The monster Labour Students have created has eaten them. Right Wing anti-NUS independents dominated the floor with NOLS leader Wes Streeting rallying the crowd till near the end of conference. NOLS exec member Stephen Findlay bitterly accused the left of “losing Labour VP welfare and creating an NEC that will leave the “Independents” to destroy national conference” in the undemocratic governance review. But is it any surprise to Labour that the left has lost all confidence in them to defend democracy when they have sold out the principles of free education, Anti-racism and Internationalism and voted for the review? Independents took almost all the full time positions with even the factional Organised Independents failing to win in the block elections getting just one on in last place. Conference passed policy declaring support for Free Education damages NUS and should be abandoned, cutting democracy, supporting the commercialisation of Student Unions and declaring opposition to Israel anti-Semitic (for which you can be No-Platformed.) The left with loyalty to the Labour Party and winning “the better Labour Indies” was crushed under the left baiting and deserted the motions debate for all but profiling opportunities. A Tory coming 5 votes short of a fulltime position should shake the complacency even the most rightwing NOLSie in the direction they are taking NUS.
Respect carried a principled argument in all areas. We submitted and spoke for policy building an NUS on the basis Free Education, anti-Neoliberal, Anti-Racist and Anti-war campaigning and opposed the right wing attempts to create little more then a New Labour ginger group. Respect took the platform repeatedly at conference and spearheaded all opposition to the leadership putting forwards a clear alternative platform for a fighting Union. Assed Baig scoring 193 against Stephen Brown in Respects highest ever vote and Siobhan Brown getting 23% and joint 2nd for VP FE (in a race where we had few delegates) was incredible. Respect also took 3rd place out of 5 on the NUS Steering committee and was 20 votes off a second block candidate, increasing our overall vote from last year. The rest of the left either collapsed or spent the entire conference simply shoring up a vote for the Part-Time exec abandoning the battles on conference floor and the task of outlining a different vision of NUS. In a conference with both the left and right compromised by loyalty to Labour Respect stood out as the only real alternative. Our young delegation held together and came out tougher more politically experienced and prepared for a fight to rebuild the left on our campuses. Another Education is Possible – Another NUS is needed.
Rob Owen – elected to national Executive
Rob Owen – 115 for National President (2nd)
Assed Baig – 193 for National Secretary (2nd)
Claire Solomen -72 for VP Welfare (4th)
Siobhan Brown -23 for VP Further Education (=2nd)
Assed Baig – 14th for Block of 12
Dan Swain – Elected to National Steering Committee