With the Students’ Union (SU) election hype building, Killian Woods gives the fools a rundown of the SU elections
Before you heard the candidates, and definitely before you saw them desperately trying to get attention at the bottom of your lecture hall, the first sight you probably caught of them was on a poster or when you found a lecture hall plastered in their manifestos.
The manifestos are merely a condensed form of the views, opinions and achievements of your potential representatives. Crammed in from cover to cover have to be certain bare necessities. On the cover is an essential mug shot that must beam confidence, with a hint of smugness so the candidate can maintain their ‘I’m better than you’ aura.
Inside the cover, all those bright ideas come to life in brightly coloured boxes with words in them, coupled with a shot of the candidate leaning against an imaginary wall or on their hunkers beside a lake. The candidates list their aims that they seem to feel are feasible and represent students’ needs in the simplest (and most grammatically inept) English possible. Whether it’s ensuring a water fountain gets installed in <insert generic building here> or ordering the library staff to work longer hours, in the end they are really powerless to turn those words into a successful mandate.
The back page of the manifestos can be somewhat of a quirky addition, but usually end up being a monstrosity. Contents usually include achievements such as “10/11: Helped out on SHAG week and thus failed my continuous assessment Plant Biotechnology exam” and “09/10: Attended a lecture and got one per cent of my final grade”. However, no doubt the most cringeworthy aspect of manifestos are the personal biographies which try to be funny, but really fail miserably. Below is an O-two sample.
“O-two is a native of the UCD Student Centre. They have been a class rep for the past five years in a row for 2nd year Commerce. Like most people, they are huge Star Wars fans and like eating donuts from Nine One One. It was once rumoured that O-two defeated Chuck Norris and kicked the homophobia out of him with our famed rainbow kick. After contracting the clap at Class Rep training, O-two has carried the disease with pride and emblazoned it on many others since. Remember, we do have a vote and we’ll vote for YOU!”
Battles for election are no longer won and lost on the grounds of UCD campus. It’s simply not enough to out roar the other sabbatical candidates at the bottom of lecture theatres and hope to sway votes anymore.
Nowadays, the typical voter in the UCDSU elections will be 76 per cent more likely to be swayed by a colourful and enticing Facebook page than any sort of charismatic leadership skills displayed by the candidate.
Just like your sexual preference, you have the right to choose which smiley-eyed candidate you want to vote for. Albeit the choice on offer will make you weigh up in your head the pros and cons of democracy, but at least you get to pick.
Tick the box, put numbers down or rip the ballot paper up. In the end, your voice will be heard and processed into some sort of future county councillor earning a mandate to represent your rights in the upcoming academic year.
O-two can’t recommend who you should vote for, but we can advise. Naturally if your chosen candidate wins, you’ll have to look at them on more posters for the next year at least, so why not vote for the good-looking candidate at the very least.
Don’t get too used to the current voting system however. Reforms to the UCD Students’ Union constitution soon will change the face of voting in SU elections forever. The old paper and pen trick will become obsolete very soon as the whole system is about to go online. In the not-too-distant future, you will ‘Like’ your sabbatical officers into power through Facebook. Simply straddle your way to the respective candidates page and like them.
This is the future of politics and you can even buy the t-shirt and say “I was online when UCD Students liked <blank> into the SU”.