I don't really give a toss about Union politics. I'm an average student who just wants to have fun, get a good degree, and do something I excel at and enjoy. Now I'm being asked to choose whether or not the Union should stay with the NUS. What do I do?
Some people tell me that the NUS has done great things for students in the past, and that it provides us with a strong voice when issues affect students throughout the UK. Other people tell me that the NUS is mismanaged and doesn't always represent Imperial?s views. After doing a bit of research, I found out that most of this is pretty true. So it's an organisation that scores big victories but stumbles along the path, why the fuss about staying affiliated or not?
The reason why Imperial?s Union wants to leave is simple: some issues adamantly fought for by our dearest delegates didn't make the cut, as other members of the NUS disagreed with them. One of the reasons this repeatedly happens is because the NUS encompasses Higher and Further Education, which clearly aren't all too compatible. So should we leave on the back of not always getting what we want? Sounds a bit like a petulant toddler who's unhappy that mummy wouldn't buy them the newest toy. How about we accept the fact that we can't always get what we want, as, in this case, decisions are democratic. If democracy doesn't suit you, I hear Zimbabwe are accepting citizenship applications.
All these endless discussions bringing up reasons to stay and reasons to leave are really just smokescreens. The crux of the issue is very simple, do you want to:
- Have a national voice
- Not have a national voice
I don't know about you, but No. 1 sounds pretty good to me. Some people will tell you that the £46k affiliation fee can be better used by clubs and societies, but considering that most of the Union's £1.3m of income doesn't go to C&S anyways, that seems unlikely. The money will probably be lost somewhere funding some stupid float for the Lord Mayor's show, or yet another merry-go-round for me the throw up on during the Summer Ball.
At the end of the day, affiliating with the NUS is kind of like taking out an insurance policy. When you don't need it, you feel like you're wasting money. But every so often you do make use of it, and then you're pretty damn glad you had it in the first place. And therein lies a major reason why we keep having this discussion. In times where we feel like we're not getting anything in return, we act childish and cancel our policy. So don't listen to the gibberish about ?value for money? or ?diverse opinions? and just keep the insurance in case we need it in the future.