In a move almost unprecedented in NUS history, the sitting president Aaron Porter has announced he will not contest a second term in April. And, viewing the video below, can anyone really be surprised?

On 29 January, Porter was chased through Manchester by dozens of “activists”, the most aggressive of whom were wearing masks. The mob were led by somebody screaming “SCUM! SCUM! SCUM!” in Porter’s ear with the aid of a megaphone. By the time the battle cry changed to “build a bonfire and put Porter on the top” the police were escorting him towards Manchester Students’ Union.

Less than two weeks later, Porter was “kettled” by Scottish Socialist Youth in Glasgow (pictured above). The prospect of another 12 months as the focus of ugly physical intimidation was clearly not an appetising one.

Whatever you think of his politics or how he acquitted himself as NUS President, he didn’t deserve the Nick Griffin treatment.

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  9. Eh actually he wasn’t kettled by SSY. A few of us are members, but there were others there who’ve nothing to do with us. And it was an object lesson in what we, students who he’s betrayed, and continues to denigrate today, have to put up with. Except that it lasted all of thirty seconds, nobody touched him (actually the only damage caused was Aaron Porter smashing someone’s camera) and he’s fine.

    If he doesn’t want direct actioned, then he shouldn’t have been a treacherous wee shite.

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  18. I agree with your conclusion that Porter shouldn’t be subjected to threats of physical violence or intimidation, but I’m pretty sure that’s not the reason he has decided not to stand for re-election.

    I would guess that his reasons are that he knows he’s unpopular, knows he has damaged our cause by failing to lead effectively, and finally, has surmised that being roundly rejected by students in elections will only do more damage to his hoped-for future political career.

    I feel sorry for him that he has become such a hate figure, but it was his own misfortune to be elected as an inadequate leader at a time when universities became subject to an unprecedented attack by the government. His inability to lead a movement against the cuts has disappointed a lot of people and his legacy will be ever-decreasing access to university for poorer students. He has to go.

  19. Reasoned Debate says:

    Didn’t see any lefties complaining when they were shouting “Scum!” at Tories or Liberal Democrats. Aaron Porter seemed to be loving at the time if I recall.

    There were positives and negatives on the issue of tuition fees, but all the debate was drowned out by shrill anti-right hysteria.

    My heart bleeds – not.

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  22. Very unfair post. For the first time in recent NUS history, grassroots democracy is winning out. Porter lost the respect of his own movement by showing himself to be out of touch with the mood, tactics and politics of his activists. However instead of simply dismissing NUS as full of bureacratic politicians, people are getting involved and showing what they think.

    Liberal Conspiracy has posted an excellent summary here – http://liberalconspiracy.org/2011/02/21/five-reasons-why-aaron-porter-was-right-to-step-down/

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  25. Even Nick Griffin doesn’t deserve the Nick Griffin treatment. If you can’t win the argument without the use of agression, then you’ve already lost…

  26. Aaron Porter's ghost says:

    Lol Political Scrapbook, obviously you’ve never heard of left unity. Sometimes when we say ‘us’ we are referring to a unified ‘us’ that has taken action or worked together.

    And also, you’ve obviously never been intimidated if you think intimidation is holding hands in a circle while trying to someone for 2 minutes.

    Oh hacks, you do make me giggle.

  27. Aaron Porter's ghost says:

    *Trying to talk to someone that should have said

    It’s so much less controversial when you actually tell the truth, isn’t it.

  28. Of course those of us who pay taxes just look at this stuff and say that the people protesting are a bunch of middle class hooligans determined to keep their hands in our pockets! All this anger may make you feel good but it damns you with the people who make the decisions – that’s middle income tax payers in marginal constituencies if you hadn’t worked it out.

  29. Yeah I don’t really care if people say I’m middle class and selfish since I’m neither. Also, I’m quiet aware that there is a post on the SSY website about the Aaron Porter protest, ‘mate’, since I wrote the thing. Was just saying that it might be convenient for you folk here to get all OMG EVIL SOCHIULISTS! But, you know, it wasn’t just us.

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  31. Holy shit, 11 comments on a Political Scrapbook post? That’s got to be a record. Maybe you should post right-wing bollocks more often.

  32. Absolutely disgraceful, Aaron Porter did not deserve the ire of students. At a time when we were supposed to be united as students some of our own number so and poo all over it to go and split hairs. Just because one had a happy childhood doesn’t mean you have to ruin it for everyone else. Bleeding heart trots. Shame

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