If you’ve survived the deadline drama with a shred of sanity left intact, you can look forward to exercising your right to democracy this week. The United States decided to re-elect President Obama last week (see page 9 for J. H. Ramsay’s view on that), and this week it is St Andrews’ turn to go to the polls. We’re not electing people or parties, but deciding whether St Andrews Students’ Association should join NUS (the National Union of Students) or remain out of it.

Whether you’ve been out in the town or on Facebook (it’s getting colder, so the latter is more likely), you will no doubt have seen a dog telling you to vote ‘Yes’ or pandas telling you to vote ‘No’. That description makes the referendum campaign sounds like an election-themed Care of Magical Creatures class, so I should probably take this opportunity to let you know that we have a double page spread  (pages 4 and 5), with a history of St Andrews’ relations with NUS, the costs to the Union of joining and the main ‘Yes’ and ‘No’ arguments presented by a spokesperson from each side.

You may also be wondering whether The Saint has a stance on the referendum. NUS does not have a spotless record when it comes to freedom of the student press, after all. It is a concern, yes, and something for NUS to work on. Nonetheless, The Saint’s independence from the University and Union allows us a buffer in that respect.

You can rest assured that the students writing, photographing, illustrating and editing this issue have opinions and standpoints just like you do. But as a newspaper our objective is still to inform. Hence we have presented the arguments of both sides of the debate. Our priority is to ensure that people know about this referendum and that they have the information they need to vote.

Our commitment to presenting both sides extends beyond the NUS referendum. No news article is worthy of the name if it does not present the views of all interested parties for readers to make their own judgement. So, for example, the IR survey story (pages 1 and 2) contains comments from IR students, the IR School President, the DoRep and the University.

St Andrews students are more than capable of looking at an issue of debate (be it a referendum, survey or whatever) and making up their own minds. You don’t need us to tell you what that decision should be.

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