The all singing, all dancing blog of Alex Guite

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Back where I belong: on a blog

What can I say? No internet, no time, no blog. In fairness, most of the last two months have been taken up by the NUS referendum at Imperial and I try to avoid blogging during elections (hence the lengthy "retrospective" posts after the sabbatical and RCSU elections earlier in the year).

Meanwhile, a whole bunch of stuff has happened.

I finished my quite excellent summer job, a somewhat leftfield job in the construction industry in which amongst other stuff I was introduced to the independent magazine of the crane industry, Cranes Today. Did you know, for instance, that Hitachi-Sumitomo is launching a 70 ton capacity lattice-boom truck crane with carrier from Link-Belt next April? Well, I'm excited anyway. Since then I've started a PhD in Experimental Solid State Physics, but sadly have yet to come across what I imagine would be the equivalent specialist magazine, Electrons Today.

In politics, the Tories made a pitch to youth voters such as myself last week, by launching a website which labels people with personal debt as 'tossers'. Beyond the somewhat bizarre political calculation of calling a sizeable proportion of the electorate 'tossers', it turns out today that out of all the political parties, ironically enough it is the Tories who have the highest level of debt.

Easily though, it has been the NUS referendum which has dominated my life, from the last few months of preparations to the last few weeks of campaigning. I led the yes to the NUS campaign, or the joiN US campaign as I liked to call it (the excellent name came from time well spent in a pub over the summer with word-smith Martin Smith). As with any Imperial election I've been involved with in recent times, the campaign featured animals. This time it was partisan penguins appealing to voters to let them come in from the cold, to huddle up with other student unions and join the NUS. After a week of hustings in bars, lecture theatres and to frankly confused diners in the Junior Common Room, I also had a chance to get back to my debating roots in the formal NUS debate (I'm the last but one speaker right at the end).

I lost count of how many thousands of students we spoke to over the course of the campaign, but in the end it came down to a margin of just over 200 students out of over 4000 voters. With 53% voting yes (a swing of 30% from no to yes), the result put me into sound bite overdrive. So I've also lost count of the number of times I've remarked that "we're back where we belong: leaders not followers in the national student movement". Thanks to all those who campaigned for a yes vote, but in particular to Ben Harris and John Collins. Somewhat surprisingly, the Imperial College press office chose to mark the result by putting a picture of me and some bird on the College homepage. I guess it was a better picture than the one which the Imperial College Union used to illustrate the results.

In recent news, I've got toncilitus tonsillitis. The only positive spin I can put on this is that at least I've learnt how to spell the bacterial inflammation.


At Sunday, December 03, 2006 5:41:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's a shame that you were swayed by promises of discounts that you don't deserve and people dressed as penguins rather than an argument with some substance.

At Sunday, December 03, 2006 6:14:00 PM, Anonymous alex said...

Sweet, this is awesome. Live! style cowardly anonymous posting has even reached my blog.

When you write about arguments with substance, are you talking about such well reasoned ones as "it's a shame that you were swayed by promises of discounts that you don't deserve"?

We've just had a referendum with the highest turnout in Imperial's history. The arguments were heard and students have had their say. It's called democracy, get over it.


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