Despite its reputation as an apolitical town, St Andrews has seen an array of newcomers to the political scene spring up this semester. From the Socialist Society, which has filled the vacuum that appeared following the demise of the St Andrews Labour Club, to the Conservative Meme Page (“Memes are rife in right-wing Fife.”).
The Bubble’s most recently founded political society, however, is arguably something special: the St Andrews chapter of Republicans Overseas UK. The first of its kind in Scotland, the society’s formation coincides with the resurgence of the Republican Party, which despite its shaky reputation seems to be entering a new period of domination within US Politics.
Republicans Overseas Chair Drew Liquerman is very clear on what part he believes his society can play in this new era. “I’m currently on the board of STAUCA serving as one of the freshers’ reps. The idea came to me when talking to American conservative students who wanted to be involved with conservative politics on campus but felt they were not as passionate about British politics.”
“I’ve been planning to set this club up for the last few weeks. The idea was to create a society of people who are passionate about American politics, but do not agree with the politics of Democrats Abroad. I have found there is a great number of students here in that category. Another main goal is to create a dialogue and work for the advancing and improved relationship between students supporting the Republican Party in the US and students supporting the Conservatives in the UK.”
While Mr Liquerman accepts that these aims are ambitious, he is still determined to make the most of the society. When asked whether he thought the distance of his society from the US was an issue in achieving their goals, Mr Liquerman states: “I happen to think the opposite. Our group plans to pool our resources together properly so that back in the States we will have members working and volunteering on political races all over the country. Additionally, we have British members who are already planning runs in British politics.”
“We believe the influence of the Republican Party will make the UK a better nation and as a result make the US a better nation. I am personally a large advocate for the Special Relationship, and believe when one of us succeeds the other will as well.”
“In short I believe RO will be able to have a positive impact on politics on both sides of the pond.” He also denies that the controversial nature of President-Elect Donald Trump will be an issue for his group, even in the liberal circles of University politics. “As a group no individual defines us – we are a large coalition of beliefs we all hold to the highest importance, and we already have members who are very pro-Trump and members who were never for him. I don’t think Trump will hurt our audience among people that would be interest in joining in the first place.”
Due to the new and politically diverse nature of Republicans Overseas St Andrews, Mr Liquerman is unclear on what specific causes his society will be championing. He believes that simply by adding a new voice to student politics in The Bubble, RO can have a positive effect our political discourse. This will involve participating in the monthly Political Pub Nights hosted by already-existing political societies, and involving themselves in debates and discussions over the course of next semester. They will also be hosting social events after Christmas, including a Beach Barbecue at some point in Refreshers’ Week for new recruits.
Ultimately, RO St Andrews looks set to broaden and deepen the already-thriving political scene in St Andrews.