Letter: New Labour and old students

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The Independent Online
Sir: The real origins of the shake-up in political control at the National Union of Students in the early 1980s ("Student firebrands come of age", 27 January) had nothing at all to do with an ousting of the far left.

Rather, Labour's break from the Broad Left alliance arose from a perceived rightward shift, characterised in the Broad Left's development plan for NUS - away from diverse, broad-based campaigning, towards a narrower emphasis on matters of self-interest and polite lobbying.

This shift reflected the "student issues only" agenda being propounded at the time by the then drippingly wet Federation of Conservative Students.

Either Stephen Twigg and others have been hopelessly misled, or some New Labour apparatchik has decided upon a convenient re-interpretation of events. Or both.

MARK CASSIDY

Havant, Hampshire

The author was a Labour member of the NUS executive, 1980-81

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