This is an Open letter to Union Presidential Candidate, George Swindells.
Over the course of the elections period, Mr Swindells, you have raised a few eyebrows, due to your quite controversial campaign theme and comments. As a member of the media team covering these elections, my job has been to stay impartial when addressing anything that may be made public. However, as a voting student, who is privileged enough to be heavily involved in the Union you claim to want to lead, I would like to let you know that I do have an opinion. This does not work in your favour.
During our encounters and watching the activity over the past week, it is easy to get lost in the controversy of your theme; comments made about your character; and over looking your manifesto points.
My hope was that a quite outlandish person would settle down in the build up to an event as prolific as the bubble debate. Surely, you would focus on the points outlined in your manifesto and drop the farcical character? In past years this is exactly what has happened. Obviously, it did not happen this year. The “Candidate” presented to the watching student population and team present was arrogant, ill informed and frankly embarrassing. For you to choose to continue this is your prerogative but to be disrespectful is not. I am sure our Vice-Chancellor would not like to continue his work promoting our Student’s Union by “seeing how fast he can down a VK”. If you choose to shame yourself after this period is over, please try not to do the same to a man who has done so much for us, and anybody else for that matter.
Furthermore, your comments regarding student engagement were appalling. Any comments made were usually in reference to nights out and being perpetually drunk. If I may refer back to your own manifesto, in which you say: “I will also seek to raise the awareness of sober nights at the Union, as well as introducing new events such as silent discos in order to provide a place for those less interested in the mayhem of Hey Ewe and FND; as the #1 ranked university for student experience it is essential that we make sure every student’s experience is equally enjoyable”. How could anybody believe this is a priority given your most recent comments? Even your ‘right-to-reply’ is a paragraph of empty words that simply addresses none of the concerns voiced in any depth at all.
It is for these reasons and many more that I call into question your reasons for running in the first place. I cannot deny that some of your ideas are good, but the fact they have come from someone who does not seem to have the ability to lead, listen or limit himself, it lessens the very idea of improvement in the Union. While we cannot stop people from running with controversial themes to gain the attention required for this process; I do hope that future candidates remember that at the heart of it, this is an election that can define a generation of students and their experiences. Play the character if you wish, and it may all be in good spirits, but when the need arises, please endeavour to present yourself and your policies with the seriousness of the occasion.
I do not feel you have taken this process seriously. I do not feel you have sold yourself well. I do not believe you should feel accomplished.
Referring back to the start of this letter: It is easy to get lost in someone’s theme; lose their character as a person and lose their manifesto points. Sadly, I believe this is what has happened to you, apart from the fact that your character (from what you have shown) is hardly any better than your theme.
I only ask that in the future you seriously consider the consequences of your actions and think about the reputation of both yourself and the institution.