Newsnight screen grabA motion of no confidence in Aaron Porter will be brought at NUS conference, and the frustration in the ranks is understandable. When the exceptionally well-attended main protests were being organised around the Westminster votes, NUS held separate events that few attended. He’s even had to admit he’s been “dithering“.

There have been exceptionally determined student occupations, showing a real commitment to challenging the Tory government, but as Paul Mason’s outstanding report on Newsnight last week showed, the leadership has in many cases come from the secondary school pupils “from the slums of London”. These are the kids who will pay the fees (or more likely be deterred by them), and these are the kids whose EMA is being taken away. No wonder they’re at the front of the marches.

Yet they’re not NUS members: the direct membership of NUS consists of students’ unions, not individual students, and this feels like a contributory reason for the avowed dithering. The leadership of NUS has always been too close to Labour, although this was even more obvious when Labour were introducing fees without their opposition.

It’s time for something new, a genuine national union for those in education, including at school. Perhaps NUS could become it, or perhaps it should be something entirely new. I’m pretty sure either way it would be a bit more radical.