NTU UKIP ban is an affront to democracy
In recent weeks, UKIP, and more specifically UKIP Students and Young Independence, have attempted to form a Society at Nottingham Trent University. Despite meeting each of the extensive criteria, the assorted presidents of the Student’s Union have decided to disallow the creation of a UKIP Society. This is, in short, an affront to democracy.
The reasons given for taking this appalling action have not yet been made public by the NTU Student’s Union, but the meeting at which the decision was made was apparently filled with falsities. One ‘president’ professed that there would be “mass protests” if the society were to be formed, ignoring the fact that no such demonstrations have occurred at universities with a YI Society. Another scaremongering comment was that international students would feel “threatened” by the society’s existence. It all smacks of desperation.
With the lack of validity in those comments, it leads to the only other possible conclusion- that the presidents let their political feeling influence their ruling. The Union has shown itself to be intolerant of views with which they do not agree. In short, disagree with the Union, and be prepared to be barred from any sort of representation.
Indeed the Union seem not to have read their institution’s website, which states that “if you have a particular interest or pastime, the chances are that other students will be interested in it too.” In stopping UKIP’s progress, the NTSU makes explicit that it does not feel that these students deserve a voice. It disregards the beliefs of would-be members into irrelevance.
So why should this be allowed to happen? Already formed at NTU are Conservative and Labour societies, not to mention that of the ‘Marxist and Proletariat’ group. So if YI are able to comply with the criteria, why should they not be added to this list? UKIP-supporting students’ opinions are not of less worth, and it is surely not for the Student’s Union to decide if they are. In the interests of democracy, the society’s formation should not be blocked.
UKIP are not even an obscure party either, ruling this out as an excuse. Not only did the party gain 4.5 million votes at last year’s EU Elections, becoming the first party since 1906 to beat both the Conservatives and Labour in a national election, but UKIP is increasingly popular with young people. UKIP’s youth wing Young Independence now has more than 3,000 members, an astonishing increase of 78% in 10 months. UKIP Students are now also represented at over 25 Universities across the UK and a recent poll of students saw UKIP beat both the Lib Dems and Conservatives in popularity. To ban a UKIP Students society is to defy not only democracy, but basic logic as well.
Sadly this is not the first instance of Student’s Unions showing their anti-UKIP dogma in the East Midlands. The University of Derby’s Student Union voted to ban UKIP from their campus. In that instance the Union were forced to climb down and reverse their decision, and NTU’s Union must now do the same this time.
This post was written by Dave Poole of Young Independence. Follow him on Twitter.