by Emilie Tapping
It was all go this evening in the Quayside Wetherspoons as hundreds of delegates met seemingly spontaneously for a pre-conference beverage. Dannie “Gruffallo” Grufferty, currently a strong favourite for the Vice President Society and Citizenship role, has taken campaigning to a different level after brokering a deal with Labour Students to stand as one of their Block of 15 candidates. She has also managed to score a Wales vote in the shape of NUS Women’s Officer (elect) Estelle Hart. Estelle, the daughter of Welsh Assembly Member Edwina Hart, has pledged to get a tattoo of the Gruffallo on her bottom if 100 people pledge to vote Dannie as their first preference.
A staunch Labour supporter, Dannie is standing on a platform of keeping Citizenship education in schools and more support for local anti-cuts campaigns. She has some big shoes to fill as Susan Nash takes a step down after two strong years as VP Soc and Cit to join the reams of unemployed sabbatical officers. A characteristically calm and collected Dannie seemed unphased this evening in Spoons.
Dannie likes to consider herself in the left ranks of Labour with credentials to match, after being an active supporter of Ed Miliband in the Labour leadership race. She says she is looking for NUS to take back what the government has hijacked and return higher education to the societal good that it once was.
Her main opponent, Akash Naik, seemed cool and calm in Spoons saying that his confidence has grown over the week. The Portsmouth sabbatical officer is running on an environmental platform, and as far as I can tell he has no factional ties.
Will this be the conference that smashes the factional dictatorship? The slates on the conference floor tell a different tale as Aaron Keily, another frontrunner takes to the stand with the far left slate. Will the rise of activism across the nation be enough to persuade the conference to elect Aaron as VP Soc and Cit? We’ll find out soon.