This is my second to last ever editorial for this paper. Jesus, it still hasn’t properly sunk in. By the time you read this the deadline to apply for this job will likely have passed – hell, we may have even hired my successor. Not really on any sort of topic, but it’s just trippy to think how close I am to being done with this publication essentially forever.
As I write this the nominations for SU have closed, and we have our candidates. I remember running for SU what seems like a decade ago, and so much has changed for the better: there are so many more candidates, for a start – when I ran for Equality Officer in 2014 there was 26 candidates overall, whereas this year there are 33. While 7 more candidates might not sound like a lot, in 2014 there were three positions completely unopposed, and all but three of the other positions only had two candidates. What’s more, there are like 15 female candidates this year, but there was only 7 in 2014 (and three of those seven ran for the same position) – representation matters, and it’s good to see UCCSU moving ever forward.
I bring up the gender breakdown of the candidates for an important reason. In my year on the SU, we only had one female officer – our SEFS Rep. While student politics aren’t the most important elections in the world, you’d be surprised just how many ‘proper’ politicians and activists get their start in students’ unions around the world. So to see such a jump in women coming forward for election shows that the times have changed, women feel more comfortable in running for positions and, hopefully, going on to ‘proper’ politics.
This is bordering on patronising, to be honest, so I won’t dwell too much on that. Regardless of gender, I wish every single candidate the absolute best, and hope they have a bit of fun over the weeks & days of campaigning. If I had to give any of you advice right now it would be to not take it too seriously, to remember to eat & drink water and to take something out of this experience, regardless of the result. There’s a principle called Sayre’s Law, that’s often attributed to Henry Kissinger, that goes like this:
“In any dispute the intensity of feeling is inversely proportional to the value of the issues at stake. That is why academic politics are so bitter.”
I’ve seen so many pointless bust-ups and storming out of counts over the years that honestly could be avoided. I know it’s no fun to lose, and after two days (and several weeks) of constant stress and anticipation it can be easy to lose your head, but no one likes a sore loser. And looking back you’ll definitely cringe. So remember, even though it sucks, it’s not worth it to throw a strop, or throw your drink for that matter.
Best of luck to those of you not running, too: may the elections bring many delicious free treats, as little stress as possible getting to lectures, and that sticker you get that stops campaign teams from bothering you. Don’t forget to vote early, and vote often.