Q4. What would be your response if David Willets came before you tomorrow?
LB: Yes, of course. To not, would be self-indulgent.
MB: There is spinelessness because MP turned back on the pledge. How can we believe in them. Would adress David Willets with “how do you sleep at night.”
SC: Would be great to see human reaction from these people that have let us down. Most dangerous thing is us/them divide that the right wing media like. Let bygones be bygones. Let people do lobbying and everything else.
TB: David Willets has got a lot right, he has some good policies. I think we do need to listen to David Willets.
5. What have you done to deliver for nations and liberations? (remember there are 4 white men stood before us)
LB: Got lots of money and stuff under NUS Scotland. Legal entitlement for student parents etc. NUS Scotland achieved these and I am bloody proud. It is not my role to decide what policies are adopted. Makes liberation campaigns a priority for the organisation and then wins.
TB: Has not been involved for years and years but he can engage and relate. Need to do more about LGBT. I admit as someone that has not very much experience, I do whatever chairs of liberation campaigns tell me to do.
SC: Zones and sections and liberations are very isolatationist. I want to know what it is that gets people out of bed and motivated about campaigns.
MB: I stood shoulder to shoulder with black and lgbt campaigns against racism of Nick Griffin, BNP, outside BBC question time. I have made every single effort.
How will you increase widening participation?
SC: FE changes people’s lives, that stuff doesn’t happen in left-wing universities.
LB: We espouse the idea of widening participation but we don’t practice it in our own organisation and this is something that needs to be addressed.
TB: What about the forgotten 50% of students who are forgotten, that’s what I want to focus on?
How will you develop FE campaigns?
TB: NUS is far too London-centric, we need to convince student that support for FE is needed.
SC: I want to increase the number of FE sabbatical officers and I have a plan to do that. We need to stop imposing a HE model onto FE, we need a fundamental change of culture in the NUS and represent the members we currently slam the door on.
MB: It’s inspirational seeing so many FE students defending their education, we have a generation of young people willing and able to fight. We need to take this campaign forward by equipping FE colleges with the knowledge and tools they need to run effective campaigns, especially with lecturers strike coming up soon.
LB: The biggest fight we have to face is that EMA will become discretionary and local, this will create a market in student support and this is not a system we should have. There is a contradiction in saying we won’t impose a HE model but then say you want to increase the number of sabbaticals.
What is your position on direct action? What are your other priorities?
MB: I believe we need change from below. The kind of action we have seen is the way to change the world. The suffragettes and civil rights movements used violent direct action.
LB: Direct action is not my background and of the flaws with the NUS is that a lot of people aren’t comfortable with it and that has to change. One of the sad truths is there are the mechanisms in palce for the next National president to achieeve everything they want so what they will need to do is to build momentum and support.
TB: If you’re looking to riots on the streets I’m probabaly not your man. Peaceful protests do work, look at EMA for instance. I’m the candidate who can get things done.
SC: I think the longer we have these kind of debates trying to pin people down about what tactics we should use undermines the fact that we’re a 7 million strong movement that will have disagreements. It’s not acceptable that these two different camps have been allowed to exist, we need a fundamental change in culture.
One sentence summation:
TB: I’m the alternative to a labour dominated NUS
SC: I will send shockwaves through NUS and the education sectors as there has never before been a credible FE candidate.
MB: I will provide a strategy that can win.
LB: We have to be proud of our strngths and honest about our weaknesses, if you want an honest president then that’s me.