I demanded cats for all during my campaign as part of a serious point: the welfare of students is about more than university-level demands for coursework feedback or engagement with local communities, important things that I believe should be handled by local students’ unions and not the overarching national organisation. The NUS should be demanding big, ambitious things and fighting hard for them, not simply caving in after the first two demonstrations as it did with tuition fees. Free education should be the fundamental priority of the NUS, alongside defending public services, benefits for all and the redistribution of wealth. The NUS should stop trying to be politically neutral at a time when politicians are destroying the fabric of our society, privatising universities and wrecking education. To be neutral in a time of austerity is to side with those who benefit most from the cuts: the rich, the privileged and those who control and dominate the Conservative Party.
I think every student who voted for me knew that the demands of agrarian reform, cats for everyone and communist revolution weren’t things I could achieve overnight or by myself. But I like to believe they chose me to be their delegate because they believed my priorities were the right ones. I like to believe they elected me because they have little idea of what the NUS stands for – with good reason – and that they wanted a representative with a clear vision for a fairer society who could help give the NUS a clear direction.
I will seek to do that. As a delegate I will vote for policies and candidates that push the NUS towards my vision of what it should be: an organisation dedicated to the defence of students’ rights and to free education, an organisation that demands decent jobs and not just more “skills”, an organisation that pushes for open borders and not just for excluding international students from racist immigration policies, an organisation that trains students in political resistance, an organisation that fights for the liberation of all oppressed groups and an organisation that aims to change the very nature of society.
And if the NUS cannot deliver that, it is our responsibility as students to find something else.
But that’s for another blog post.