Our debate editors reflect on the recent Sabbs elections and make things a lot more complicated.
The dust has settled and results are in, congratulations must go to Nick "Welshy" Davies President, Jon Bagnall PAC, Imogen Sanders Academic Affairs, Grace Hopper VP Welfare and Community and Joe Batten AU President for winning their respective posts in the Sabbatical Elections.
Strong policies were fundamental to all of their campaigns, but if you’re suddenly hoping for a cash machine to spring up in the Lemmy or your landlord to get nicer, we’ve been here before and you might be disappointed.
A look back at previous years reveals that while at first all elected 'saabs' are big on rhetoric, many of their flashy campaign statements fail to materialise.
It’s not through lack of hard work, but the job of a Sabb isn’t necessarily conducive to the ideals they subscribe to during campaigning.
Too often what the saabs claim in their manifestos is unrealistic and even when it isn’t, there’ll be numerous hurdles to each of their pledged policies.
Our AU President is a notoriously hard-working Sabb, dedicated to improving sports within the university, but a retrospective glance at her manifesto highlights the limitations: Duckes doesn’t have the floodlights mentioned in her video and intra-mural competition is still restricted to a select number of sports.
Similarly, our Guild President’s innovative scheme to drive down letting prices using ExeLets appears to have had limited effect. It’s an idea that needs continued commitment a one-year term can’t offer.
Obviously a number of last year’s policies were aimed at tackling the tuition fee increase and this was a national scale issue, it was unrealistic to believe an impact could be had on this. As the tuition fee increase will inevitably kick in next year, the sabbatical campaigns were correctly focused on maximising your University experience for the money you pay.
But it’s important to remember that the scope of Sabb influence is limited when it comes to implementing their own policies. They’ll spend a lot of their time responding to day-to-day issues that arise over the course of the year.
The defining period of this Guild’s tenure will undoubtedly be the swift, assured and conscientious response the serious sexual assault on campus, not any of their own manifesto policies. It seems to make sense that, rather than elect upon the basis of policies, more important is personality and the aptitude to respond to contemporary, or immediate, problems.
The argument isn’t that we elect the wrong people, far from it. If anything we need to be aware that a Sabb’s influence might be limited when it comes to a practical realization of their policies.
Hopefully, as opposed to impossible policies, we have elected individuals ready to respond to, and lead through, the daily trials and tribulations of the life of a University.