So, it’s election time again. Voting closes on Friday at Birkbeck and ULU, more at the website.
Election time is a stressful nightmare. If I didn’t find it worthwhile, and I didn’t genuinely love student politics and want to help people – I wouldn’t do it. I’d do some other job, where I got paid more and had more time to relax. Preferably with cake. I’m re-standing in my current role (Disabled Members Officer) and also for Women’s Officer. I will be indicating a preference at a later date because I obviously can’t be both simultaneously. Anyway, I’ve been finding this – my fourth election period at Birkbeck (two by-elections and this is second annual election) – more difficult and scary than previously. So here are the ground rules I have, the do’s, don’ts and arghs that I’m feeling the need for. These aren’t real rules, just mine.
1. Don’t broadcast. No telling the world you hate x, nobody should vote for them, they are a disgrace. This may be your view. Maybe if you feel the need you could tell your friends, but everyone will have different experiences of x. Your judgement could be coloured by all sorts of personal stuff, and is it really right that this x should suffer if they’ve done nothing wrong? There are exceptions to this – if they’re a fascist/ rapist/ majorly bad person in that sort of way, then you should get the word out because they could be in a position to do serious harm.
2. If you’ve been rubbish as an officer, don’t act like you know it all, you’re amazing,or quiz others. You misused your role, you cannot have the right to judge other officers.
3. Don’t make it all about outside politics. You might have voted for the same MP as the officer candidate, but that doesn’t mean this person has all the same priorities as you.
4. Continuing from number 3, you may well find that you like being part of a political faction. Sure it’s great if it works well for you. But don’t ostracise others. Don’t exclude, scare, and put off other people by your cliquey tendencies.
5. Don’t expect everyone else to do it like you do. There is space for all forms of campaigning.
6. Don’t be afraid to vote for Re-open Nominations, if you don’t feel the candidates are suited to your priorities.
7. Don’t force other people to vote you in, or allow yourself to be forced by others. You have the right to choose who you want to vote for, to educate yourself about those standing for election before you make your decision.
8. Don’t be nasty to people when they say they can’t nominate you/ aren’t voting for you. It’s their right, and it doesn’t mean they hate you/ don’t want to be your friend.
9. Disagreements about student politics should not prevent people liking each other and getting on.
So basically, don’t be horrible – and please vote, increase student representation in our unions.