SO news is breaking that the president of the NUS Aaron Porter is to not stand again for re-election in April. After months of dithering and inaction Aaron has taken it upon himself to stand down. This will be greted with relief from many students across the land who now see Aaron as a student hate figure. I do not personally have anything against the guy think he's alright as a person but as a leader of a movement of students he has ultimatly failed. It has not been a easy job of course with the unleashing of a radicailasation within students with teh hiking of tuitian fees to university.
The farce with Lib Dem ministers who signed a pledge not voting for raising of tuitian fees.
What also didnt help his cause was an internal NUS memo urged students to stop protesting against fees and described elements of the Government’s package as ‘progressive’. Vince Cable bragged about this on the BBC’s Question Time, giving Aaron the kiss of death
To date, the NUS Presidency has proved a fairly pain-free launchpad for a glamorous political career that ends in a Labour Cabinet: ask Jack Straw, Charles Clarke and Phil Woolas. Yes, you can expect a bit of sniping from the left, but in the past NUS Presidents have relished it while being easily able to marginalise radical elements.
But Aaron Porter chose the wrong time to be a Blairite at the helm of the student movement. If the joint NUS/UCU demo on November 10th had been half as big, Porter would still be in office. But it lit a torchpaper. No-one on left or right had a real sense of the burning anger on campuses and in sixth forms across the country. Unlike previous generations, many of today’s young people feel they have no future; they feel lied to and betrayed by a cynical political elite; and they believe they’re up against a Government with no mandate.
I do actually feel sorry for Porter in a way he has obviosly been thrusted into a difficult situation he wasnt prepared for but i do think he could have done a lot lot more.
I fully expect him to turn up in a safe labour seat though one day as a MP. He has the air of a careerist polititian to me and that wouldnt surprise me to see him as a MP one day. But for now the NUS must move on and try to fidn its next leader who can harness this growing anger within students at all levels. It will be a tough job for anyone stepping into it. I dont envy them but i do hope they get the right person for the job as the next few years could be crucial.