The NUS is made up of careerists playing at being students

This article was first published on The Spectator’s Coffee House blog on 24 May 2016.


Bright-eyed, bushy-tailed, and wary of not lobbing their mortarboards too vigorously, students graduating in the coming weeks are set for a tough time – there’s a housing crisis, a difficult economic climate, and the average starting salary for graduates hovers perilously on the £20,000 mark.

Comforting, then, that the National Union of Students has our back. Fighting valiantly against the so-called ‘marketisation’ of higher education, they offer dogmatic principles we can rely upon: namely, that university education must be free to receive; that all elected governments are secretly conniving against the people; and that all those on large salaries are somehow inherently evil.

All very honourable and right-on, but these are metrics worth measuring the NUS by, too.

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Spectator Podcast: Stepford Students

I was a guest on the Spectator’s podcast, ‘The View from 22’, in the edition released on 10 March 2016 to coincide with their magazine release on the same day.

In discussion with Mick Hume, who wrote a piece in the magazine entitled ‘The left will eat itself: Politically correct students are now falling victim to the censorious climate they helped create’, I was asked to speak as a former founding editor of The Stepford Student on the topic of student politics, so-called ‘no platforming’, and whether the toxic culture of student politics poses a threat to the ‘real’ world.

You can listen to the full podcast here, with the debate between myself and Mick from 25 minutes in.

A Stepford student on seeing the light

Published on The Spectator‘s Coffee House blog on 22 February 2016


I’ll put my hands up and admit it: I’m one of the nasties you’ve read about – a Stepford student. I was one of the original group of stony-eyed students who, our ‘brains bereft of critical faculties and programmed to conform’, conspired to set up a new publication to promote our ‘groupthink’ philosophy.

The Stepford Student was founded to tackle the picture that Brendan O’Neill painted of us in this magazine in two ways. We wanted to show that young lefties aren’t dogged by a perpetual earnestness, and do actually possess a sense of humour and an ability to laugh things off, and we wanted to bring our arguments to a wider audience beyond the gilded cages of our universities.

We failed. I ended up as the publication’s last editor, and we’ve shut up shop for good.

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