Tuesday, 22 February 2011

Nobody for President! (a limerick!)

There once was a fella' called Trueman
who had himself a didgeridoo man
so he stood for election
on a platform of non-participation
in a system that doesn't represent you man!

Monday, 21 February 2011

Election Video!

And today is the day the election video goes live. Bob Dylan eat your heart out!

Vote Trueman Video

Monday, 7 February 2011

A taste of the comming propoganda apocolypse!

Ben Trueman for President

Hello Friends!

A vote for Ben Trueman isn't a vote for this individual as president as there is no notion in his mind that he will hold the position of president. Ben doesn't see this election as about him. Its about the students. All the students, in all your mixed and varied glory! Ben doesn't see EUSA as representative of the Edinburgh University student population so his campaign is simple.

If elected, Ben does not intend to fill the post, only to hold it until EUSA changes its organisation to one which allows the diversity of Edinburgh University to shine and be heard.

For too long now EUSA representatives have perverted the student voice for their own future benefit, this leads to a student voice that's corrupted and exploited by diplomacy for personal gain. In the reformed system that Ben suggests there will be no individuals at the helm, the power and the voice will be in the masses allowing us to be strong and truly united not led by a detached group of future politicians!


Don't vote, but if you do, VOTE TRUEMAN.

Friday, 28 January 2011

Athenian Democracy in Education, A History of.

In the true spirit of 1968, I (that is Fitz, again) have decided to occupy this blog for just a little longer in order to express a few points that Ben will no doubt be raising soon in regards to this whole 'direct democracy' business, and what that could actually mean in a practical sense when it comes to the organisational structure of EUSA and perhaps the University as a whole. Actually, this has been the main point of discussion in our flat for the last few weeks, and all visitors and couch-surfers alike have been forced to participate willingly or unwillingly as the case may be in the debate. Yes, a little nerdy I know.

As for what exactly Ben is planning on doing and advocating for when he runs for the EUSA position he chooses, I will leave for him to declare in his own time. Obviously I have an inkling, but it's only fair I keep stum on the details. I'll just say that it should be exciting.

What I would like to outline here however, is just a very quick and brief contextual overview of how, in the past, educational institutions have utilised direct democracy as a means of organisation, in my opinion to the melioration of student welfare and the value of education.

In Argentina, the 1918 civil disobedience of students demanding proper representation in the governance of National Universities set an example in history of how students, when united under a justified cause, can effect the sort of change that has proven to be indispensable to education in the region (graduation rates rose by 224% in five years) but also in the third world as a whole. It set the blueprints for later student movements in Europe and North America and became a rallying cry of third world liberation movements world wide. However, to characterise this as the beginning of students demanding an expanded democracy could not be further from the truth. For centuries – yes, centuries – it has been students calling for more autonomy over their own Universities and curriculum that has been the wheel of improvement in our system. Some of the original European universities, mostly small and quiet centres of religious learning, were run on the premise that it should be the students, not principles on two-hundred and thirty thousand pound salaries, who should be in charge of the teaching and daily running of a University. From these humble origins, student emancipation and direct action has only had beneficial impact on educational value and participation. Today, we can see that modern successful universities such as the prestigious Bennington College in Vermont and the Hampshire college in Massachusetts employ a level of direct democracy in their teaching methods. Also, more and more student societies, here in Edinburgh and at other institutions are governed not by a leader or elite circle but by consensus decision making, the better-looking sister of representative democracy.

Obviously, EUSA in its present state is a representative democracy, with post-holders accountable to students through elections. Perhaps this is unfair. The passing of motions at General Meetings deserves recognition for what it is. But what also must be recognised is that the GM system as it remains has contributed to what can only be described as breathtaking apathy (or disillusion if you like) on the part of the student body. That goes without saying. Everyone running for a EUSA position will no doubt be hammering on that drum. Exactly what they are prepared to do about it, we shall wait and see.

As I see it, the problem is systemic, but no amount of negative campaigning or moaning without clear and precise positive policy is constructive or responsible. However, it is equally irresponsible to run a campaign for the purported ends of representing students without a radical response and rethink of current procedure, given the current situation.

In a University with 26,000 students each with different dreams, wishes and aspirations I find it hard to believe that is it possible for those 26,000 voices to be effectively expressed by a select few, very similar, individuals voted in by a small portion of the student population.

The majority of students I have spoken to struggle to think of occasions where their elected EUSA representatives have actually made any positive changes to their student lives and, more than that, they don't know how to express their wishes to these representatives.  Even if you do feel strongly on an issue, how can you trust that an individual, often with strong links to a political society, will represent your views in the way you want them represented to the university?  The problem, as I see it, lies within the system and the structure.  These positions we are going to be seeing plastered all over the university campus over the next few weeks should not be filled by one person they should be open so that any student can make their own voice heard in regular open meetings.

I take issue with politically motivated individuals taking control of the voice of students at this university.  I don't want someone speaking for me, especially not when that representative has all the gleaming overly-groomed personality of a future parliamentary member of the Labour Party.

Anyway, keep an eye out for more concrete and less whimsical updates from Ben in the near future about what exactly he plans to do. (Do not brace for empty promises about Kings Buildings buses, 24-hour libraries or cheaper drinks at the big cheese. Do brace yourselves for something all the more...stimulating)

A Bit About Ben


My name is Ben Trueman I'm currently in my second year of studying Social Anthropology at Edinburgh University.  As mentioned I am going to be running in the upcoming student elections for a position that I have decided not to disclose as of yet for reasons which I'm sure will become clear within the coming weeks.
Instead of basking in self appreciation I am going to get someone else to write the rest of this blog-post.


Ah yes, and so the keyboard gets passed on to me, Ben's flatmate, to give a few helpful pointers as to how to deal with the curious beast that is Ben Trueman.  The first piece of advice I could give any would-be Trueman hunters first and foremost, is to never look into look directly into his eyes.  I say this in all seriousness, do not be charmed by his handsome features and character smile.  They are poison to any self-respecting Ikea-shopping citizen.  No sooner as looking at you as he has whirled you up in mad agenda of sexual fiendishness and anti-capitalist drunken acts of civil disobedience.  Run.  Hide.  Take only what you need.

Having said that, if you have already been bitten like I have, there is no salvation.   You might as well just go with it.  Take a deep breath and acknowledge that once Ben has impregnated his way into your life, he doesn't plan on releasing his grip any time soon.  I first met him what must have been close to five years ago, and since that moment I have been trapped.

He is a really lovely guy.  He is always open to making new friends, and when he left for Australia over the summer and Greece over Christmas, I, along with all those who have had the enviable luck of of being acquainted with him, carried on our lives with that horrible knot in out stomachs that comes with not knowing if he is ever coming back.  Luckily on both occasions  he did, and much the same top bloke that he left, the same enthusiasm for life and the same respect and empathy for suffering.  So here's to him.  Raise your glasses people.  EUSA doesn't deserve the bastard.

(the rest of this article has been censored by Ben for being too full of gushing innuendo)