Saturday, 26 September 2009

SNP's areas of concerns

See this news article on the BBC

It seems that, rather than focus on the issues that matter in this economic recession, Salmond et al are more concerned about symbolic areas of importance to SNP scotland alone.

Maybe if they spent more time focusing on infrastructure, business grants, transport changes and inner city regenerations then Scotland wouldn't be struggling so much.

Thursday, 17 September 2009

NUS Opposed to Sexist Freshers' Week Promotions

The NUS National Women's Officer has launched campaign to oppose sexist marketing by a marketing company on University campuses. The company in question is involved in the promotion of the Miss University GB Competition and plan to distribute free copies of FHM at Freshers' Fairs. This competition and the magazine promote misogynistic views of women and promote the objectification of women and help propagate the deeply offensive idea that a woman's worth is contained entirely in her appearance.

Promotions such as these at Freshers' Fairs presents a lack of inclusivity that could well be alienating to young women who should be made to feel welcome as valuable members of the University. Furthermore it privileges heterosexual males and implies by the lack of inclusivity in the promotions that this group is the only one worthy of the marketeers efforts. This is clearly unacceptable.

From the NUS website:

The NUS Women’s Campaign is making a stand against two recent BAM promotions. BAM are a student’s unions marketing company who offer various promotions, advertising and events sponsorship. It has come to our attention that they supported and facilitated the promotion of the Miss University GB Competition and plan to distribute free copies of FHM at Freshers' Fairs and you can help take action.

In a society where 92% of women under the age of 22 have said that they “hate their bodies,” promoting competitions that openly objectify women and the distribution of a magazine based on the same principles is unacceptable. These sorts of competitions and media will only continue to fuel negative, unrealistic and damaging ideals of what women should look like. And, whilst pointing out the obvious, these two promotions are not accessible to all or in any way inclusive.

Olivia Bailey, the NUS National Women’s Officer, has taken action against these promotions and has sent an open letter to BAM, outlining the Women’s Campaign’s concerns about these promotions. In her letter to BAM, Olivia stated that “It is of course vital that we respect the rights of all students to engage in whatever activities they choose to, and as such we never extend our criticism to the women who choose to enter beauty pageants. Our criticism lands squarely on the shoulders of the corporations who make money out of the exploitation of women students.”

The NUS campaign provided a model letter which can be emailed to BAM ( to register a complaint:

Model letter to BAM – feel free to adapt to include your own views

Dear Sir/Madam

I am writing to express my concern about two of your recent activities. First, I understand that you have written to all students’ unions on your books suggesting they advertise Miss University GB at their institution. Second, I understand that you have facilitated the free distribution of FHM magazine at the fresher’s fairs of the unions you are contracted to work for.

I believe that Beauty Pageants like Miss University GB, and ‘lads’ mags like FHM, send the dangerous message that it is OK to value women purely on a narrow conception of beauty that bears little relation to the majority of women.

I believe that my institution should be free of the sexism and objectification that women face every day in wider society. I am disappointed that you did not more seriously consider the equal opportunities implications of the products that you have chosen to advertise.

I ask that you retract both promotions, and apologise for the negative impact that your action has had on campuses across the country.

Yours Sincerely,


New lines of communication for the Labour Club

Our industrious Chairperson has recently inaugurated a new website for the Labour Club.

You can find it at

This website will act as a messageboard for the Labour Club to promote the Club's events and campaigns. As well as this it will also enable members to more easily interact with the Labour Club, and so will hopefully strengthen the Club's democratic nature.


Tuesday, 15 September 2009

This coming year...

Dear Member,

If you believe in a progressive and radical society, then your support for the Labour Party is more important than ever before. Depending on how you look at it, this email is either the final of the past academic year, or the first of the new one. Either way, I want to take the opportunity to impress on everyone the political significance of the coming year, and the enormity of the task facing us on our return.

Since we left each other before the summer, three things have changed which together will shape politics for the next decade. Firstly, we are now within a year of a general election. Secondly, the lines along which the election will be fought are now being clearly drawn. Finally, we will be fighting this election in the face of the biggest disconnect between voters and politicians perhaps in living memory. As front line activists, this may be our biggest challenge.

The significance of the coming year for Labour and for the country cannot be overstated. Previous years in politics have been spent debating the price of a pint; this year will be different.

Our generation of students is set to graduate into the jobs market in the harshest of conditions. Further, as people with a political conscience, we are now faced with the daunting process of charting a path out of this crisis. In the former we will be helped in part by a raft of measures, which Labour has already introduced. In making the case for Britain’s future, however, we need to focus not on what we have already achieved, but what we can move on to achieve in the future. When our case is at its strongest, it is crucial that we make it clear. It is vital that, in order to win the next general election, we do not spend our time on doorsteps advocating the status quo to voters, as is the temptation for a party in power, but rather focus on future challenges and our future goals. Defending the status quo is never good politics.

For this reason, the year ahead will be crucial in shaping the form of British politics for the next decade at least. For anyone coming into politics for the first time there may be a natural aversion to joining a governing party, but as I have already said, party membership is about more than just defending the record of the government of the time, and demands the willingness to help shape the future of Labour and of the country. For those considering the renewal of their membership, remember that while governments last for years, parties last for decades if not centuries, and this is something which I have no doubt that more squeamish Conservatives such as David Cameron are now contemplating as they find themselves counted amongst the ranks of the party of Dan Hannan.

The Labour Party has the values and principles to guide Britain through the next parliament. There is no doubt, however, that when Britain emerges from the current period of political and economic strife, the landscape will have changed. As party members, it is for us to help to determine exactly what form that change will take.

Labour members are deservedly proud of our record, which includes the national minimum wage, civil partnerships, a 10.8 million tonne reduction in green house gas emissions in the last year alone and a vastly improved National Health Service which retains the values with which it was created by an earlier Labour government.

However, good campaigning is not about defending what Labour has done but rather setting out what Labour will do, and defending the status quo is no way to go about winning a general election. Labour became New Labour in the nineties in response to a changing climate and the time has come again to take stock and to revaluate. The events of the next year will impact on all of our futures, and it is for us to ensure that Labour remains an innovative and resilient force for change in the decade ahead. We can be proud of our past, but we must be focused on our future.

I look forward to seeing you all next year, and all that remains is to remind everyone that in order to sign up again, either visit our stall at the Societies Fresher Fayre, or else to contact our new club secretary, Andrew, at this email address.

Best wishes,

Calum Darling
Aberdeen University Labour Club