Challenging the accepted truths of the student movement

This was originally published on Vicki Baar’s VP Union Development blog on NUS Connect on 19th December.

At Union Development Zone Conference I ran a session with Alex Peters-Day on student union democracy. We compared different kinds of structures – councils, referenda, general meetings – on the basis of how power is distributed in them. I was surprised to discover the widespread problems with student union democracy. Far too many unions have under-attended general meetings, inquorate councils, or irrelevant referenda. Continue reading


Round-up for the first semester

This was originally published in The Student on 4th December. 


We feel that this semester has been incredibly successful for EUSA and Edinburgh students. The four sabbatical officers have been working hard on our manifesto promises but the most exciting thing has been seeing our new democratic structures flourish. We have already seen a dozen or so successful campaigns co-ordinated through our structures but entirely student-led. This is fantastic.

Continue reading

President’s Report – External Council 19/11/2012

This was originally a report to External Council on 19th November.


This semester has seen an impressive array of External Affairs campaigns, involving huge number of students and touching upon a wide variety of issues. I feel that this semester’s achievements for this Council alone has already exceeded the campaigning from the whole of Student Council this time last year (which included academic and welfare campaigns) so I am delighted. I have been involved in all of these campaigns but they have been genuinely led by the student members of this Council, so the great successes that we have had are down to their hard work. I am very impressed! Continue reading

Treatment of International Students

This was originally published in The Student on 2nd October.

Gandhi apparently said “You can judge a society by the way it treats its animals”. I’m not convinced that animal welfare is quite so important in gauging human progress. A better measure might be how well a society treats its guests and newest members – those who are from elsewhere. And in this respect the treatment of international students does the UK no favours. Continue reading