Today saw BULS’s 2012 Annual General Meeting (AGM) with most of the positions up for grabs. And the results are as follows for the new committee-elect:

Chair – Catie Garner

Vice-Chair – Ed Gilbert

Secretary – Areeq Chowdhury

Treasurer – Ellis Stacey

Website Editor – Alex Swanson

Communications Officer – Sam Faulding

This represents the beginning of the end for what I’d like to call, the ‘General Election generation’ of BULS. The last contingent of the BULS society who still remembers the day the final Leader’s debate came to campus, the day we met the Cabinet (shame he didn’t shake my hand) and the day we watched Giesla Stuart win Edgbaston in Joe’s Bar on results night.

I wish the new committee-elect all the best and hope they will be a progressive force for good and a committee based on consensus and mutual trust and respect.

By Max Ramsay, outgoing Vice-Chair


What’s happening across the Ocean?

Great news y’all (may as well get in the spirit of this post) America has seen its fifth consecutive month of falling unemployment; down by 8.5% to 8.3% with 243,000 jobs being created. Coupled with growth figures from last week showing a rise of 2.8% in GDP in the final quarter of 2011 (1% higher growth on the previous quarter) it’s becoming increasingly apparent that America’s strategy of economic stimulus is comparatively buoyant when next to Europe’s strategy of austerity. Yes, unemployment levels are higher than here in the UK (for now at least), but that’s primarily because of the USA’s private sector economy focus (when compared to our economy at least) and some of the weakest employment protection laws in the world.

What is beginning to emerge is that Europe’s (and more specifically, the UK’s) austerity programmes are not working. If you make too harsh a cuts to the public sector you’ll also damage the private sector as numerous contracts are arranged between the two sectors. That’s right, they’re intertwined, you attack one part too harshly it will have a knock on effect on the other.

It is hugely unlikely Cameron, Clegg and Osborne will take notice of Obama’s successes. But at least the American people hopefully will this November.


I’m sorry but “political” reasons?

20.01.12: Martin Rowson on union opposition to the health and social care bill

Andrew Lansley recently showed a prime example of how not win your case by describing the ever growing opposition to his NHS reforms as being motivated by “political” reasons.

I’m sorry but “political” reasons? The British Medical Association (BMA), Royal College of GPs, Royal College of Nurses, the Conservative dominated Commons Health Select Committee and Norman frigging Tebbit all oppose the reforms, which will open up the NHS to EU competition law, for “political” reasons? These are not organisations (with the exception of the latter obviously) that sit from the outside and attempt to vaguely analyse the inner workings of the NHS. No, these are organisations that deal with the inner workings of the NHS every single day. They know how it works. They know what will be detrimental. And they are the ones that will know that these reforms will fundamentally destroy the NHS.

Cameron said it himself, no top down reorganisations of the NHS. Now drop this bill!


Growth and all that jazz

Chris Riddell's Observer comment cartoon 15.08.10

Sorry for the break in blogging, we’re trying to up the ante this year

Probably the most pressing of all news items is the recent dismal growth figures. Over a year ago when Cameron and Osborne claimed we were “Out of the woods” and “Out of the danger zone”. How very wrong they were. With the final quarter of 2011 seeing a contraction of 0.2% this then means that in the last 15 months since Osborne’s Comprehensive Spending Review (CSR) in October 2010, we’ve had a massive 0.3% of growth. Cameron then has the audacity to blame the recent growth figures on the Euro crisis. Well I’m sorry, the UK economy has been stagnating long before the crisis began to effect.

Cameron you said it yourself, “I take full responsibility for everything that happens in the economy.” then take responsibility and change course!


AGM 2012

Now confirmed to be Wednesday 22nd February 3-5pm (unless there’s any change), every Committee position bar Fresher’s Officer and CLP Liason Officer will be up for grabs. This will be held in the Guild Council Chambers.

Everyone is encouraged to stand for any position and please feel free to contact us at committee@bulsonline.org if you have any questions. We would recommend writing a short speech to read and if anyone wants flyers or manifestos printing then send them to the BULS account and we’ll sort it. However, this is optional and we would want to reiterate that we encourage anyone to stand and get more involved! If you can’t physically  make the meeting and wish to stand for a position, email us at the above email address and someone will read it out on your behalf.

Preliminary position descriptions:


The chair liases with the National Organisation of Labour Students as well as the Guild of Students.  Organises events and chairs committee meetings and full member meetings.  Organises speakers and writes speaker-request forms.

The Chair is a financial signatory on the clubs accounts.


Assists chair in organising events. Organises transport for all events necessary, eg. Trains to national events. Assumes duties of the chair if the chair is temporarily unable to carry out his or her duties or if a complaint is made against them until it is resolved.

The Vice-chair is a financial signatory on the clubs accounts.


This Secretary takes charge of the organisational side of the club and, along with other members of the committee, helps to organise events.  Assumes duties of the chair if the chair and vice-chair are temporarily unable to carry out their duties or if a complaint is made against them until it is resolved. Also writes the minutes for full member meetings and committee meetings.  Writes the risk assessments for events.

The Secretary is also a financial signatory on the club’s accounts.


Has full-responsibility for the management of accounts.  Decides on levels of subsidies when appropriate.  Organises fundraising and Workers Beer Company summer work.

The Treasurer is a financial signatory on the clubs accounts.

Communications Officer

Writes weekly email, to be sent to all members.  Uploads member email address onto email account at start of term (with assistance if needed).

Website Editor

Has editorial responsibility over the website; http://www.bulsonline.org also jointly responsible for updating the pages on the website along with the Communications Officer.

Women’s Officer

Elected in a seperate caucus (i.e. chosen by Women only). The Women’s Officer has the job of liaising the views and grievances of all Women of the BULS ot the committee. The Women’s officer is also encouraged to organise campaigns on women’s issues such as eqaulity in the workplace, maternity leave, etc.

Black and Ethnic Minorities (BEM) Officer

Elected in a seperate caucus (i.e. chosen by Black and Ethnic Minorities only). The BEM’s Officer has the job of liaising the views and grievances of all Black and Ethnic Minorities of the BULS ot the committee. The BEM’s Officer is also encouraged to organise campaigns on Black and Ethnic Minority issues such as rascism, equality, etc.

LGBTQ Officer

Elected in a seperate caucus (i.e. chosen by LGBTQs only). The LGBTQ’s Officer has the job of liaising the views and grievances of all LGBTQ of the BULS ot the committee. The LGBTQ Officer is also encouraged to organise campaigns on LGBTQ issues such as discrimination, right to marry same sex marriages, etc.

Disabled Officer

Elected in a seperate caucus (i.e. chosen by Disabled only). The Disabled Officer has the job of liaising the views and grievances of all Disabled members of the BULS ot the committee. The Disabled Officer is also encouraged to organise campaigns on Disabled issues such as discrimination, etc.

The Iron Lady gives history a good handbagging

I could have written a blog post today about the exciting announcement regarding HS2 (in my view a worthy investment), or Ed Miliband’s speech about Labour being the party “for all times, not just bad times”, but instead I thought it would be much more fun to review the Iron Lady, out now in cinemas.

It’s a terrific irony that this film is funded by the UK Arts Council and National Lottery funding, not only because the former is being slashed by the Coalition’s Thatcherite scythe, but also because it would have been a more accurate representation of recent history if they had put 49 potential scenarios in the 1980s down on as many balls, and let Camelot or Guinevere decide the rest.

Seriously – Labour hat off – this was a noble attempt at capturing the spirit of one of Britain’s most prominent prime ministers; Meryl Streep’s impersonation of The Lady Who Was Not For Turning had me once or twice shivering in my seat, with her every mannerism and facial expression noted and re-enacted, along with that deep commanding voice the PR gurus told Mrs. Thatcher to adopt. Right up to the closing scenes, it displayed her dogged determination accurately, and managed to humanize her and generate sympathy towards her when she steadfastly refused to accept that her mind was beginning to unravel. Anyone who knows anything about Alzheimer’s, what it must be like to be elderly and lonely, and the denial of grief would appreciate this side of the film.

However, this was the problem: it could have been about any old lady looking back on her life and missing her husband (although this aspect was slightly unsettling and disturbing at times). The historical dimension to the film went beyond playing with history to deliver a message and artistic licence, almost to the point where you wondered if the film had been written by Tory publicists. The focus was entirely on Thatcher’s ‘Glorious’ moments and ‘triumphs’, mostly over men, for example her selection and early life, the Falklands war and the 1979 election. There was some fleeting real footage of the miner’s strike and the poll tax riots, and the entire period 1982 to 1990 was dealt with in approximately ninety seconds. At one point, I was appalled to see a shot of her dancing with Nelson Mandela. I expected it to focus primarily on her as an individual by the title, however there was not even a passing reference to the unemployment of the period, Thatcher’s response to the emergence of AIDS, the Westland affair, section 28, the clashes with the NUJ, Ken Livingstone and Liverpool Council…

This was not a documentary, and films are supposed to paint splashes of black and white over what was in reality only differing shades of grey. Even her deepest detractors have to admit that she had some leadership qualities (albeit perhaps without much idea of compromise), that she was – is – only human and was doing what she thought was right. However members of BULS who want to see this in the cinemas soon may find themselves wincing and cringing at many stages in this film.