Last night an online smear campaign entitled Ask Noden Anything (apart from his expenses) was launched on the website http://asknoden.co.uk/.
The website targets not only prospective presidential candidate Harry Noden, but also SU general manager Stuart Rice, International Officer Eva Donoghue and incumbent SU President Zahid Raja.
The anonymous host of this website primarily attacks Noden’s current affiliations with members of SU staff, suggesting these ties give him an unfair advantage in the upcoming elections. In a mock-style interview, ‘Harry’ claims he’ll reveal this manifesto ‘when’ and not ‘if’ he’s ‘been elected’ as next year’s President. ‘Harry’ then goes on to boast that he’s already been ‘milking the expenses gravy train’ citing a recent event where himself and Zahid Raja claimed ‘over £400’ from the union, and tried to squander this money further by asking for champagne to be ordered at the union’s cost.
The source implies that this use of union funds is normal practice, stating that ‘The international officer went with a mate to a one day conference that cost the union over five hundred quid’
The article then goes on to include spoof quotes from incumbent President Zahid Raja, who says ‘I’m supporting Harry because he’s a stand up guy and he’s learned how to be a proper president and milk the union for every penny you can.’
This attack on the President also extends to allegations that he uses his wages to enjoy a drug-fuelled lifestyle, ‘I love doing drugs at house parties and I think I’m Lenardo di caprio from wolf of wall street’
Fellow Presidential candidate and current Societies and Services Officer, Ceinwen Cloney wrote: ‘I would like to make it clear to all candidates, observers of and voters in the election, that I do not condone or feel comfortable with the existence or production of such materials. I entered this election race with the moral stance that this would be a clean and fair process with a deserving winner as voted for by the students of Swansea University; based on the positive messages found in each persons individual manifesto and campaign.’ as part of an official statement on her Facebook page.
By Zoe Alford
But what do you think? Are smear campaigns wrong or are they a good part of the democratic process? Comment below.