Adam Osmond, a second year Politics and Social Policy student is an active member of the Students’ Union, having run for General Secretary last Summer. Here he shares his views on the 2014 FTO elections so far:
It has now been two weeks since nominations closed on our Full Time Officer elections for this year and I am writing in the wake of the shock news that Harry Noden, candidate for President, has felt the need to withdraw from the entire process. It’s apparent that these last two weeks of electioneering, smearing and almost libellous behaviour have been a complete farce and brought our union into disrepute, and wearing Harry down in the process.
Let me make it clear, nobody deserves to receive personal abuse because they had the courage to stand in an election.
Whatever you think about Harry or how he became involved in this election, it cannot be right to put someone through two weeks of hell because of it. Not only is it unfair on the candidates themselves, but there are lots of students sitting at home reading about this who will feel disenfranchised and disillusioned with our Students’ Union and the people within it. The confrontational nature is what puts people off politics, ‘all of them lying’, ‘not working in the national interest’ and just generally slagging each other off are just a few comments I’ve heard from others who don’t share my own personal interest in politics.
The events of the last two weeks are showing that student politics has become much worse than that, rubbishing and actively creating a slur on a fellow student who goes to the same university as you is something that shouldn’t exist within our academic community. Respect for others is something that has disappeared here. We should be discussing debates had between our candidates, listening to views and discussing ideas that can best improve our student experience, and not being, to put it bluntly, dicks to one other. We have seen an election get ugly and escalate quickly to become something that a candidate was so uncomfortable by the actions of others that he no longer felt able to run as a viable candidate.
I want to make it clear that I do not condone any of the tweets made by Harry in the past, nor do I share his views or manifesto points, and nor would I possibly have even have voted for him. However due to a campaign established by fellow students, we will never have the chance to debate and discuss these points, and we may have lost a student who was willing to get involved in student politics forever.
Campaign week kicks off on Monday with ‘Quiz the Candidates’ at 12pm in The Hive
I genuinely believe there are many people who get into politics with a utopian view of being able to change the world and there are many success stories of people being able to do this. I know many young people who are incredible activists and have done brilliant things for them and their communities. Many of whom exist within our own university. Unfortunately, a select few are the other type of student politician, who do everything they can to jump to the next step of their own personal career ladder, and will confront and stop anyone who stands in their way. This is unfortunately what we have seen happen here, not necessarily by other candidates. (All of which are brilliant by the way and I support anyone who wishes to put themselves willingly into this bear pit.)
Making a difference to people’s lives and campaigning on issues that you personally believe in takes second fiddle for this other group however, to getting your name out there and having a made up title that gives these young adults a disillusioned sense of self importance, whereas in reality they bear no significance to anyone outside of their own little bubble.
I’m a dreamer and a believer that hopefully everyone who gets into politics does it because they want to change the world and remain uncorrupted by the system. Please always remain an activist and stand up for what you believe in by doing things you really want to do and changing your world and the world of others for the better. Whether this be through doing a fantastic job managing societies and services, welfare of students, sport or by just doing a really good campaign for something you believe. Be the change you want to see in the world.
By Adam Osmond