Labour afraid of debate?


As this is my first official blog as a fully fledged committee member of the BUCF let me take a small amount of time to say what I am about. I have been a Conservative for many years as my mind matured and coming from a family of Labour supporters this was no small step for Mark Harrop! I have worked with Nigel Evans, Ribble Valley and Fulwood MP who is Conservative and the theory itself as well as economic and foreign policies agree with me. (See my biography for all that!) Next to my blogs which I will be doing very often as I like to have my say on matters, first and foremost my blogs mean not to offend anyone from any background, the blogs are through my eyes and not necessarily those of the BUCF. I mean every word I say and will back them till the bitter end and hope to raise questions of what our great nation is and how it can be improved; you’re only as good as your last game!

As of 00:02 on Tuesday 12th of May 2009, one day before my first exam I have been a BUCF committee member for eight days and already I have been riled. For those who do not know, Jacqui Smith MP our fearless and resilient home secretary visited the University of Birmingham’s Guild of Students on Friday which would have been a great opportunity for political societies and the student body as a whole to question one of the most influential, and some may argue and others deny, potential leaders of this country. Now I for one believe that professionalism must be upheld in these situations so before I go on, No I would not condemn any throwing of bath plugholes or adult entertainment movies however amusing some reading this would find it. I was first told about the visit by Carnival VPI James Williams who, like myself was very excited about the prospect of meeting Ms Smith and asking burning questions any student keeping up to date with current affairs. I even made my question up on the spot and would have gone like:

“Gordon Brown and your party backed the commitment of the Government of no more boom and bust Britain, Labour oozed confidence and poll leads in the boom times and now shriek and stumble in the bust times leading to a budget that long after your honourable self and colleagues have left parliament , we will still be paying off and handicapping this country and future politicians, what would the honourable lady say is the proper way out and how would she have done differently”

Or something along those lines. However I and neither did anyone else get that chance, apart from those members of the Labour Party Society who were in the end the only people allowed into the Guild Council Chambers to see and ask Ms Smith questions.
I personally was riled at this fact that such as stint on democracy and freedom of speech and expression could have taken place anywhere, let alone the Guild of Students which prides itself on all students being equal in a safe and comfortable environment to express their views and of their peers. The previous BUCF administration have had speakers such as George Osborne , David Cameron, Michael Gove and other influential speakers come to visit and have always left the door open for anyone wishing to attend as that is exactly what politics is about, debate and opinion. However in the Labour societies view it is about hiding what they know could be an embarrassment to them, just like their government has been.

I have no qualms about saying this as I feel it is an utter shambles that firstly the Guild agreed to this (and why?!) and that the labour society let it proceed. An investigation has been launched into the matter and I will be bringing this point up at Guild Council on Thursday to see what can be found out, however eight days in and my confidence in the labour society to show respect to another party society is severely shaken. The results of my investigation shall be posted on my next blog. However already I see light at the end of the tunnel as apparently the first opening words from Ms Smith were along the lines of:

“I am so glad to see supporters of our party here and would like to extend my invite to all you members to come down to my constituency next May for even a few hours to help flyer post and overall campaign, you will be welcomed with open arms for whatever you can do –hint of desperation in the voice im told- “

400 majority, a failed government, no wonder Ms Smith, No Wonder!


28 thoughts on “Labour afraid of debate?

  1. This is completely ridiculous. I suggest you get your facts right mate before spewing this kind of rubbish. I look forward very much to your intervention at Guild Council.

  2. haha stupid? It was 2 very clear questions, the same questions which Mark addresses, and you take issue with, in his post. I note we have yet to recieve a straight answer on both counts. Gordon would be so proud :)

  3. That’s a well argued post, although I’m not sure I’d fancy being entertained at Jacqui’s second home.

  4. can someone confirm to me that BUCF had a members-only meeting with Boris Johnson two years ago. I was told by someone in my freshers group that I should join so I could meet him…i declined.

  5. If you recall Tom MY policy, as indicated in Marks post was open to all. I have always encouraged political debate and did indeed take some flack from my predecessors for allowing some of your members to come along to meet Cameron and Osborne.

    I can’t speak for my predecessors I shall let them defend themselves but in regard to me and my committee (the recent past) we did indeed have an open door policy so Im afraid if that is your defence it won’t wash. Again I ask you to answer the questions posed in this blog: Did Jacqui Smith come and did you extend invitations to other political societies or was it closed door?

    And DELIGHTED to see you keep an eye on our humble little blog Home Secretary. Im so sorry we did not get a chance to speak to you personally. Our invitation must have got lost in Guild bureaucracy. :P

  6. Strange that BULs didn’t blog that a holder of one of the most important public office positions visited them. And I thought they were unembarassable!

  7. I too look forward to asking this at Guild Council (If it has been put through and not left behind closed doors)

    Tom you say I have my facts wrong, well please please set me right, DID BULs invite everyone to this meeting? Because if you did then ill tear this blog down and apologise, if you didnt then ill be fighting this case til the bitter end as it is an utter farse that not only thr BULs but a new Elect-Sab would condone it, I thought the Guild was for all students, not just the few?

  8. Out of interest was she here visiting the guild / university generally or just here to privately address BULS (I know the two seem to merge sometimes)? If the latter then its pretty poor form but not terribly surprising, if the former then it’s very wrong.

  9. Mark I can assure you NO invitations were issued, hence why Tom is not answering the question. He’d rather wait until Guild Council so he can contact ‘the Bunker’ no doubt for advice on how to come up with a good spin. And Richard I think, although am not entirely sure, that it was the former. Correct me if Im wrong Tom.

  10. it’s the latter and i fail to see how its poor form.

    i have now written a blog about it, i hope people understand and get a little realistic.

  11. It’s poor form because it makes her and BULS look afraid of debate and because many students would look forward to the opportunity to hear her speak and to ask a few questions of our own.

    The political groups on campus have access to a great resource in our ability to bring in politicians and it would benefit the whole university if that resource was shared where possible.

    I’m sure that Jaqui Smith would have liked the opportunity to talk not just with her supporters (or with those who disagreed with her), but to discuss with any students who were not politically affiliated but merely interested in finding out about her and her views in person. By keeping it private you prevent that possibility.

    None-the-less it’s entirely up to BULS how they wish to run events, and if that means excluding those who are not members of your ‘club’ then so be it.

  12. No Richard. It seems it was her who said it had to be a closed event. Which makes it worse. We can’t even scrutinise our own Home Secretary now unless we’re affiliated to the Labour Party. Welcome to 21st Century British Democracy ala New Labour.

  13. Yeah I Just read Tom’s post on BULS. I hadn’t realised students with alternate points of view were considered quite so threatening.

  14. did you miss the bit where i said people with different points of view were in the room? and people asked challenging questions?

    we didn’t all go through a litmus test before hand. no one was asked to leave the room once they were in it and no one was challenged about why they were there.

    why do you lot not care about david lammy coming to a private meeting in the guild. he’s the higher education minister students would surely have more questions for him than for the home secretary. that’s not something that’s come up purely because it was organised by the guild and not BULS.

    this is an example of the BUCF lot trying to derail and demoralise the new BULS committee after their first event. It’s really unfair and really immature.

  15. Well David Lammy’s visit was so private I didn’t even know it occurred… Who was at the private guild meeting? Were you discussing Guild matters? If so why does it need to be private?

    What were you all talking about with mr Lammy?

  16. So despite the need for high security to protect her from the students, no-one even checked who had actually turned up? Sounds like her security team are about as effective as her own immigration controls.

  17. On a side note 23 responses so far to your first post… well done Mark lol

    As for the BULS domain name me thinks their blog editor should be fired for his/her shocking administration ;)

  18. You guys are quite new to this aren’t you :) In the spirit of debate and openness I encourage and look forward to you asking Tom about this at GC, and will be interested to see the results of your investigation!

  19. Thanks to BUCF’s open-door policy I’ve been able to listen to and question Gove and Osborne at separate events… the difference here is I’m in Year 13 at a local sixth form. BULS seem a long way off anything like that…

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