...comes from Stanley Jenkins, the oldest surviving president of the National Union of Students;
The student movement was in real danger of communist subversion at the time I was elected. By the end, that trend had been reversed. It was like a train – in my time it ran into the buffers, and we were the buffers.
It is clear that the article, as a whole, is a warning against or an attack on the left-wing candidates trying to take control of the NUS. After all, Jenkins "think it is very important that the voice of students should be heard ... provided it’s exercised sensibly," an obvious dig at the left.
There is no attempt hide the pro-moderate agenda, describing Jenkins' "success" in "lobbying his MP" and contrasting his supposed "political neutrality" with "the trend towards communism." It is no great leap to see "neutrality" as a code-word for supporting the status quo and anti-communism. Hence the approval that "steer[ing] NUS away from its communist leaning" is given.
Though offered through the medium of a 90-year-old, the opinion of the NUS as a body couldn't be clearer. "A moderate voice will always be heard, an extreme voice won’t be. It is important to be recognised as reliable and sensible ... avoid extremes."
If it were to be any obvious, then "DON'T VOTE MARK BERGFELD" would be the only words on the site. In massive, neon letters. Over and over again.
But that one point - "we were the buffers" - is the important one. The moderates probably have reason to fear that Mark Bergfeld will be awkward as President, as far as their politics is concerned. But even if he appears, unlike Stanley Jenkins, to be part of that train he will still have to act as the buffer. That is his role, within an organisation which - as all bureaucracies - has developed interests separate and above those of the group it is supposed to represent.
The fact remains that, "using the parallel of trade unionism, even the most militant of the so-called "awkward squad" are prone to selling out their members exactly as Aaron Porter did, and that members of far-left parties like the SWP are just as guilty as anybody else."