I-. Student unions under


Tevlot Bow Student Union: services under mm

The structure of Scotland’s student unions is under threat from government plans to make membership voluntary rather than automatic- a change that risks undermining the vast array of services the unions currently offer. Rumours of wide-ranging reforms in Higher Education in the shape of a Students’ Charter were confirmed at this year’s Conservative Party Conference, with the current set-up of the National Union of Students (NUS) a primary target. Many right wing MPs are critical of the NUS’s

anti-government stance, arguing that a publically funded body should

. not play such a one-sided political role. They take the line that

‘automatic’ membership of student ; unions equals ‘compulsory’

; membership, making the NUS the

‘Iast bastion of the closed shop.’ An Adam Smith Institute report attacked the NUS for

undemocratically imposing constraints on traders - effectively : the ban on such politically sensitive

items as South African fruit and Nicaraguan coffee in union outlets -

. although at most universities and

colleges such decisions are made by General Meetings of the entire student body, not by a clique of office bearers.

‘We are continually trying to stress

1 the diversity of services that student

i associations provide for their

students,’ says Jim Murphy, President of NUS (Scotland). ‘The government tries to focus in on our political activities and tries to use that as a rod with which to beat us, but the last time they themselves investigated NUS figures it showed we spent less then one per cent on political activities— and that on things like campaigns for safety on campus, child care and against student loans. The fact of the matter is that the majority of our time, finances, staff and executive resources are spent on welfare, education, services and representation to outside organisations.’

Also at risk are local student associations, whose welfare services are increasingly supported by their union’s commercial activities. A sudden cut in funding brought about by a drop in membership would devastate services across the board. Although no formal proposal exists at the moment, the govemment’s statement of intention has met with widespread criticism from Principals and Vice-Chancellors. If the government does try to push these changes through, it may well find itself in a legal minefield as virtually all universities and higher education institutions have some clause in their charters demanding the existence of a formal student body. (Alan Morrison)

_ Focus on Bosnia

A major conference held to coincide with the EC Summit will throw a light on the presem situation in Bosnia-Herzegovina. Paradoxicaliy, the more serious the conflict has become, the less it has appeared on the front pages of UK newspapers, and so the conference organisers hope to provide the historical, political and cultural background details that are so olten ignored by or simply unavailable to those in the British media.

The conference will take place at St

Cecilia’s Hall in Edinburgh on 11—12 December, although the organisers stress that it Is not intended to ‘embarrass' EC leaders; rather it is an attempt to disprove claims that the conflict has its foundation in religious unrest and, ultimately, to come up with some policy suggestions that would stall the conflict belore it escalates into an all-out South East European war.

The first day of the conference will concentrate on the history and culture of the area, and will be addressed by, among many others, Professor Norman Stone of Oxford University and Petr Oslzly, who was Vaclav llavel’s special adviser on cultural matters. The following day emphasises politics and humanitarian issues, and it is hoped that Tadeusz Mazowiecltl, lonner Polish prime minister, will be in attendance. (AM)

4 The List 20 November 3 December l992

Drinking up time called

Edinburgh’s late night licences, the envy of drinkers all over the UK, will become a memory at the bottom of a glass if an experiment in licensing is deemed a success by the District Council’s licensing board.

The new policy, introduced at the licensing board’s meeting in October, is to grant late night licenses in three central Edinburgh wards according to the ‘zone’ in which a pub falls. Only ‘regular extensions’ to the national drinking hours of 11am to 11pm will be affected. One-off licences for special events will be judged on different criteria.

Pubs on busy main roads and

junctions used by large volumes of late night pedestrians will be allowed to stay open to 1.30am, those on main streets to 1am and those on busy side streets to 12.30am. Midnight will be closing time for pubs on the side streets of busy roads, while those in a ‘quiet area’ or premises with a history of noise and disturbance will have to shut at

1 1pm.

These zones will be applied in the wards of New Town, Tollcross and St Giles. However, Ms Margaret McGregor. chair of the licensing board, says it is considering extending the scheme to the wards of Broughton and Haymarket. She points out that, ‘extensions are at the discretion of the board. The publican or the licensee has to prove that there is a need for a licence in the first place.’ (Thom Dibdin)

:— Ireland for


The successor to Ian Wooldridge as the Artistic Director at Edinburgh’s Royal Lyceum is to be Kenny Ireland. Taking over once Wooldridge finishes his nine-year term with the spring season’s closing production of Merlin - The Search for the Grail, Ireland will be returning to a theatre with which he has a long association as both actor and director. ‘I have never applied for a major house anywhere else,’ he says. ‘I have done freelance work in bigger theatres, but I’ve always felt that one day I would get back to the Lyceum. I’m just really amazed that it’s actually happened.’

Ireland’s appointment has been greeted with much enthusiasm. His on-stage experience puts him well in favour with Scotland’s acting community and his directing career with Joint Stock, The Young Lyceum and The Wrestling School (with Howard Barker) earns him

nihilism as Edie Carbone in the any? Lyceum’s AVlewtromlhe Bridge.

serious credibility points with the critical fraternity. At a recent press conference he was guarded about his specific plans, but made it clear where his ambitions lay.

‘I want to pursue my connections with what is happening in Scotland,’ ' he continued. ‘This involves working closley with several associate artists -— . Brian Cox is going to be one ofthem ; as well as a lot of people who are ; working on projects in Scotland. The Lyceum will function as a bit of an umbrella.’ (MF)


I an: Funding: Hopes of wider support for Scotland’s neglected culture, generated by the long-awaited Charter for the Arts, were dashed last week when the government announced new arts funding figures. Next year’s grant to the Arts Council of Great Britain sees an increase of only 2 per cent, with a cut of 2 per cent planned for 1994/95. The Scottish Arts Council, which currently receives 10.45 per cent of ACGB funds, had made plans based on a three-year funding programme that should have seen the grant increase by 3.5 per cent in 1993/94 and the same the following year.

I Billboard Art Submissions are invited for the Tramway Billboard Art Competition. The idea is to ‘oonvey a sense of excitement’, using the words ‘Surprise, Surprise’ and

g the Tramway logo. Four winners will

get £400 to cover costs and see their

designs on billboards in Glasgow.

An overall winner will be invited to make another original work for

display in London. Entries should be I no larger than A1 and should arrive by Wed 9 Dec. Call 041 422 2023 for more details.

l Bedlam beat oft underlunding: Who says that students don‘t have a bit of spunk when it comes to thinking up fund-raising ideas? Members of the Edinburgh’s Bedlam Theatre Company have been making regular donations to the sperm bank at the Medical Research Centre for Reproductive Biology in order to raise the £10,000 necessary to take their award-winning production of Grimm The Travelling Tales to Russia and Ukraine. Proof, ifit was ever needed, that student actors are abunch ofw"kers. A