Edinburgh University was where my career began, when I was a politics postgraduate student in the 1970s. Now I’m ready to put something back.
As Scotland enters its worst economic crisis in half a century, these are uncertain times for students and staff. Now, more than ever, they need to know that their voice is being heard in the corridors of power.
The Rector chairs the University Court – the board of what is in effect a £1 billion company. I will use this key role, not to make empty gestures or promote my own political career, but to ensure that action is taken on issues that really matter to students like the accommodation crisis, the quality of feedback and access to university facilities.
Students are in the front line of the credit crunch and the banks are turning nasty, so we need to address the issue of student poverty now. I’ll lead a campaign for a minimum income guarantee of £7,000 for every undergraduate.
University is about learning and I believe that Edinburgh needs to honour its contract with students to provide teaching of the highest standard, as well as world-class research. The Scottish Government needs to honour its contract with the universities by ensuring that they are adequately funded and able to compete in a challenging academic environment.
I will work closely with the staff unions and EUSA to ensure that this government doesn’t break any more of its promises. But Edinburgh University has a responsibility, in turn, to provide intellectual leadership on issues like climate change; to go beyond mere environmental tokenism and become a powerhouse for renewable energy research.
As a political writer for the Herald and Sunday Herald and broadcaster for the BBC I’ve observed the workings of politicians at close hand for a quarter of a century without having become a part of the establishment. I am a member of no political party, but I know where I stand on the great moral issues of the day and in my writing I have argued vigorously against top up fees, the war in Iraq and identity cards.
I live in the Pleasance and will be a local Rector willing to put in the hours. I will represent students and hold monthly surgeries where they can talk to me in person. The Rectorship is too important to be part of the honours system, an award for long service to the establishment, or part of celebrity culture.
For a working Rector, vote for Iain Macwhirter.
|iain macwhirter rector edinburgh university election ian mcwhirter mcwherter macwherter macwhirther mcwhirther Grace Fletcher-Hackwood Grace Fletcher-Hackwood|