The Presidential Problem: What the candidates should've put in their manifestos


With ultimate BNOC status and campus stardom, being the SU President is guaranteed to make you a Jesters celebrity (provided you wear the name badge and flash the business cards). But next year’s leader will need to be someone who can do much more than win a popularity contest.

Here at the Soton Tab we’ve got our ears to ground and thought ahead of what the president will be dealing with besides the usual problems of housing, the Cube and tuition fees. Next year there’s going to be a lot going on, which very few of this year’s now seven (from 10) candidates have mentioned in their dissertation-like manifestos. Of course, we could’ve published this piece as a helping hand before nominations closed but where’s the fun in that?

Kicking things off is the new Union Plan. The current 5 year plan expires in 2015 so this year’s president will need to spearhead (buzzword alert) new targets with the rest of the Sabb team. This could be a big task, but copying and pasting the old one and updating figures is advised.

2015 sees the next general election and just like SUSU elections there’ll be a struggle to get students to vote for the next government. SUSU will no doubt have a stance (hint: it’s guaranteed to be a firm left of centre) and our new pres will have to get used to the cosying up with local MPs, who both happen to be ex-SUSU presidents.

So the next president will be cunning enough to win an election but they’ll also have to be good at dealing with the NUS2014/15 will have been two years since the dreaded NUS Referendum (which was two years after the previous) and no doubt the NUS top dogs will be making a few visits down to Soton to rekindle the idea of affiliation. This is a delicate topic and not to be taken lightly, if 2012 is anything to go by.

2015 also sees the new Institutional Review by the QAA. What Ofsted is to schools, the QAA is to universities. Having had the 2013 review successfully written off, a new one is scheduled for February 2015. Although this work in SUSU will be mostly down to the new VP Education (which, shockingly, none of those candidates mentioned it in their manifestos either – which is bad news as they’ll be spending a sizeable chunk of their time on that project) it’s something for the President to be aware of.

Despite all of these pretty major tasks/hindrances over the course of their time in office, of the four serious candidates, nearly all fail to mention even one of the above points – except for Marcus Burton who scores 3/4. It’s a relief to see so many joke candidates injecting the fun back into elections but disappointing to see many of the serious candidates completely overlook the pretty major hurdles in their way over the next year and expand on nothing more than the bog-standard points seen every year on tuition fees/housing/accountability/Winchester/diversity.

  • Definitely not a Joke

    I think the ‘Joke’ candidates have put in far more effort than the actual candidates, I mean just check out how slick their campaign videos are:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y5wwmQG5KTo
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R7cwMyQXAg4

  • Innocent Bystander

    Marcus – us Bystanders are all for your progressive policies but please, please, PLEASE try and be less of a robot between now and June (if you win, that is).

    Students – or at least the ones I’ve spoken to – want a charismatic AND switched-on President and sadly, you only fulfil the first of the two key criteria.

    You’d be a great Pres, don’t get me wrong but you really need to work on interpersonal skills mate.

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