It took us six minutes to establish the official hashtag (#QMelections) while all forms of student politicians, media junkies, and purist drama enthusiasts filtered into the Blomley Room two-by-two as if boarding a Noah’s Ark for underwhelmist hipsters.
This Candidates Meeting marked the beginning of a soon-to-be grittily-contested campaigning season in which Carlsberg socialists compete against one another in a contest almost indiscernible from ancient Gladiatorial combat. The winners bag a £24,500 year-long glorified desk job while the losers are sent back home to face the shame of their families.
Last night, candidates were invited to stare down one another for the first time ever as awkward delegoons from the NUS recited a set of electoral regulations they had only come up with the night before.
The audience was subsequently treated to a Primary School-tailored YouTube ‘guide to voting’ – so ill-informed that it made Robin Thicke’s Blurred Lines’ music video play back like a well researched Channel 4 documentary on sexual health.
Little wonder as to why the NUS is more elusive to the average Queen Mary student than the Bavarian Illuminati.
Last night was also a chance for self-indulgent pseudo-commentators such as those from Cub, QMessenger and QMTV to measure up the candidates, daydreaming about what it would be like if QMSU ran elections like the Hunger Games, growing restless about the lack of snacks and wine.
But the bellowing caws of one-man wrecking ball ‘Big Phil Gilks’, as he’s known in the ring, snapped us back to Earth – as he intermittently lit the stage with a pre-rehearsed comedy routine; mostly parodying himself.
Expect, over the next month, the same blind idealism and backstabbing of the US Primaries with absolutely none of the glamour – stupid /unfeasible policies, a fully-oiled rumourmill, and smear campaigns aplenty.
But it’s important to note that no matter how intense the campaigning, however, it’s impossible to escape the fact that apathy spreads on campus more readily than Chlamydia through Pooley House. Only up to 20% of the student body can ever bring themselves to vote at any one time, and students would sooner be caught in the middle of a firing line.
My advice, at this stage, would be to bury your head in the sand and keep it there for as long as you possibly can short of suffocating. But if you’re still reading this then it’s probably too late; if you, like myself, have been sucked in by the promise of gawping at the sort of ‘high standards’ alcohol-fuelled debate normally found on Jeremy Kyle.
Unfortunately by around week two, however, the drama starts to overshadow the main point of this entire process – to instigate some vague form of ‘positive change’ in the Students’ Union, which is famously run with the class and efficiency of a piss-soaked biscuit.
21st February – Manifesto Deadline
27th February – Whitechapel Hustings
3rd March – Mile End Hustings, Voting opens
6th March – Voting Closes, Results Party
Coverage, non-obnoxious, will be brought by QMTV (candidates debates), QMessenger (interviews), Cub (fashion watch), over the next few weeks. Although QMSU enforces more red tape and regulation on student elections coverage than North Korea uses to doctor its Nightly News.
Candidates running for paid sabbatical positions are listed below with links to their online selves where available.
Vice President Barts and The London: Daniel ‘DJO’ Ong, Claire Morris, Sam Rowles
A full candidate breakdown is available here: QMSU Elections 2014 Candidates.