Letter on Aaron Porter, NUS President


Hi Wit,

I know that you are part of Lancaster University Against Cuts and from the group, I can see that you attended the demonstration in Manchester.

I am currently writing an article for SCAN regarding several student unions’ across the country who have proposed the removal of Aaron Porter from office of the NUS President.

I was hoping you would be willing to provide a quote for the article.

Do you think Aaron Porter should be VNC’ed (Vote of No Confidence)?
Why do you think this?
Do you think Lancaster should propose a VNC against Aaron Porter?

Many thanks,



Hi Matt,

Yes, sure – as long as you don’t write any nonsense about the “extreme left”.

Anyone but the most hopelessly out of touch politico can see that Porter needs to go. We’ve seen a mass student anticuts movement develop in recent months that has far outstripped all expectations. Not only has Porter consistently betrayed both this movement and the interests of students in general, but he has done his utmost to sabotage and undermine both this movement and student interests in general. Whilst doing dodgy backdoor sell-out deals with the Government, Porter has attempted in public to appear as the coordinator and sole representative of student protests that have far outstripped both his “managerial skills” and his comprehension. Him and his cronies have proved to be the minority attempting to hijack legitimate protest.

The recent protest in Manchester only proved this: following the leafleting of the gathering crowd by 8 students who’d printed out “Heckle Porter” flyers, a few hundred angry students who’d spotted him spontaneously chased Porter into the arms of his best buddies, the police. Later, unable to stand the meaningless rhetoric of his deputy, Shane Chowen, the vice-president of NUS was booed and pelted off stage by the crowd. In short, students hate Aaron Porter and his clique so much that he will not be able to publically address them in future without risking a lynching.

This anger is not that of “left-wing extremists”. Nor of “anti-semites”. That Porter felt it necessary to smear his opponents as Nazis only proves how fragile his hold on leadership has become. This is the anger of students who see their union becoming less democratic and more self-serving. Who see the leaders of their union colluding with Government against them. Aaron Porter has always been pro-fees, regardless of whether or not he tried to rebrand this as a “graduate tax”. When asked for an alternative to raising fees by the Government, Porter urged ministers to cut grants and loans as an alternative to raising tuition fees. That is to say, Porter asked ministers to make cuts to student support services relied upon by the lowest income students. He also proposed the “introduction of a real rate of interest” for student loans, which would intensify the burden of debt for all but the richest students – i.e. those able to pay it off quickly. This is not even to mention the debacle that was his condemnation of the Millbank students and of student occupations, nor his failure to make good on his promises to provide legal aid to students facing legal and disciplinary action.

Whatever way you look at it, Aaron Porter is betraying students: whether through his careerist collaboration with an anti-intellectual and philistine government or through his sheer incompetence. He must go now.

This raises one further point: what are we at Lancaster going to do about getting rid of him? Robbie Pickles (Lancaster University Student Union’s President) has not yet firmly promised that he will not vote for Porter. The implications of the crisis of the NUS obviously run far deeper than the issue of Aaron Porter.

I hope that is useful in some way,



~ by Wit on February 2, 2011.

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