Observing from the media balcony, it is already hard enough keeping a track of what’s going on: what with being slightly removed from the action below, and unable to see all delegates to get an idea of the voting numbers and conference reaction to speeches. But the thing that makes it even more difficult to follow proceedings are the ‘Procedure Motions’.
The ironic thing is that they often come from people wanting to move motions forward, as they don’t think there will be time to discuss them. These discussions about saving time then can take up to half an hour! Not to mention the fact that many reasons given by delegates for moving motions forwards is that ‘it is really important to them/ they worked hard on it’, which is either blinkered or selfish of them.
Furthermore, there seems to total disregard for the fact that unions were asked to put in their priorities beforehand, and the nature of this democratic process (like all democratic processes!) means that some people will be disappointed. Of course, this means that any un-discussed motions go to the smaller collective of the NEC to decide, but they have been elected to make decisions too, and can be lobbied. The suggestion from one delegate was that NUS should facilitate online polls for any motions that aren’t discussed at conference.
And this would be a great idea, but I would only want these polls to be indicators and steers for the NEC, not decision making polls – as another part of any good democratic process is discussion, and discussions whether at Conference at large, or within NEC meetings can and do sway the decision makers even if they came to the room feeling that their opinions were set.
Certainly something must be done to encourage more unions to take part in the prioritising stage of motions before conference, and much could be arranged to ensure after-conference engagement with motions which are passed on to NEC. This way, you’d hopefully see fewer procedural motions from people worried that their pet motions aren’t going to be discussed, at the expense of someone elses motion.
What do you think? Over to you, conference *cue jazz hands*
NUS has voted in favour of another national demonstration in the forthcoming year.
Interrupting the morning’s proceedings, Burns today addressed conference concerning the attack on the National Union of Jewish Students’s conference stall. He asserted ‘There are lots of things that are special about the student movement…but perhaps the thing that is most special is the fact that we champion and celebrate diversity’, before going on to detail that UJS stall was vandalised yesterday evening, with ‘materials destroyed… and religious symbols torn or covered up’.
He went on to condemn those who had taken part, noting that ‘disgraceful..[actions like these] turns a safe space into a site of fear’, before going on to warn that ‘we will drive those responsbile out of our conference and out of our movement’, and suggested that if any vandals were present today, they would be best to ‘leave now before we find out who you are’.
Liam Burns is currently making a statement to conference after a ‘serious incident’ occurred yesterday.
A stall belonging to the Union of Jewish Students was vandalised last night.
‘Anti-semitism is vile, it is hate and has no place in our movement.’
Burns appears to blame students with grievances about Middle East politics.
Liam Burns has taken an abrasive stance In his opening address of the National President hustings event, singling out Usman Ali for special treatment.
Burns challenged Ali to back up his claims criticisms with what his alternative would be.
**Update 25 April 10:31am**
But it seemed that all candidates were bitten by the backstabbing bug, as Liam continued to challenge his current colleagues as to why they haven’t raised their concerns, or how they can complain about how the NUS is run, when they have been within the Union for at least the last two years.
Ed Marsh noted that he would be a ‘unique’ President, bringing something ‘new’ to the role. He made comments on the fact that he was most recently a student compared to the others, asking ‘when was the last time the others were in education’: with Kanja correcting Ed noting his distance learning status last year.
Look out for your keen student media types handing out The Delegate, first edition for 2012 NOW! With coverage of the candidates who have pulled out of the elections; ‘You Know You’re At Conference When’; a quick review of the Press Conference with the candidates held last month; and off-the-record tips if you fancy a flutter on the Presidential candidates.
The pressure of NUS Conference has claimed another victim: VPHE candidate Al Hussain Abutaleb. It has been suggested that his resignation is tenuously linked to that of Claire Locke, who withdrew earlier today.
Michael Chessum, Sophie Richardson and Rachel Wenstone are the remaining candidates in the VPHE race.