Ripping up the manifestos – who did you vote for?

It’s almost midnight on the 11th of February 2010; week five is done. Elections week is finally over. No more nagging on Facebook statuses, lecture shout outs, no more hustings, group invites, kitchen tours or ‘like’ this page or I won’t be your friend anymore threats.

I sincerely hope you all voted. I won’t have a massive rant at you about why it’s so necessary to vote in these elections as it’s been so over-emphasised that it’s probably the reason that most of you didn’t. A lot of my flat have said to me that even after just five days of campaigning, they’re bored of the whole process, though when you compare it to the UK General Election or US Presidential Elections, it’s really quite tame. At least we at the Boar haven’t been bombarding you with too much coverage, though that may be due to our restricted publication dates more than anything else.

Turn-out is up: 4,823 people have voted at least once in the elections, even if they chose to abstain and vote for RON (re-open nominations). This has increased from last year, yet unfortunately misses the target the SU were hoping for by a significant margin.
The first problem I’ve noted with this year’s Presidential candidates is the lack of realism in many of their policies. Parking fees, lower bus fees, cash-points next to the library and wireless internet in halls? How are these plausible for a STUDENT run Union to actually work? Some of these are issues separate from the University itself – the number 12 bus doesn’t operate solely for students, therefore any problems will be significantly difficult to influence. Just think too about the routers and signal boosters needed to provide on-campus wireless internet for a few thousand students in halls. Hotspot already provides students with internet on most places around central campus, but making this wireless would just create even slower speeds and streaming times. As for cash points next the library ­– can you imagine a bank proposing to build a cash point for students a grand total of… five minutes walk from the nearest cash point? How outrageous, right, having to drag our half hung-over bodies past a number of buildings almost able to be counted on one hand in order to have a machine spit out a wad of cash only to be frittered away in Costa on gluten-free brownies (Just me? Okay…).
In addition, many of the policies seem completely and utterly vague, lacking in detail and information. To name a few: ‘faster queuing’ in the Bread Oven – how exactly are we supposed to make the Bread Oven staff work faster other than poking them with baguettes from afar? Okay, admittedly pre-prepared sandwiches seem a viable option during busy rushes, but that would not justify the amount of waste that could be generated by over-estimating customers over a quiet lunchtime. ‘The relationship with the University’ and ‘effective communication’ are both important issues for Warwick, but this is simply not expanded on in enough detail. ‘Plans are in place.’ A shadow of enigma engulfs that statement. ‘Union Shake Ups’ are also explained to contain ‘music and public debate,’ yet the manifesto fails to mention how this would influence policy making across the Union, and what the role of the Councillors would actually be.
Then there’s the downright lies – ‘the Union is in the red’. Actually, if you see the Boar Volume 33 Issue 2, you’ll see that in fact, the Union is safely back in the black in terms of its financial situation. That is probably not to say that Union finances are all hunky-dory, fine and dandy, but at least take a look at the figures first? Recovering from a £750,000 debt is impressive, so at least give the Union some credit.
Some radical policies question just how far candidates are willing to go to instigate change in the Union, although whether the ideas are feasible remains a different matter. An informal ‘Shake Up’ meeting preceding Union Councils was a highly publicised policy of one presidential candidate. This leaves the open question – so what even IS the point of Union Council if they don’t need to even bother turning up as students can do this themselves, thus obliterating their role as a representative?
I decided to wait until after the elections results are published before uploading this to the Friday Night Blog-Ject for two main reasons. Firstly, I wasn’t quite done beforehand. It’s 3am, and I’d quite like to give this another read through before I put it up. Secondly, I think Elections Group might ask Alex Di Mascio to borrow his spike in order to spear my head into the ground if I in any way am found to be influencing, commenting on, endorsing a candidate in the result of tomorrow’s (or today’s, or yesterday’s) results.
Anyway, I think that’s enough nitpicking in the Presidential Candidate’s paper manifestos, which was surprisingly easy and fun to do. Maybe I was a bit negative. I’m not just here to criticise you know. Chris Luck’s got an awesome campaign name, don’t you think?
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