
as credible and ran fantastic campaigns.” His manifesto stresses the need to end student poverty and promises to make students a strong electoral force at the next General Election in the face of “political parties of all colours [who] are failing us”. Liam is a Labour party member but his success is in no small part down to his ability to unite different, often disparate, elements of the student movement. He has made concerted efforts to offer a space within NUS to elements of the far left, whilst retaining policies unpopular to them, such as a graduate tax.
He will officially begin his second term on July 1.
720 votes cast, giving a quota of 360. Round 1:Usman: 149; Liam: 302; Ed: 143; Kanja: 120; RON: 6 RON IS ELIMINATED Round 2:Usman: 149; Liam; 303; Ed marsh: 146; Kanja: 121 KANJA IS ELIMINATED Round 3: Usman 183; Liam: 335; Ed: 185 USMAN IS ELIMINATED Round 4: Liam 387; Ed 295 LIAM IS ELECTED
ANTI-UJS VANDALISM CONDEMNED JOSH FERGUSON Liam Burns has publicly condemned the vandalism that was committed on the Union of Jewish Students stall last night. Burns has made it clear to the assembled conference that such behaviour will not be tolerated, telling the culprits “We will find you.” The vandals reportedly placed stickers of the Palestinian flag, urging a boycott of Israeli goods, on the main UJS poster that was hanging on their stall. The UJS website reported on the van-
dalism last night, stating, “NUS should be a safe space for all students…whatever your views on the Israel-Palestine conflict.” This vandalism comes very closely in the wake of a visit from Chief Rabbi Lord Sacks, who said of the attack to the Jewish Chronicle, “This was an act of anti-Semitism. The deliberate defacing of the Star of David – a
sacred symbol of Judaism and of the State of Israel – was an indication of the increasingly blurred line between anti-Zi-
onism and anti-Semitism. It is part of a long, slow, insidious process to undermine academic freedom and it must not be tolerated.” A Jewish student not affiliated with the UJS (who did not wish to be named) disagreed, saying he did not feel that the vandalism was anti-Semitic: “It wasn’t anti-Semitic, although it was very childish. The UJS do talk about Zionism, however this doesn’t help the debate.”
25th April 2012
THE NATIONAL UNION OF DEMOS Anne-Claire Deseilligny
Conference voted in favour of holding a National Demonstration this morning. Despite vocal opposition, the motion was carried with a significant enough majority that there was no need for electronic voting, Kanja Sesay opened the case for a National Demonstration in 2012/2013, repeating his line from last night’s hustings that it was better to fight and lose than not fight at all. A member from Loughborough Student Union was the first to oppose the National Demonstration, arguing that conference was “deluded” if it thought that education was at risk of being privatised. He went even further and defended the privatisation of education. The delegate’s speech was interrupted multiple times by heckling, before the chair reminded conference of the importance of creating a safe space. Michael Chessum defended marching against the government, pointing out that if NUS is to be a move-
ment it should be “capable of taking our city centres and campuses, and yes, marching.” This speech received a warm welcome from the conference, although the floor turned colder for a delegate from Oxford Brookes stood up to question NUS tactics, who claimed that instead of being “led from the left”, conference should acknowledge that we are in a “centre-right country.” NUS Women’s Officer Estelle Hart gave an impassioned rebuttal in defence of a National Demo which directly rebutted the previous speaker, saying that she was “sick of being told not to disturb a cabinet made of scumbag millionaires,” an evidently popular line since she got a small standing ovation. The final opposition speech based himself not in the rhetoric of the pro-privatisation right, but in those who felt an A-B march is not enough and wins no more public support. Despite his case for a year of education rather than of protest, it was not enough to sway conference as an overwhelm-
ing majority voted in favour of action at the start of the next academic year. A cynic could say that the majority vote for this motion reflects not the political will of conference but the talent for electioneering of the delegates and their support teams as they swing further left to gain popular support for upcoming elections, especially the hotly contested and occaisionally “leftier-than-thou” race for VPHE. The fact remains, however, that once again NUS will march this year.
With the shocking resignation of two candidates yesterday, many questions have been raised in regards to access as of late. Recently however a new debate has entered the forefront of students’ minds: the lack of representation for those in Further Education. Given that 72% of registered NUS members are Further Education students, there is a perception that a hugely disproportionate amount of time is given to Higher Education issues and motions, leaving many feeling left out. Speaking against these problems, Vice-President Further Education candidate Jamil Keating claimed Further Education’s issues were “overshadowed” by Higher Education’s. Spotting a gap in NUS policy, Keating argued that Further Education delegates should receive more training, “capitalising” on their potential and
putting them in a “brilliant position” to become sabbatical officers later in their education. In favour of separate presidents for HE and FE, Keating felt there should be a “strong sense of leadership” for students in college, with the current lack of representation leading to only a “semi air of legitimacy.” Not all students feel this way however, with Keating’s competition Toni Pearce arguing that the “hangover” left by early NUS action is soon to be eradicated. Reinforcing the idea that the Union is “about collaboration” and not petty squabbles, Pearce has argued that she is the candidate who has helped “change the narrative” and that NUS is now taking “steps forward.” In contrast to Keating once again, Pearce dismissed the idea that separate presidents were needed, arguing that equal representation was given
What NOT To Say At Conference 1.What the fuck does “access” have to do with anything? 2.In the words of the great Maggie T… 3.Personally, I must say I think fee waivers are a really good idea. 4.Does “cluster fuck” have a hyphen? 5.I bet you I can whoop the loudest out of everyone in this hall. 6.Totes Amaze (ad nauseam) 7.I heard Mark Bergfeld is going into business with Philip Green. 8.Oh, leave Nick Clegg alone. 9.Usman Ali and Liam Burns should form a Coalition NUS Government. 10.Did you meet that really nice dude from Goldman-Sachs just yet? 11.When I was on my gap year in Bali (you won’t get to finish this one) 12.Can you believe that they put us in the Copthorne? Fucking cheapskates. 13. I think we should join the 1% and make peace with the authorities.
VP Union Development and VP FE Announced
FE: Left In The Dark? SEan richardson
through the VP positions and asserting that the student movement should not “marginalise” sectors within itself, as it had been by society. With the presidential elections finished and the VicePresidents’ campaigns taking centre stage however, this is an issue which is sure to be hot on the heels of earlier debate.
Magic Michael gains Gandalf’s support
Vicki Baars has been elected VP UD by 385 votes to Rebecca Bridger’s 325, after transfers. Toni Pearce has been re-elected with 127 votes to Jamil Keating’s 69 in the first round. Vicki Baars said she was “Extatic and thrilled” to be elected, after beating fellow NEC members Christina Yan Zhang and Luke Young, as well as Tom Hollick. Round one: Rebecca Bridger 180, Vicki Baars 225, Tom Hollick 110, Christina Yan Zhang 53 and Luke Young 171. Round two: Christina Yan Zhang eliminated and after transfers, Rebecca Bridger 192, Vicki Baars 246, Tom Hollick 115 and Luke Young 18. Round three: Tom Hollick eliminated and after transfers, Rebecca Bridger 237, Vicki Baars 291 and Luke Young 196.