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The National Union of Students (NUS) was under fire last night after it commissioned a Blairite campaign group to provide training for its elected officers.
“Community organising” organisation Movement for Change (MfC), which was founded by David Miliband during his failed bid to become Labour leader, led key training sessions for sabbatical officers at the NUS’s flagship Lead and Change event.
It is funded by supermarket magnate and Blair-backer Lord Sainsbury, who dodged £27 million worth of capital gains tax in 2008. The group has been criticised for sidelining workplace organising.
Lord Sainsbury controversially stopped donating to the Labour Party after Ed Miliband was elected leader, allegedly because he thought him too left-wing.
Instead he has channeled funds into Movement for Change and Progress, a magazine and lobby group accused by the GMB union of operating as a “party within a party.”NUS executive member James Elliott criticised his union’s choice of trainer.
He wrote online that MfC prioritised a “paternalistic, condescending approach to organising, rooted in winning Blairites elections rather than improving the condition of workers and students.”
An NUS spokeswoman said: “NUS is committed to working together with the trade union movement, united by a shared belief in social justice, collective organisation and democratic participation on campuses, in workplaces, and within the wider community.”
She did not say whether the NUS paid Movement for Change for its services.
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