A National Union of Students representative who pledged to defeat ISIS in a bizarre campaign video has appeared on the BBC’s Daily Politics programme promising to make the NUS “ever so slightly less terrible”.
Politics student Tom Harwood was chosen to represent Durham University after making irreverent pledges to bring down the government using “violent revolution” and to build a giant statue of NUS president Malia Bouattia.
Speaking on today’s show, Harwood told host Jo Coburn the NUS is “an irrelevant student body” that fails to focus on young people’s issues.
“My issue is that the NUS doesn’t represent students anymore and it hasn’t done for a long time,” he said.
“It’s run by a very narrow group of people who come from an even narrower spectrum of opinion and they are in no way representing the issues that actually matter to students.”
Asked whether he was trying to undermine the NUS by becoming a delegate, Harwood replied: “I think they do a very good job of undermining themselves”.
Citing campus tabloid bans and an NUS boycott of Coca Cola, the second year Durham student criticised the union for ignoring problems that are actually important to students.
“Don’t pretend to be representing all students if you’re pushing toward your own narrow agenda and using the NUS as a soapbox for your quite radical views,” he said.
The anti-establishment representative also said he would push for a “one member one vote” system. Currently, only NUS delegates are able to vote for the organisation’s president.
“If every student is given the opportunity to vote for a president, hopefully we will get some more representative people,” he explained.
Current NUS president Malia Bouattia has proved to be a controversial figure, with many accusing her of anti-Semitism after she referred to Birmingham University as a “Zionist outpost”.
Harwood’s bold stance has won him students and graduate fans, with many voicing their support for his opinions on the NUS: