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Benefits of membership
Frogmarch 2002 - Whitby
tobyaw
Last week the students of the University of St Andrews voted — with a clear majority — not to join the National Union of Students. St Andrews remains one of four student associations in Scotland that are not affiliated with the NUS, along with the University of Dundee, the University of Glasgow, and the Glasgow School of Art.

http://www.stand-news.co.uk/news/st-andrews-students-say-no-to-nus

The arguments are rehearsed every few years. I remember a similar vote — with the same outcome — when I was a student in the early 1990s. I think the basic objections to NUS affiliation are two-fold:


  1. It would cost a significant amount of money to be affiliated with the NUS, and the benefits received in return would not match that expenditure. There is little appeal in being a net contributor to a larger organisation.

  2. Students in St Andrews feel little common purpose with other student organisations, and in particular with the viewpoints expressed by the NUS at a national level.



It strikes me that there is a parallel with Britain’s membership of the EU; we are a net contributor (and as a nation feel resentful about the size of our contribution and of what we receive in return for it), and we feel little common purpose with the overt aims of the organisation (there is little will in Britain for closer integration with Europe, or for the adoption of the Euro).

The students in St Andrews are wise enough to repeatedly reject NUS membership; I wish Britain had been wise enough to reject membership of the European project back in the 1970s. With the Westminster political parties sporadically committing to future referenda on EU treaty changes, perhaps we will have an opportunity to correct this.

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By that rationale, I presume you'll be voting for Scotland to leave the UK before any chance to vote to leave the EU comes up, since we're a net contributor with little common purpose with the overt aims of the British political establishment?

Depending on who you believe, you might get kicked out of Europe as a bonus ;-)

You make a compelling argument there! Very tempting.

While possibly not best tailored to convince you further ;-), I thought you might find this article interesting; particularly Norway's reason for staying out of the EU.

I wish Britain had been wise enough to reject membership of the European project back in the 1970s. With the Westminster political parties sporadically committing to future referenda on EU treaty changes, perhaps we will have an opportunity to correct this.
There is much about the EU that irks me, and I'd certainly be wary of much closer integration (and was averse to joining the Euro even before the recent meltdown), but on balance I'm in favour of the UK's continued membership. Leaving would be a big mistake, I think.

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