A blog by Luke Akehurst about politics, elections, and the Labour Party - With subtitles for the Hard of Left. Just for the record: all the views expressed here are entirely personal and do not necessarily represent the positions of any organisations I am a member of.

Friday, March 30, 2007

Free at last

A historic week for me as a recovering former student politician.

It's NUS Conference in Blackpool and for the first time in my adult life I don't know or care who has been elected as President.

I spent a total of nearly 2 months of my life (spread over 6 years) shut in the Blackpool Winter Gardens with 1,000+ other badge-wearing activists (and at Special Conferences in Wolverhampton Town Hall and somewhere else I can't even remember) thinking about such momentous issues as 11th preference transfers for the bock-of-12; whether Left Unity or SWSS got the 2nd anti-platform speech in the funding debate; and who had the best strategy for Futher Education Union Development.

Until recently I had box files full of every leaflet handed out by every faction in the leaflet tunnel from 1990-1996, each box with a photocopied "Trotskyists not welcome here" logo taped on the outside. All thrown out when I moved house in November.

Bizarrely I was never allowed to speak from the platform by my faction - as I was judged incapable of sounding leftwing enough to swing any votes - actually maybe not so bizarrely - but did get named in speeches by other factions - most memorably the AWL's Richie Carrothers used his hustings speech for the NEC to plead with delegates "don't take your line from Luke the Nuke Akehurst and the puppet masters in the NOLS balcony".


Anonymous NeilF said...

Gemma Tumelty was re-elected with two thirds of the vote. She's good.

10:52 am, March 30, 2007

Anonymous Ian Kingston said...

Just Luke, for the record the other Emergency NUS Conference was in Derby.

1:49 pm, March 30, 2007

Anonymous Sophie said...

Ah yes I remember the pleasures of NUS conferences well - such productive times of drinking, arguing and shagging (and of course conferencing)

2:00 pm, March 30, 2007

Anonymous Andy said...

Luke, I'm not sure you can describe yourself as being in recovery until you are able to sever the strong emotional link you still clearly have with once having been NOLS National Secretary by moving that position well down your list of achievements on your blog profile thingy - may be you could start with being a Dad, then chief whip, then parliamentary candidate twice and have the NOLS stuff right at the bottom somewhere!!

3:28 pm, March 30, 2007

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Derek Draper and I have had our ups and downs over the years, but his greatest moment was when he went to Xmas conference (yes, we had two a year in those days), spoke in the student finance debate and smashed the Trots. Prompting him to go up to Simon Pottinger and say "what's it like it be *****d by Derek Draper." Pure and absolute class.

If Derek was allowed to speak, don't see why you shouldn't have been.

3:59 pm, March 30, 2007

Anonymous Anonymous said...

With an NUS National President that's a disgrace and a National Secretary that does his best to hide his alleged Labour politics belonging to an 'anti-faction' faction I'm not surprised you don't care.

3:59 pm, March 30, 2007

Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Trots are still getting trounced at Conference! A savage beating with Icepicks delivered this year.

4:01 pm, March 30, 2007

Anonymous Anonymous said...

But can anyone remember what the plant was that Derek Draper gave to Janine Booth?

4:11 pm, March 30, 2007

Blogger Luke Akehurst said...

Derek Draper, unlike me, didn't consistently take a line from Labour Students - he ran against Lorna Fitzsimons as an independent in a "straw poll" (by-election) for the NUS NEC.

9:26 am, March 31, 2007

Blogger oldandrew said...

I went as an undergraduate in about 1996 and did take my orders from you in the NOLS balcony. I took it all very seriously, listened to all the debates and had a very boring time.

I went again as a postgraduate many years later. Spent the whole time getting drunk with Nick Parrott. Had a lot of fun. There's a lot to be said for not taking student politics seriously.

8:28 am, April 01, 2007

Blogger parburypolitica said...

I went in 1999 I remember standing on some chair at a fringe meeting shouting "Pakes Pakes Pakes" at the trots. Fortunatly I was not the only one involved in this gloriously pointless activity otherwise I would have looked even more stupid than I did.

7:43 pm, April 01, 2007

Blogger Luke Akehurst said...

Will, that would be the "informal hustings" then - "Informal" in the sense of behaviour of the audience modelled on the terraces at Celtic vs. Rangers.

8:12 pm, April 01, 2007

Anonymous duncan said...

Shouting 'Pakes! Pakes! Pakes!'?? I remember (and no doubt Luke will too) when Andrew Pakes was some manner of dodgy lefty... I remember going off him when he was touting around for votes for some pointless NOLS position or other, and earlier we'd been talking very warmly about a mutual friend. We got back on that subject again when a comrade (who was marginally more likely to vote for him than I was, I suppose) said of the mutual friend, 'ugh! he's awful' (or something of that sort) and Pakes suddenly remembered that he didn't know the guy that well after all, and there was always something funny about him... I don't suppose he got either of the votes he was after.

(PS: Getting drunk with Nick Parrott at student politics events was an occupational hazard - I remember the Young Labour conference at Scarbrough, when I was more than old enough to know better!!!)

9:00 pm, April 01, 2007

Blogger parburypolitica said...

"Informal" in the sense of behaviour of the audience modelled on the terraces at Celtic vs. Rangers.

Yes that was about it.

When I used to sell tickets for a living we did West Ham ones as well as Celtic. The football ones were on a separate system which was atrocious. I was waiting for the system and having a chat with a middle aged female west ham supporter when she said that she really liked the seats she'd got as she could gob on the opposition supporters. Charming.

(PS: Getting drunk with Nick Parrott at student politics events was an occupational hazard - I remember the Young Labour conference at Scarbrough, when I was more than old enough to know better!!!)

I was at the scarbrough one a few years ago. Small world.

11:20 am, April 02, 2007


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