...a blog by Richard Flowers

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Day 3705: Aaron Porter – Be Careful What You Wish For…


Mr Aaron Porter is, depending on interpretation, "resigning", "standing down" or "choosing not to stand for re-election" as President of the National Union of Students.

Mr Porter is famous for shouting BETRAYAL at the Liberal Democrats because, when we were not given enough votes to put an end to TUITION FEES, we COMPROMISED to make the system more PROGRESSIVE and get the best deal for students.

IRONICALLY, Mr Porter appears to have been ousted following the revelation that he thought the Coalition's system was, er, PROGRESSIVE and that the NUS should try to get the best deal for students.

Still, I will not shed any TEARS for him; HE chose to try to ride the TIGER-monster… and now it has EATEN him.

Or as Mr Jesus might have put it: He who lives by the rhetoric of "betrayal" will die by the rhetoric of "betrayal".

Unsurprisingly, he's been given a column in the Grauniad to air his self-justification. No doubt he can look forward to many more when he receives the usual reward for being a grovelling quisling an NUS President: a safe Hard Labour seat.

Equally unsurprisingly, it makes NO SENSE at all.

I précis:

"I've done tremendously well bringing people together and leading the fight against the nasty horrid Coalition and so now I'm standing down in the interest of unity."

Er, riiiiight.

He talks about "the politics of personal attacks" which is IRONIC for a man who himself attacks Captain Clegg and Mr Dr Vince for "disgraceful behaviour", (way to play the men not the ball there, Aaron) and rather OVERLOOKS that the "attacks" that have brought him down are coming from, er, the very STUDENTS he claims that he represents.

And after all, why would the students attack him when he's been showing ONE FACE to them – one of solidarity with the campaign against tuition fees – while showing a SECOND FACE to the Universities and the Government – making the frankly OUTRAGEOUS suggestion that student fees could be kept down by cutting grants to the less well off, as well as the recent revelation that it turns out the NUS think the Coalition proposals are progressive after all!

He goes on to say: "Young people have proved that they can hold entrenched interests and uncaring governments to account"

Well, HALF right: "Young people have proved that they can hold entrenched interests."

It is CLEAR that the entrenched vested interest here is… the NUS itself!

The NUS has been acting (and always HAD acted) in the interest of careerist Hard Labour proto-drones who want face-time on the tellybox and column inches in the Grauniad when it SHOULD have been acting in the interest of the STUDENTS.

For CYNICAL and SELFISH reasons, the NUS leadership have fanned the flames of student anger over the Coalition's plans for tuition fees having kept pretty quiet when Hard Labour INTRODUCED tuition fees and pretty quiet when Hard Labour TRIPLED tuition fees and while still keeping pretty quiet about the fact that THEIR OWN PROPOSALS for a graduate tax are, fundamentally, PRETTY SIMILAR to the scheme we've ended up with.

If a graduate tax is acceptable, then the loan scheme with its higher starting point for repayments and cut-off point is ALSO acceptable; and if the loan scheme is NOT acceptable, then NEITHER is a graduate tax.

There is something frankly DISHONEST about making young people upset, afraid and angry over this when you are promising them EXACTLY the same deal under a different name.

Now I think that there is a WORD for making promises to people and then going behind their backs to break those promises… but it eludes me for the moment.

Does this mean that we will get a better representative for the students elected?

Well, as things are we shall probably get an angry young socialist called Mr Mark Bergfeld whose manifesto is:

"The fight goes on – No fees, no cuts, save EMA"

So, no change in the rhetoric, then.

(And after all, after the poison of Porter, who's likely to even THINK of standing on a platform of "let's try and make the best deal that we can get"?)

Is it better to face someone like Mr Porter who rails against you but will compromise in secret, or Mr Bergfeld who rails against you and WON'T compromise ever? And, more importantly, who is better for the STUDENTS?

Maybe, if he gets elected, Mr Bergfeld will – like the Liberal Democrats – make the UNPLEASANT discovery that you CAN'T keep all your promises all the time when you are in a position of political weakness. Or maybe he will just go on hating us.

In the end, that was Mr Porter's REAL fault. He was TOO LIKE the Liberal Democrats: spoke out against the tuition fees and then found that he couldn't actually get rid of them so tried to make things less bad.

Though at least we've shut up about abolishing tuition fees (for the duration of the Coalition) since we found we can't (for the duration of the Coalition). Mr Porter tried to have his cake AND fling it in our faces.

Declaration of Interest

Yes, yes, okay, I DID have a LITTLE bit of a controversial opinion about Mr Aaron Porter's policies… and then he resigned.

And there was that time I had a LITTLE bit of a tussle with Mr Aaron Murin-Heath… and then HE resigned.

Look, I don't JUST have it in for people called "Aaron"… it's just, if you're working your way through the ALPHABET, you have to start SOMEWHERE!

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