LIVE BLOG: The NUS referendum debate

The Linc’s coverage of the NUS referendum debate at the University of Lincoln. Should we stay affiliated, or should we leave?

Jarrad Johnson Monday, October 3, 201614:40

Hello and welcome to The Linc’s coverage of the debate between the two official campaign groups for staying with and leaving the NUS.

The debate is open to students from The University of Lincoln and starts at 6pm this evening in the Cargill lecture theatre – in the Main Admin building.

Tune back closer to the time for updates and coverage.

Jarrad Johnson Monday, October 3, 201616:34

There’s an hour and a half to go now until the big debate kicks off in the Cargill lecture theatre.

Representing both sides of the argument will be the leaders of the two official campaign groups.
YES (stay affiliated to the NUS): Connor Delany
NO (leave the NUS): Michael Daniell
You can read their guest columns for The Linc below:


Jarrad Johnson Monday, October 3, 201617:00

Voting in the referendum is open from now until 12 noon on Friday.

Jarrad Johnson Monday, October 3, 201617:36

This is the second time in less than a year that the University of Lincoln’s Students’ Union have held a referendum on the question of NUS membership.

The result of the first referendum – held last May – saw students vote to disaffiliate from the NUS by a narrow majority of 77 votes.
Jarrad Johnson Monday, October 3, 201617:42

However, the Students’ Union decided to hold another one in order to hear the voice of the current cohort.

Supporters of the second referendum feel that the first referendum was undemocratic because there was a low turnout of 12.6 per cent of student members during a busy exam period.
Jarrad Johnson Monday, October 3, 201617:45

The SU are currently set to leave the NUS at the end of this calendar year, but this referendum will either confirm or reverse the original decision.

Jarrad Johnson Monday, October 3, 201618:08

So, why is the SU giving us a referendum on our membership with the SU?

Well back in May – Hayley Jayne Wilkinson, then SU president, said: “Put simply this debate has been about what students want from the organisation that represents them nationally and, for some time, we have felt that the focus of debate within the NUS has been far removed from the issues that our students tell us are important to them every day on campus.”
Liam O'Dell Monday, October 3, 201618:10

Vice President for Academic Affairs, John-Paul Dickie, starts tonight’s proceedings, reminding members in attendance about conduct at SU debates.

Jarrad Johnson Monday, October 3, 201618:11

The turnout at today’s debate in the Cargill is very low with around 20 people turning up to listen to both sides of the argument.

Most of them appear to be officers/student leaders of the SU.
Jarrad Johnson Monday, October 3, 201618:12

Covering the debate for The Linc this evening are:

Jarrad Johnson – Editor
Liam O’Dell – News Editor
Michael Barwise – Deputy News Editor
Liam O'Dell Monday, October 3, 201618:15

Scott Bonner, Union Chair, explains the format of tonight’s debate, whilst making it clear that he is “completely neutral when it comes to this topic”.

Liam O'Dell Monday, October 3, 201618:20

Michael Daniell has finished explaining his reasons for wanting us to leave the NUS. He seems to be repeating comments made in his article for The Linc published earlier today.

Liam O'Dell Monday, October 3, 201618:21

Calum Watt made a passionate case for Lincoln SU remaining affiliated with the National Union of Students, saying: “let’s get back in, let’s get stuck in”.

Liam O'Dell Monday, October 3, 201618:26

Our editor, Jarrad Johnson, asks if a second referendum means we can now expect an annual referendum. Connor Delany, from Yes to NUS, says he doesn’t see a problem with calling a referendum every year. Michael Daniell, from Keep Lincoln Independent, agrees.

Liam O'Dell Monday, October 3, 201618:27

Our editor, Jarrad Johnson, asks if a second referendum means we can now expect an annual referendum, given that one of the reasons given was for the current cohort to have their say. Connor Delany, from Yes to NUS, says he doesn’t see a problem with calling a referendum every year. Michael Daniell, from Keep Lincoln Independent, agrees.

Jarrad Johnson Monday, October 3, 201618:31

Calum Watt of the Yes to NUS campaign publicly disagrees with his campaign manager on the same platform, and believes we should not have another referendum for a “certain amount of time.”

Liam O'Dell Monday, October 3, 201618:48

An audience member questions the promotion of the NUS referendum and whether there should be more advertising.

Michael Daniell responds by saying he doesn’t think a lot of students will care should there be more promotion around the referendum, and that Lincoln feels “out of the way”.
Meanwhile, Connor Delany thinks there hasn’t been enough advertising. He calls for more students to get involved, arguing that “NUS is our only other outlet to get our voice heard on a national stage”, aside from Lincoln MP, Karl McCartney.
Liam O'Dell Monday, October 3, 201618:49

An audience member questions the promotion of the NUS referendum and whether there should be more advertising.

Michael Daniell responds by saying he doesn’t think a lot of students will care should there be more promotion around the referendum, and that Lincoln feels “out of the way”.

Meanwhile, Connor Delany thinks there hasn’t been enough advertising. He calls for more students to get involved, arguing that “NUS is our only other outlet to get our voice heard on a national stage”, aside from Lincoln MP, Karl McCartney.

Jarrad Johnson Monday, October 3, 201618:53

If turnout numbers are lower than the amount required, the matter will be taken to the SU trustees to make a decision from there.

Jarrad Johnson Monday, October 3, 201618:55

Are we better off financially in or out?

Michael Daniell: “Nobody knows … I’d like to say yes but there’s a degree of uncertainty.”

Connor Delany: “In the last financial year … we made money from being in the NUS.”

Liam O'Dell Monday, October 3, 201618:57

An audience member questions the promotion of the NUS referendum and whether there should be more advertising.

Michael Daniell responds by saying he doesn’t think a lot of students will care should there be more promotion around the referendum, and that Lincoln feels “out of the way”.

Meanwhile, Connor Delany thinks there hasn’t been enough advertising. He calls for more students to get involved, arguing that “NUS is our only other outlet to get our voice heard on a national stage”, aside from Lincoln MP, Karl McCartney.

Liam O'Dell Monday, October 3, 201618:59

We’ve seen some interesting facts and figures on display from both sides tonight. Connor Delany has financial reports to hand, whilst Michael Daniell has the NUS’ complete list on LGBT policies.

Liam O'Dell Monday, October 3, 201619:02

An interesting statistic from Connor Delany of Yes to NUS: Lincoln SU made £14k on NUS Extra discount cards this year.

With there being around 12,000 students at the uni, this equates to just over £1 per student. Value for money?
Jarrad Johnson Monday, October 3, 201619:09

Connor Delany highlighting the benefits of the NUS extra card if we stay.

However, there are now many discount schemes with shops across the country without requiring an NUS card.
Jarrad Johnson Monday, October 3, 201619:13

Calum Watt of Yes to NUS says the NUS “needs reform” with SUs having more direct input into policy.

Liam O'Dell Monday, October 3, 201619:14

What are the benefits of staying or leaving to individual students at the University of Lincoln?

The Yes to NUS campaign continues to mention the benefits of the NUS extra card, but are there any other advantages?

Meanwhile, Keep Lincoln Independent says the money could be spent on free kits for sports clubs or business skills such as entrepreneurship. Michael Daniell says it should be “up to students themselves as to how [the money] should be spent”.

Liam O'Dell Monday, October 3, 201619:21

Our editor, Jarrad Johnson, asks how does NUS help Lincoln in particular

Michael Daniell mentions that because of the National Union of Students’ being based in London, issues in the capital gain more attention than regional issues.

On the other hand, Calum Watt lists three things: discounts through the NUS extra card, action on poor quality housing and council tax exemptions for students.

Jarrad Johnson Monday, October 3, 201619:25

Michael Daniell: “Membership of the NUS won’t affect the university’s position in the league rankings.”

Connor Delany: “Our success as an SU is a direct result of NUS support and we would slip down the rankings if we left.”
Jarrad Johnson Monday, October 3, 201619:29

Closing statements are now taking place.

Questions are over and the debate drews to a close.
The chair Scott Bonner thanks the candidates for their participation. In turn, the audience thanks the chair of the debate with a round of applause.
Liam O'Dell Monday, October 3, 201619:35

The debate comes to an end now with closing statements from both sides.

Michael Daniell says the NUS referendum “will have long term effects” and that disaffiliation will send a message clearly and loudly that change needs to be made.
Connor Delany argues that we have already given the NUS the momentum to make changes, and that the National Union of Students is “the only way to make sure we get the best deal for students.”
Liam O'Dell Monday, October 3, 201619:36

The debate comes to an end now with closing statements from both sides.

Michael Daniell says the NUS referendum “will have long term effects” and that disaffiliation will send a message clearly and loudly that change needs to be made.

Connor Delany argues that we have already given the NUS the momentum to make changes, and that the National Union of Students is “the only way to make sure we get the best deal for students.”

Jarrad Johnson Monday, October 3, 201619:37

SU officer, Josh Grinsell spoke to The Linc after the debate and said: “I wasn’t satisfied that the no campaign weren’t able to provide more specific information on what will happen when we leave in terms of what will happen to the affiliation fee.”

Liam O'Dell Monday, October 3, 201619:39

This concludes our coverage of the NUS referendum debate.

Keep an eye on our website tomorrow when we’ll have a more detailed analysis of tonight’s debate. We’ll also have articles tackling the big issues of the NUS referendum throughout the week.

Voting is open now until 12pm on Friday. You can vote at: lincolnsu.com/elections.

Thanks for following our coverage of the debate.