If anyone saw our wonderful Deputy Prime Minister today speaking to Labour?s Spring Conference in Glasgow then please accept my deepest sympathy. I have never seen someone (aside from John Prescott previously) be able to read out a spin-doctored speech and not have the faintest idea what he was blabbering on about. ?Tony is so great??, ?Alan has saved our hospitals??, ?Gordon has fixed out economy??
Great one, John! So, what have you done? Failed the transport plan, screwed up the roads, suffocated the trains and dug up our green belts! Still, I suppose Tony is wise to keep you at his side so he can just make sure don?t finger anything else.
Good. I?ve got that off my chest.
The other day, I attended a ?Question Time?-style event in Bethnal Green & Bow, Oona King?s constituency (and therefore my MP). The panel also included Jeremy Vine (presenter), the Assistant General Secretary of the RMT Union, Charlotte Dawkins (ULU President), an American PhD student from the LSE and a couple of University lecturers.
It was very interesting and well done to the QMSU Politics Society for organising and running it. One thing, though, keeps sticking in my mind about that evening. Firstly the fact that when your try to get a question out of a journalist (Jeremy Vine) or out of a politician (Oona King) you get a very similar reaction: firstly evasion which is the followed by a question to the questioner, in the form of ?What do you expect from a University education? This Government has invested/reduced/increased/blah/blah*?. And in the case of Oona King, a full circular contradiction. If anyone knows of any treatment for this, please drop me a line!
Now I shall move onto something that most people have an opinion on. The NUS. Don?t all sigh at once ? and for the record, I am not anti a national union, just the current one which we have no say in and which is more wasteful than sending four elephants, two Des O?Connor LPs and a pineapple to Alpha Centauri! The National Council of the NUS (the rubber-stampy bit under Annual Conference which scrutinises the National Executive Committee) will be discussing a motion submitted by the President of the University of Westminster Students? Union which calls for the NUS to sell discount cards for £5 in an effort to raise funds for the NUS and for the local union. Indeed in the ?This Council Believes? section it actually says that the main benefit of NUS is to provide students with discounts?
Well, you can imagine the reaction around the table. Ten voting members just glanced around the room waiting for someone to start ranting. Rah! Ohhh, it was superb. We all really laid into the motion and also the NUS for failing itself and students time after time. It was taken to a vote (I think just for the amusement factor more than anything else) and FOR 0 : AGAINST 9. ?NUS is the weakest link?? followed by my interjection of a very sarcastic and hoarse ?Goodbye!?.
Oh, if only someone would take a motion to a general meeting or to referendum? we could then find out what students think £43,000 should be spent on! And certainly that would rule out any more jollies to Blackpool! It would, of course require a fair and balanced debate.
And as was iterated at that meeting, when a company offers a ?student discount? then that should be available to all students, regardless of whether they have an NUS card. At Queen Mary we don?t issue NUS cards (the logo is on the back of our College ID cards) and you couldn?t imagine how irritating it is when shopkeepers ask for the NUS card? well they always seem to be humbled after saying it to me. I believe Trading Standards are on our side here.
So, in short, my beer of the month is ?JHB? and I recommend it to you all with its very light and soft appearance it has a wonderful moreish taste; an ideal session beer at 3.8% abv.