Saturday, March 25, 2006

In Praise of...

Roger McGough:


I think about dying.
About disease, starvation,
violence, terrorism, war,
the end of the world.

It helps
keep my mind off things.

It's good to see some of the old 60s radicals still have principles. The nasty condemnations from the council expose how horrible the Capital of Culture agenda really is.

Friday, March 24, 2006

Cambridge Local Elections

Tom Woodcock has set up a blog recounting his experiences standing in the Romsey ward for the local council elections in Cambridge.

You can read it here.

If you're around in Cambridge get in touch with us and give us a hand campaigning, and help the man George Galloway called 'the best looking of all our parliamentary candidates' get on to Cambridge City Council.

In Anticipation...

Term has ended, and is segueing nicely into real politics. The next week will be a pretty eventful one, moving seemlessly from Industrial Action to bureaucracy and back to militant protest.

Firstly, we have the 28th March: 1.5 million Local Government workers will be on strike over pensions. Of these people two thirds will be women. This is the biggest strike since 1926, and the largest number of women striking ever. This promises to be fantastic, militant and achieve massive support; nine unions on strike, all with at least 70 percent voting yes. These people are a prime example of the growing resistance to New Labour's agenda, and I hope everyone attends the picket lines, offers support and helps boost confidence and drive the action forward.

If that's not enough, France will be on general strike; un jour de joie indeed.

So, where will the Student movement be on this fantastic day. Well, I'd like to say on the picket lines, but the reality is a fair proportion of it will be in Blackpool, for the stars have aligned in such a way that the 28th is also the first day of NUS Conference. Student Respect is, I hope, set to make a bit of a splash at Conference this year. We've only been around since the beginning of the academic year, but we already look set to have a pretty sizeable delegation, and we're standing three impressively strong candidates for the NEC: Suzy Wylie, Hanif Leylabi and Matt Collins. I'm not gonna make too many hackish predictions about what goes on at conference, but I will make this one: Student Respect will be the only group able to bring the experiences of the thousands of Students who protested against the war last weekend, and the workers on strike that day, on to conference floor. We'll be making the links between the war and the underfunding of pensions and education, and should present a contrast between the confidence and radicalism of these movements and the pathetic, pessimistic stagnation prevailing in NUS.

And, if that wasn't enough, we're all heading straight from Blackpool to Liverpool, because of this. It appears that everyone's favourite Northwest MP has invited Bush's favourite warmonger to come over to my home town for a chat and a night out. Jack Straw will be taking Condi to a concert at the Liverpool Philharmonic. Unsurprisingly, my old comrades in Merseyside Stop the War are not best pleased. There'll be a demo outside the Hall, and hopefully we can bring the spirit of '03 back to the streets of Liverpool. We're calling on performers to boycott the concert, and it seems to have at least got to Roger McGough. Basically, there's a simple principle behind this: The people that master-minded, executed and justified these vile imperial adventures should never be allowed to forget it. They should never be able to be in public without being reminded of it. Never.

So, hopefully you'll be on the pickets on Tuesday, or I'll see you in Blackpool, and I'll see you in Liverpool on Friday.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Elections, and NUS Hackery

It's been a while since I last blogged, mainly because I've been comicly busy with not-working. I stood in the CUSU elections to get re-elected as HE-Funding Officer, and unfortunately didn't. In fact, I got thrashed, about 1200 first preferences to 600. There is, however, an important political point that most of my friends, and even some comrades seem to be missing:

On the Ballot paper it read 'STUDENT RESPECT - TROOPS HOME' next to my name. A lot of people think that is why I lost the election, and they're probably right since I was otherwise the more experienced and knowledgeable candidate. However, what this actually means is that 600 people picked up the ballot paper and saw my name and slogan and instead of thinking 'what a cock' or 'I don't want a political union' they chose to vote for me and for what I represent. I don't know if you can call that a victory, but it gives me a lot of hope, considering the prevailing mood of apathy and anti-politics in this university. I've always thought that this was more of a myth than anything else, and this gives me some confidence.

In other news my good friend and comrade Dave Smith was beaten by only 64 votes in the presidential race. Dave is a committed campaigner and socialist and ran a stunning campaign, based on honesty, passion and a lot of political savvy. We have many disagreements, but a CUSU under Dave would have been a CUSU I was proud to be a member of, and the narrow margin of defeat shows again the potential for change in this university.

The silver lining is that I got easily elected to be NUS Conference Delegate, storming past the quota once Dave's surplus went almost entirely to me.

I'm off to London today for NUS Compositing, the most horrible, and unfortunately most important, day of the NUS calendar.

I'll blog soon with details of how to get to the March 18th Demo from Cambridge.