On Sunday evening, a smear campaign against SUSU Presidential candidate Harry Noden went online at http://www.asknoden.co.uk, with the intention of derailing Noden’s campaign and discrediting certain members of the Union including General Manager Stuart Rice and incumbent President Zahid Raja.
Our Politics editor Laurence Atkinson decided to follow up this website by taking advice from the URL and asking Mr Noden, (pictured), himself.
Laurence Atkinson: What was the first you heard of the smear campaign?
Harry Noden: Well, on Friday I went to register my page of asknoden.co.uk, which I had kept very private due to it going on my leaflets and manifestos online this week. It was available after I submitted my leaflets and manifestos on Friday afternoon, but when I sat down to create it on Friday evening and low and behold it had been bought under my own name. I then spent the weekend checking to see if this person was going to upload anything or just keep the URL from me. Then finally just before bed on Sunday I hit refresh and the smear was there. However people had even got wind of this website before I did!
LA: And how did you react when you read the material on the page? Particularly the claims that you have been ‘milking the expenses gravy train’?
HN: At first I thought it was some kind of sick joke. It quickly dawned on me that this was a carefully calculated smear campaign against my candidacy for president.
LA: Upon reflection, are you worried that this could have hindered your campaign?
HN: That’s a really hard question – of course. I’m incredibly new to Students’ Union politics. All I can do is be completely honest and hope students see that.
LA: The smear campaign focuses on your trip to London with Zahid Raja and [International Officer] Eva Donoghue, what was the purpose of this trip and in what capacity were you there?
HN: I was shadowing [Zahid] at an event where he was lobbying some University Chancellors to take a stand on the immigration Bill. I was quite nervous, but I’m glad I went.
By Laurence Atkinson
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