Talking Politics

If there’s one thing I regret at the moment it’s not getting fully involved with the student union politics scene. As a student of politics it would be a good place to test my knowledge out. But I’ve never been interested in it. It’s always been petty, parochial and somewhat tedious.

I still hold these views, but they have been modified slightly. On Thursday night I attended the results night, the culmination of all the campaigns that have been going on lately. The battle to be student union President next year is always very intense. There are other posts up for election too, but they get sidetracked to a certain degree.

My regret stems from the fact that one of my coursemates, who I have a lot of respect for, has actually just gone and won this election. I voted for her, but I didn’t get as involved in the campaign as I should have done. They did a great job leafleting, knocking on doors and rallying the troops. Pretty impressive when the target audience is a bunch of apathetic students.

I think of it as a missed opportunity. It’s nice to be on the winning side for a change, but still, the only contribution I made of note was on the results night itself, when I pulled out all the stops with my pencil and paper to show everyone that, by the nuances of the alternative vote system, once she was ahead in the first round and started gaining traction in the coming rounds, she was almost unstoppable. All around me they were nervous… and of course, you never know in elections, but my theory was that students rather randomly distribute their lower preferences, and so there was going to be no shifting her when that theory of mine was confirmed.

I like to think I helped bring a degree of logic to the proceedings… they were panicking that there was a strong anti vote just waiting to be dispatched when one of their rival candidates was eliminated. But it never happened. All along I kept showing them to stay calm and she’s in with a good shout. Sure enough it happened, and we celebrated. What a result.

It would have been nice to have been more involved. I could have helped them out and I would have felt a real sense of achievement. As it was, I felt like a Johnny-come-lately to the party. Cribbing off someone else’s good work. Though I have known the next Union President for three and a half years now, I still feel like it could be seen that I was jumping on the bandwagon.

Plus, it would have given me something to do. Though, by all accounts, maybe that mightn’t have been a good thing. I understand that most people doing the campaigning have been putting all their work on hold for weeks now. And for some of them, including the new President, that might be a very bad thing. It could well be Desmonds and Vordermans all round. Not a nice reward.

So there’s a tinge of regret. I could have been more involved, I know I would have enjoyed it, and it would’ve made the final victory even sweeter. I still hold that it’s not exactly a productive arena for politics, with a turnout of around 9% of the students… but we all have to start somewhere.

I just hope she knows what she’s letting herself in for. Talk about back-biting…

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