Union Presidential Elections: The Tab interviews Kate and Matteo

Featuring Trump, disaffiliation and hairstyles.

2017 Cambridge Cambridge Union Debating elections interview kate dunbar Lent matteo violet-vianello Union

In what is set to be a fabulous battle of the wits and near-identical-hairstyles, Kate Dunbar (English 2nd year at Magdalene) and Matteo Violet-Vianello (HSPS 2nd year at Queens’) are running to be President of the Cambridge Union for Lent 2017. 

The Tab wanted to make sure they’re both cut out for the role, so we asked them boring manifesto stuff as well as about their morning routines, the Biebs and alcohol. Enjoy.

Kate Dunbar

Matteo Violet-Vianello

What is your vision for Lent 2017?
I have really enjoyed my time at the Union so far, so naturally I want to make sure that Lent 2017 is a fantastic term for new and old members alike. I hope to do this in a couple of ways; firstly, I want to make sure everyone feels like they can approach the Union, whether that be by putting on an exciting variety of top-notch speakers and events or by making sure everyone involved, at any time, feels welcome to partake in celebrations or post-event drinks.Secondly, I want to use all the experience I have running loads of boring admin from school-level debating competitions to the weekly debates at the Union to make sure we put on a cracking term despite the building works.  I’ve spent a lot of time at the Union over the course of my degree and it’s come to be a place I cherish – however, there are some things that could be improved. I want the Union to be more open and welcoming by fighting the image of the committee as exclusive and exclusionary. I also hope to attract a more diverse range of speakers, not only for the sake of it but because I genuinely believe that speakers from a wider range of backgrounds and fields provide more interesting content for our members. With the Union being first and foremost a debating society, I’d also like for as many members as possible to have the opportunity to take part in debating without feeling intimidated.
Why does the Union deserve you as its President?
Ask not what your Union can do for you, but what you can do for your Union (I’m American, sorry). Honestly, though, I really love the Union and I know how sad that makes me sound. I love putting on events, I love hosting interesting discussions and I have so much enjoyed every team I’ve worked on over the last several terms. I’m not exaggerating when I say some of the events I’ve been to at the Union have been perception altering for me and I want to try and host more discussions like that so every member finds something to love.  I think I’ve shown that I could be a good President by the amount of work and passion I’ve put into the Union. As Speakers’ Officer I sent out thousands of emails and made hundreds of phone calls to secure speakers such as Lord Sugar, Stanley Tucci, Heston Blumenthal and Sigourney Weaver. I also think I’ve developed a good relationship with the Union staff and other members of committee that would help me be a good President. I also wholeheartedly believe in the idea of free speech that the Union promotes: a practically uncensored platform for ideas is crucial for a richer debate.

**Not a staged photograph in any way**

If we were to ask your opponent what the best way to have sex in the Union is, what would they say?
 Apparently a Diane von Furstenberg dress opens at the front which seems convenient.  Just make sure it’s somewhere close to the exit so she can have a cigarette when it’s done.
You two have quite similar hair. Discuss.
 We do. It’s really kind of eerie, and the curtains match the drapes too.  I had it first, so maybe Kate just clocked onto the fact that this is the winning haircut.
Wearing black tie is an integral part of Union life. Why do you look better in it?
Honestly, I’m slightly offended this question has to be asked. As with #freespeech, it’s all about diversity: three different shades of velvet are hard to beat. I’m really helping to fight stereotypes here…
The only way for you to win is if Trump becomes President. Would you still run?
#MaketheUnionGreatAgain, I’ve got dual citizenship so I’m willing to take my chances and become a full-time Brit. Absolutely, but site re-development would include a wall around Union and I’ll make CUSU pay for it.

Spotted: two presidential candidates approach a wild VP by the Union watering hole.

What would you want to disaffiliate from?

A world in which the words ‘discourse’ and ‘nuance’ are acceptable in conversation.  My degree.
Tell us your morning routine.
11:00am (being optimistic): Coffee, anti-depressants, sex, memes

12:00pm: Wistful look at pile of work on desk, memes

1:00pm: Cigarette, begin shuffle to the Union, upon arrival more memes

Well currently I’m answering these questions in bed, hungover from Cindies, sipping from a bottle of water from the Christian Union. So not very impressive.

High fashun. Edgez.

If you could be a type of alcohol, what would it be?

Whisky. Best consumed in a wood panelled room with a cigarette, but you should probably let me age for thirty years first. Tequila: you think I’m a good idea but you regret me in the morning.
Is it too late now to say sorry?
 Yes. In Judaism it’s never too late to say sorry. Every year when a Jewish person says Teshuva and repents for their sins on the day of atonement, they think back to all the misdeeds they have done and the wrongs they have committed. We learn from this that one should say sorry even if a long time has passed.

No, I’m not Jewish but I found this online and thought it sounded clever.

Union Members can cast their vote between 8am and 6pm on Monday 13th June using the following link: https://www.cus.org/election/14