tobyaw: (Frogmarch 2002 - Whitby)
posted by [personal profile] tobyaw at 07:50pm on 23/11/2012 under , , ,
Last week the students of the University of St Andrews voted — with a clear majority — not to join the National Union of Students. St Andrews remains one of four student associations in Scotland that are not affiliated with the NUS, along with the University of Dundee, the University of Glasgow, and the Glasgow School of Art.

http://www.stand-news.co.uk/news/st-andrews-students-say-no-to-nus

The arguments are rehearsed every few years. I remember a similar vote — with the same outcome — when I was a student in the early 1990s. I think the basic objections to NUS affiliation are two-fold:


  1. It would cost a significant amount of money to be affiliated with the NUS, and the benefits received in return would not match that expenditure. There is little appeal in being a net contributor to a larger organisation.

  2. Students in St Andrews feel little common purpose with other student organisations, and in particular with the viewpoints expressed by the NUS at a national level.



It strikes me that there is a parallel with Britain’s membership of the EU; we are a net contributor (and as a nation feel resentful about the size of our contribution and of what we receive in return for it), and we feel little common purpose with the overt aims of the organisation (there is little will in Britain for closer integration with Europe, or for the adoption of the Euro).

The students in St Andrews are wise enough to repeatedly reject NUS membership; I wish Britain had been wise enough to reject membership of the European project back in the 1970s. With the Westminster political parties sporadically committing to future referenda on EU treaty changes, perhaps we will have an opportunity to correct this.
location: St Andrews, Scotland

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