Kallum Taylor has called for the NUS to be ‘much bolder’, while giving a hesitant backing to incumbent NUS President Toni Pearce’s re-election campaign.
Pearce told Nouse that her plan to run for re-election was “probably the worst kept secret in the student movement”. She said she was “keen that elections don’t take over all work, which is a real problem in the NUS.” Kallum Taylor discussed the upcoming April NUS conference, which will see representatives from over 600 Further and Higher Education campuses come together to decide who will lead the union over the next year, with us.
Student unions and candidates across the country are already preparing for the national Liverpool gathering, with five presidential candidates having already thrown their hats in the ring. As it stands, there are two left-wing candidates, Aaron Kiely and Daniel Lemberger-Cooper, UKIP candidate Jack Duffin, joke runner ‘Beyoncé Knowles’ and incumbent Toni Pearce vying for the leadership.
Taylor told Nouse it has been a “tough year for the NUS”. He said that while he didn’t expect any big ‘wins’ this year, he thought Pearce had done well “rebuilding the NUS’ credibility in the eyes of individual Students’ Unions”, adding: “We’re in a good place to move forward and start winning the key debates and battles for FE and HE students, notably the funding mess which we’re now in regarding fees and lower-income student support.”
Taylor said that while “nothing has gone wrong this year, [that] won’t be enough to get through next year. The political journey looks a hell of a lot steeper than last year, [meaning] students, Students’ Unions and the NUS will have to be credible, yes, but also much bolder. I hope Toni presents a manifesto that presents this approach.”
He also challenged the NUS’ political allegiances: “Labour’s current dilly-dallying shouldn’t be given leniency simply because the current set up is an absolute train wreck.”Referring to Pearce, Taylor said “People underestimate her at their peril – and she should use this to her advantage with a powerhouse manifesto to take us into 2015.”