Elections: Does anyone care?
It’s election season and all the hideous slogans and primary colours are going to cause Tom Steadman to punch a wall.
With voting opening this week the whole ridiculous elections charade ramps into top gear around campus. Prior to beginning my involvement with The Tab this time last year I hated elections. Groups of people taking over SUSU concourse and demanding my attention and vote was the biggest irritation of the year, including exams!
When people say Sabbatical elections you immediately presume campaigns like those of the national political parties but with cheesy slogans that seem like they have been thought up by primary school children and ‘uniforms’ that basically stick to the primary colours it is very easy to forget that these people are campaigning towards not only running our student union and making decisions on our behalf. They even get paid a reasonable salary!
Unfortunately, as previously mentioned on The Tab the elections can become a massive popularity contest, with the person who has the most friends who can chin off lectures and stand on concourse hijacking other students, who 99% of the time want nothing more than to get away from the area as quickly as possible, likely to get a benefit over other campaigners. Thankfully this doesn’t always work, as shown by Jess Staff’s ‘yellow army’ who filled concourse to its brim yet were still unable to prevent Sam Ling from triumphing, surprising as his was the first campaign in years that was vaguely realistic!!
My attitude towards the elections was shared by many of my friends. People often only choose to vote if they know someone standing for one of the positions, then choosing a random candidate for the other positions on a whim. Others don’t vote at all, even after being bombarded by emails from SUSU on an almost daily basis.
By allowing the elections to become such a huge part of the year, SUSU has allowed it to almost become self depreciating loop. The louder and more brash the election process becomes, the more irritated the standard student becomes, the less students who therefore vote and the harder the teams have to work to try to garner the few votes available.
While it maintains its immature and brash nature, with ridiculous promises in manifestoes, it will never be respected. I mean who can forget Aaron Bali’s allotment pledge in the elections last year!!!! Or Derek’s promise to cement in Church Lane! (although many would agree that would be a superb idea!)
If more people followed the example of Sam Ling it may interest a greater percentage of the student population who are old enough to make decisions on policy rather then who can build the biggest human pyramid on concourse. And SUSU elections may finally have the gravitas they deserve for such an important decision.