Tuesday, 8 June 2010

NUCA AGM - 25/03/2010

On 25th March 2010, NUCA held its AGM and elected its new committee for 2010/11. The turnout at the AGM, held in the University Staff Club, was high, reflecting the quality of the candidates standing for election. After the President and Treasurer's speeches and a vote on constitutional changes had taken place, the new committee was elected.

James Spencer was duly elected as the new President after having served with distinction as the Vice President and Campaigns Officer in 2009/10. Joseph Caulfield-Kerney was elected the new Vice President as the result of a very close election, in which he defeated Michael Holmstock on a coin-toss. Emily Burditt was duly elected as the new Treasurer and John Garrett was elected as the New General Secretary. Olivia Willett was elected as the new Social Secretary and Lizzie Hepworth as the new Publicity Officer. The new committee will take the reins after the general election, and the handover will be marked by a meal in June.

Nick Allsopp, the outgoing President, praised the new committee in a message to members, stating that "the standard of those who stood was a real testiment to the society and I feel great confidence in NUCA's future".

Oliver Jackson - NUCA Publicity Officer

Thursday, 18 February 2010

Roger Helmer - 05/02/2010

Friday saw the start of a series of lectures promoted by the Centre for European Development, and with our own MEP Roger Helmer being the first guest speaker, NUCA were out in force to give him our support.

The lecture was primarily concerned with climate change, although the first half of the lecture – given by Prof. Matthew Humphreys – proved to be a very interesting insight into the mentality of climate change scepticism. Prof. Humphreys highlighted the increasingly paradoxical nature of people’s mentality that they accept climate change is an issue which needs to be tackled – however are reluctant when any form of taxation is imposed to combat its effects.

Now, when it comes to climate change Roger Helmer’s position is perhaps the most controversial. While accepting that the climate is changing and will continue to change, man’s influence upon it is negligible. Most people, after hearing his core stance have been quick to condemn his beliefs. However, Roger pointed out a few of the misconceptions surrounding him at the start of his speech, for example, he is neither pro-pollution nor for deforestation; he is simply being what a good conservative should be – sceptical.

Being a master of the English language, Rodger spoke very convincingly. Even those in the audience who were opposed to Roger’s views could not refute that this was a topic on which Mr Helmer was extremely well read.

Recent events concerning data complications at the University of East Anglia (“climategate”) was a central part of Roger’s argument and was used almost to the level of ‘I told you so’ style smugness. My only criticism aside, I am of the opinion that as further details concerning “climategate” are released and scientists are given access to all available data, Roger’s views will become more prominent in the climate change debate.

On a wider scale Rodger Helmer represents something far more potent than the climate change debate. Rodger is a refreshing example that there is always another side to an argument and that it is never wrong to be sceptical of the mainstream approach.

James Spencer - NUCA Vice President

Belfast Trip - 30/01/2010

On the 30th of January 2010 9 members of the NUCA took a day trip to Belfast. Following an extremely early start, we touched down in Belfast at around 7 am. The snow-dusted hills around the city were an impressive sight. What struck us particularly was how quiet the inner city seemed; after leaving the airport we found a Starbucks to breakfast in (much to Joe Caulfield-Kerney’s delight) and we watched as the odd person walked across the small square below us.

After leaving Starbucks we had an impromptu game of Frisbee with Nick’s Frisbee acquired from the YBF Conference (blue, of course), then moved onto a nearby shopping centre to kill a bit of time. Following some brief shopping, we embarked on the open roof bus tour. It was an interesting experience for various reasons; first we stopped in the dockyards where the Titanic had been built, getting a chance to view her impressive dry dock. After that we went through the area where C.S. Lewis the author had been born, and then headed for Stormont, the grand and beautiful building where the Northern Irish Assembly is located. However, the next part of the tour involved cruising down the motorway. Due to the freezing cold temperature, the wind and the fact that few of us had been prepared enough to bring woolly hats and gloves, by the time we disembarked near Queen’s university we couldn’t feel our faces and our stiff knees didn’t work properly.

We thawed a little in the Ulster Museum, where we saw an exhibit on the Troubles. After this we took another tour bus through a part of Belfast where murals covered walls everywhere, ranging from faces of Rastafarians to balaclava-covered IRA members. Although the Troubles are over, it still felt like an alien world so removed from our own, one hard to understand since we were young when it was going on.

The tour ended at an office of the Ulster Unionists, where we were warmly greeted by Neil Johnson, the Campaign Manager for the Conservatives and Unionists, and given a talk about the history of the political situation in Northern Ireland and the progress which has been made, the Conservative's alliance with the Ulster Unionists, and an insight into current political events. Following the talk we were driven to East Belfast where we did a spot of leafleting, then returned to the airport to catch an afternoon flight back.

The sun was setting by the time we reached Nottingham, and we had a great view of the campus from the air. From the airport we went into town, going to the Ye Olde Trip To Jerusalem pub for a quick drink.

We then sat down at our table in Chutney. Here we were joined by other NUCA members, and the meal was a great wind-down after a packed, edifying and rather surreal day.

Chantal Lyons - NUCA Social Action Officer

Thursday, 11 February 2010

Christmas Dinner - 08/12/2009

On the 8th of December 2009 NUCA held its Christmas Dinner at the Pitcher and Piano in Nottingham. The venue, a deconsecrated church, made for a lovely setting and the NUCA table was set apart from the others, right where the altar once was. The food was well-received, particularly the goats cheese starter, and the puzzles we found in our crackers provided a great deal of amusement and confusion. Following the food Nick, President of the NUCA, gave a brief speech and an assortment of group photos were taken.

After leaving the restaurant, we made our way to the nearby Coco Tang bar, a place that’s rather hard to find unless you already know it’s there. The cocktails were exorbitantly priced but the bar’s interior and the atmosphere made up for it, and by the end of the evening we were all merry (or a bit worse for wear, in some people’s cases). Of particular interest was Hamish Stewart’s evil-smelling alcoholic drink, who when asked for the name, described it as “the wondrous Mad Hatter’s Tea Party”, containing “tea, absinthe, and Graham Nephew's overproofed rum”.

A thoroughly enjoyable evening.

Chantal Lyons - NUCA Social Action Officer

Wednesday, 10 February 2010

Pizza, Port and Policy 28/11/2009

At 8.30pm on 28th November, NUCA descended on the Bag of Nails, Lenton for another night of Pizza, Port and Policy chaired by former General Secretary Christopher Loftus. For the payment of a mere £5, one was treated to a feast of pizza washed down by fortified wine with some policy thrown in for good measure. The topics discussed ranged from Immigration to Welfare Benefits, with plenty of voice from both the left and the right of the party. Once all the policy had been bashed out, events turned to a mini bar-crawl with stints at Market Bar, Vodka Revs and Bar Eleven.

Pizza, Port and Policy will hopefully be returning shortly, so why not join the NUCA group on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/home.php?#!/group.php?gid=28088862043&ref=ts to receive details of forthcoming events. Alternatively, check out our website: www.nottinghamcf.co.uk under the section ‘Upcoming Events’ for listings.

Michael Holmstock - NUCA First Year Rep.

Saturday, 6 February 2010

Greg Hands Visit - 19/11/2009

“Not only is Gordon Brown Useless, he is Positively Dangerous”

Greg Hands, the Shadow Treasury Minister and MP for Hammersmith & Fulham was well received when he spoke at Nottingham University on 19 November giving us an insight into the country’s economic situation.

After a brief introduction, Greg Hands talked about the issues surrounding the state of Britain’s finances and the handling of the credit crunch by Gordon Brown. Greg highlighted the problems the country will face paying off the national debt, discussed how to reduce the budget deficit and what to do about the banking sector. He gave us some shocking information relating to the management of the economy including that the debt repayment in 2010 will be higher than the total debt repayments for the last 300 years – since the national debt was introduced. He also gave a clear assessment of the impact of this budgetary problem on the students: “Gordon Brown has not just spent your [students’] money he has spent your children’s money as well”.

Finally he answered questions from the floor, which included a range of topics, from Europe to Tuition Fees. I would like to thank Greg for taking the time to come and speak to Nottingham University students.


Oliver Jackson - NUCA Publicity Officer

This Term So Far - 18/11/2009

This term so far….

It came to my attention that whilst NUCA has been fiercely active so far this term, we haven’t been too hot in writing up what we’ve done, so to make up lost ground I thought I’d write a quick round up of some of the events we’ve had so far this year.

Getting off to a good start before the term even began; NUCA was privileged to arrange for Philip Hammond MP to speak at the Nottingham Bluecoat School to a group of year 10, 11 and 12 students. It’s not every day school pupils get the chance to ask questions to the Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury, and they certainly made the most of the opportunity to ask some interesting, and awkward(!), questions.

A week later came freshers’ fayre where for three days NUCA ran a stall, welcoming students to the university and signing up new members. We also had a visit from Dr Rowena Holland (Nottingham South Parliamentary Candidate), a member of the Conservatives East Midlands Europe team, and James Poland (Broxtowe’s campaign manager). We had a really good response to our stall and our efforts even made the Nottingham Evening Post! (http://www.thisisnottingham.co.uk/politics/Tories-sign-students-election-battle/article-1457994-detail/article.html)

The week after freshers’ fayre we had a freshers’ only social – a new event for this year and one which I feel really helped the 1st years to get to know each other and really feel a part of the society. The following night we held our ‘Welcome and EGM’ event, where we welcomed all our members to the society, had speeches by both of our local parliamentary candidates (Rowena Holland and Anna Soubry), and elected four new people to the committee.

Conservative Party Conference was the following week, and what with our newly launched YouTube channel and armed with a camera and a microphone, we found this a unique opportunity to do a bit of MP stalking, and in the process managed to notch up a number of interviews with some rather high profile people (www.youtube.com/nottinghamcf).

This academic year will of course be a particularly important one of NUCA and the party as it will coincide with the next general election, so this year campaigning is very much forming the core of our activities. We decided therefore to put on a Canvassing Training afternoon, where a group of us were formally taught the etiquettes of canvassing, followed by a few hours putting these newly acquired skills into practice.

NUCA’s campaigning resources are primarily focused on the two local constituencies of Nottingham South and Broxtowe, and for this year Vice President James Spencer is in overall charge of campaigning, with special responsibilities for Nottingham South, and Matthew Snape is serving as Deputy Campaigns Officer and is in charge of Broxtowe.

In the run up to the general election campaigning will be put into overdrive, however the society is already very active, campaigning on weekends and to a lesser extent during the week. I’ve also taken the opportunity this year to get qualified to drive the Students’ Union minibuses, so come the election we’re particularly well prepared to mobilise our members!

In between campaigning NUCA members also attended the YBF6 Activist Training Conference in Wellington College, Berkshire, where we heard from some 30 speakers from across the conservative movement. After having attended YBF5 last year, I was really keen to get a large delegation from Nottingham to attend, so almost 10% of the delegates there were from the university!

YBF also came and visited us at the university and held a TV Interview Techniques training workshop where we got the chance to be on camera, practice being interviewed and get some invaluable feedback on what we were doing well and things we were doing wrong.

For me, being on camera isn’t something which comes naturally and it is only by having attended previous YBF training days that I can do the YouTube channel videos in the way I do (not to say that I don’t have lots to improve on!).

Other events this term have included a newly launched ‘Pizza, Port and Policy’ night, attending the OTC Remembrance Sunday Service at the University, the CF Student Life Tours Q&A evening, helping out at a Cameron Direct and a dinner on campus with both William Hague and Ken Clarke.

Looking ahead to the rest of the term we are looking forward to welcoming Greg Hands MP and David Burrowes MP, as well as a variety of social events and other special events currently in the pipeline.

So that’s a brief roundup of the story so far – we’ll be keeping this up to date more regularly from now on so make sure to check back, see what we’ve been up to and also do remember to get involved with NUCA! It is a real pleasure to be leading such a fine bunch of people in this society and I really hope this year we can fully play our part in seeing the election of the next Conservative government.

Nick Allsopp

NUCA President