Sir, Extremist rule in the NUS, reproduced in miniature in the Oxford University Student Representative Council of which I have first hand experience, is based on the lack of interest shown by the majority of students who are (rightly) more concerned with working for a degree than in politicking. This makes life incredibly easy for the left-wing minority to take over the NUS, and once the leadership is safely in their hands, moderates give up, allowing the militant hierarchy to become self-perpetuating. If this were to occur in any other union, the public would have been up in arms long ago.
To break minority rule, a postal ballot must be introduced. I also believe in voluntary membership, which should be permitted in any organisation which ascribes political views to its members; however, the administrative arguments against this will remain corn pelting so long as a student union both represents, and provides facilities for, its members, Thus, under voluntary membership, a student could not leave the NUS without also depriving himself of the considerable social facilities it provides. Until these two functions are separated, the structural problem of the NUS will never be solved.
Nigel Saul Vice-Chairman, Monday Club Universities Group. Secretary, Oxford University Monday Club, Hertford College, Oxford.