In Defence of Liberty

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‘No to NUS’ University of Bath Manifesto

If you’re one of the 99.6% of University of Bath students that did not vote in NUS Delegate elections, or one of the many thousands that did not buy the NUS Extra card, it’s likely that you haven’t needed the NUS while you’ve been here at Bath.

Despite costing us £39,000 a year to be a member, the NUS offers us very little in return. Their National Conference is a place where factional infighting and political grandstanding come before the wishes and needs of students. There have been concerns that our own president here at Bath spending too much of his time on NUS activities and not enough on our union. Meanwhile, the NUS is spending more and more money on protests that you’ll never go to and training weekends for career politicians you wouldn’t want to vote for. We can spend that money in Bath to make your student life better: on real things that you can see, like more equipment for sports and better facilities in our union.

People who support the NUS will tell you about the discounts you get for being a part of it, but you would get the most of the same discounts with a University of Bath library card.

Will the University of Bath step out of the shadow of the NUS? (Photo: Mags D)

Will the University of Bath step out of the shadow of the NUS? (Photo: Mags D)

The NUS tells you what drinks you can buy in the bar, and what food you can buy in our union stores by Bath SU being part of their purchasing consortium. Unions that have disaffiliated from the NUS have found that they can get equal or better prices than the NUS can. The NUS shouts about how it disagrees with corporate culture, but then will cosy up to big brands in your name – just so its last president can get a management consulting job.

For an organization that says it is dedicated to democracy, the NUS has a big problem with free speech; it employs a “No Platform” policy towards speakers it deems unacceptable. This policy is forced on students unions as well. Whenever they have attempted to invite speakers covered by this policy – even to debates with their opponents – they have been met with threats from the NUS and its officers. Student media groups, which are meant to be independent of their SUs and the NUS, have also been attacked with attempted censorship by the NUS.

If you’re a normal student, then the NUS ignores you, whilst mismanaging your money and telling you that a Spotify discount is all you need as a student. If you don’t like politics, if you care about what you drink in the bar or would like our union to concentrate on its own members, then the NUS is not for you. If you don’t care, then why should we stay?

The NUS doesn’t work for you, and we’re better off without it.

It’s time to go, so vote No.

Note: This manifesto was written in conjunction with the rest of the ‘No to NUS’ University of Bath campaign team.

Update (11:36 19/04/2013): The referendum voting period is from 9 am on Tuesday 23rd April to 10 pm on Thursday 25th April. The outcome of this referendum, ratified by a simple majority on a quorate of 5%, will be binding the University of Bath Students’ Union for a period of 12 months.

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9 comments on “‘No to NUS’ University of Bath Manifesto

  1. phaseboundary
    April 19, 2013

    Quit a compelling argument. I find the “NUS supports future career politicians + career politicians are scum = funding the NUS makes the world a worse place” syllogism quite compelling. My only reservation would be the impact on the idealist:aristocrat ratio in politics.

    • phaseboundary
      April 19, 2013

      Apologies for terrible writing style. Ignore the first sentence.

      • Anthony Masters
        April 19, 2013

        Thanks. One of our main issues with the NUS is that in engages in pointless factionalism or political grandstanding, instead of being an effective representational or advocacy group for students. Now, the ‘one national voice’ for students is being overtaken by more specialised Students’ Unions groups, such as the Aldwych Group and Unions 94, and being splintered by the rise of alternate national demonstrations from NCAFC and others.

  2. JPea
    April 19, 2013

    You carp about ‘training weekends for career politicians’, describe yourself as a libertarian conservative, define yourself through your anti-NUS stance and write in knowing terms about splinter groups no one’s heard of. You are the only career politician wannabe here – are you trying to set up the High-Tea Party in Bath? What’s *your* agenda?

    • Anthony Masters
      April 19, 2013

      I am interested in politics, and I state my political opinions clearly – there’s no hidden agenda here. I don’t define myself through an anti-NUS stance, it is merely one of many opinions. I have no interest in setting up a political party. I’ve stood for public office once, and I have currently no interest in doing so again, so I am not “the only career politician wannabee” here.
      You say “no one has ever heard of” NCAFC. They are here: http://anticuts.com/
      In his opening speech to the NUS National Conference, then-NUS President Liam Burns referenced the NCAFC and their stance directly, often verbally attacking them and their opinions at other points during the conference.

  3. JPea
    April 19, 2013

    You take a huge interest in the Left for a far right wing Tory. You’ve also stood for public office (who for?). You’re exactly the person I’d trust for an unvarnished opinion on the terrible ordeal of being a member of a union.

    • Anthony Masters
      April 19, 2013

      I reject the claim that I “take a huge interest in the Left”. My last five posts prior to this one have been about: self-censorship, the claim that Margaret Thatcher literally rejected the concept of a society, Margaret Thatcher’s record in government, e-cigarettes and public health, and the effects of minimum wage laws. I blog about things that interest me.
      I would strongly reject the claim that I am “far right wing Tory”. The term “far right” is reserved in common political parlance for fascists and neo-Nazis, which is an absurd statement to be directed at myself.
      I stood for the Conservative party in a local election.
      I actually have no objection to the idea of either unions or students’ union – people have the right of association, and can form such groups if they wish. I may disagree with some of their public stances and, as this campaign shows, wish to disaffiliate from the NUS.

    • phaseboundary
      April 19, 2013

      You might think it is strange for people to take an interest in differing views… but then you’re here posting worthless ad-hominem attacks, so maybe not?

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