Here is an article by Eva Murray a UWS Student at Hamilton Campus. There is nothing I want to add to it, just read it.
The SNP have often been described as opportunists, jumping on bandwagons at the last minute in an attempt to gain media attention from an event, campaign or if major, a boost in the polls (don’t worry I won’t be answering any serious questions with “but have you seen the polls”).
But it wasn’t until yesterday that I saw this opportunism first hand.
As some of you may know I have been involved in the Keep UWS in Hamilton campaign, set up by Councillor Monica Lennon. I got involved because I wanted to help out in a campaign & as a UWS student I knew this was one that I could possibly really make a difference in.
Over the past few months Monica along with everyone else involved in the campaign have demonstrated in all weather, petitioned across 3/4 campuses, campaigned on referendum day to make sure students knew what was happening & we even got Jeremy Corbyn to pledge his support through signing the petition. We’ve all done our bit whether that be manning the stall at the Freshers Fayre when we were getting signatures, spreading the word in the local area or letting people know online. We’ve all dedicated time to this campaign & no one has more than Councillor Monica Lennon.
We put so much effort into this campaign, did all we could to pressure the Students Association before they held a referendum & then along with SAUWS pressured the University to listen to students & staffs wants. At it’s lowest points we never gave up. Monica always full of ideas on what we should be doing next. When many elected representatives from the area didn’t even want to know about the campaign (until that almighty U-turn & to this day i’m yet to see any of them partake in any campaigning) we were all there with Monica talking to staff & students, spreading their views & gaining support for the campaign.
This is why it’s so frustrating, yesterday the Hamilton Advertiser wanted to do a victory photo for their campaign which has been running alongside the petition Monica set up. This was such a great idea & I want to thank the Hamilton Advertiser for covering the campaign & doing all they can to help out.
The photo, a nice reminder to go alongside the one above from the day the campaign launched but sadly with short notice, people working & exams either underway or in the next few weeks, many of the people who had been there from the start couldn’t make it.
Who did turn up though was MSP Christina McKelvie with MP’s Margaret Ferrier & Angela Crawley who also brought along with them around 7 or 8 fellow SNPers including by-election candidate for the upcoming vote in January. None of these people have been out campaigning, openly pressuring the University for answers, questioning their colleague in Holyrood as to why Angela Constance wouldn’t even meet with campaigners, Jeremy Corbyn gave time to Keep UWS in Hamilton campaigners twice in 1 week & even signed the petition. Just saying. I had never seen any of these people out doing anything, in fact I know for a fact some, if not the majority hadn’t even signed the petition. Instead the SNP elected representatives gave wishy-washy answers such as this quote from Margaret Ferrier “we all wish UWS to remain in Hamilton, myself & my colleagues r keeping n close contact with senior representatives fm the uni”. So instead of being visible campaigning for students & staffs wants, they probably sent a few emails to Principal Mahoney then sat back & said that’s us done. Let’s be honest they were probably ignored.
And as for their “joint statement”, it’s all very well making a statement now when the hardwork is done & UWS have decided to stay in Hamilton but why didn’t you speak out sooner? These are your constituents, businesses in your area, UWS is the reason Hamilton is a “University town”. If UWS had went for Maxim would it have been “Och well we tried”? Because I know the campaigners I’ve gotten to know wouldn’t have accepted that & even now as a SAUWS exec officer I realise that we need to take this back to the students to see how they feel about the decision because the results of the referendum showed us that this was still their second choice. This isn’t a case closed kind of thing.
Those people who turned up for the photograph I had never seen before, I have been there from the start & helped out at every Keep UWS in Hamilton event, those people have never been near. The SNP are opportunists, jumping in a photo in an attempt to gain good publicity. These elected representatives that turned up, over the past months had the chance to really make a difference, after all it was a cross-party campaign & that was made very clear at the beginning with Monica Lennon working extremely hard to make it just that but they didn’t. These politicians did next to nothing & then as the campaign celebrates a victory turned up to pose. That’s exactly what they are, posers. Finding the nearest camera to get their face in the media for something they’ve done absolutely nothing to help with.
I want to point out now that I am not attacking these people simply because they are SNP, if they had gotten involved in the campaign & made their mark then I would be thanking them too, the point is they didn’t.
Campaigns aren’t about photo’s in newspapers. Campaigns are about helping the people in question & the people you meet along the way. It’s been so encouraging seeing the cross-campus support for UWS Hamilton, for once it felt like we were actually one big Uni, standing with our fellow students putting aside the idea that it didn’t effect us directly & instead realising what was going on was wrong! Seeing students take an interest in their campus & realising that their views matter!
I know this post has all been a bit ranty & before I stop I just want to say I’m insanely proud to have been part of this campaign from the start, I’ve met so many incredible people along the way & learned so much. As a UWS student I want to say a huge thank you to Councillor Monica Lennon who without (if you haven’t realised already) we wouldn’t have even had a campaign & I really do dread to think where UWS Hamilton would be right now. If there are 2 words to describe Monica after working alongside her on this campaign they would be Determined & Inspiring. Monica’s determination to do all she could for constituents, to represent the views of students & staff was honestly incredible. During the campaign I stood & was elected SAUWS Exec Officer (Ayr Campus), before I didn’t have any real interest in standing for anything within SAUWS but Monica really inspired me & I learned that if you want to see change, instead of standing back & watching, you need to be at that table during discussions. Putting the views straight to the right people! So Monica I really can’t thank you enough for everything & I know the fight isn’t over yet but I know whatever we find out over the next few months for UWS Hamilton, you’ll have a plan! I also want to say thank you to everyone else who campaigned to Keep UWS in Hamilton, everyone at SAUWS especially President Jack Douglas & Depute President John Black for ensuring the views of Hamilton students were always voiced at court meetings, for putting up with me bringing up the Hamilton campaign at every opportunity since I’ve been elected & welcoming me into the SAUWS family, all the Councillors who’ve been working so hard gain support for the campaign, Hamilton residents, local businesses, staff, students & everyone else who saw the injustice that was happening & decided to take a stand & do their bit. I’ve spoken to some Hamilton students since & they are so grateful for everything this campaign has done!
So as I mentioned the fight is not over, over the next few months we will see a business plan put in place for the new UWS Hamilton location to make sure it’s a viable option & of course ensure the students are happy!
We may even see the SNP elected reps helping out or maybe they’ll just carry on doing what they do best & turn up for the end photoshoot after all the hard work’s been done by someone else.