(Universal suffrage, shurely? -Ed.) (No. -G.)
Well, the Sussex elections are in full swing, and as their Returning Officer I’ve just about survived the first few days of frenziedly vital queries eg. “I know the rules say we can’t use professionally-printed banners, but can I use a professionally-printed banner?” “Am I allowed to tell people that they shouldn’t vote for X because they’re totally useless?” (a campaign tactic modelled on Churchill’s finest moments) and, every candidate’s favourite formula for masking a whinge as an innocent enquiry, “I just wanted to check if what Z is doing is allowed.”
I’ve had to adjudicate on everything from unlabelled cupcakes to bicycle flashmobs – now there’s a sentence I don’t use every day – and am currently considering obtaining a Red Cross armband so that I can move through Library Square clearly marked as a civilian non-combatant.
Explaining to one candidate that banners cost 60 points (part of our spending limit system) per square metre, I was asked, “What if I want a rectangle though?” Erm…
One particularly fraught moment occurred at 3am on Friday morning when a candidate emailed me to announce that their banner had been cut down and a full investigation was called for. At 10am they emailed to clarify, “False alarm. It just blew backwards.”
And I’d just hired Benedict Cumberbatch to get to the bottom of it.
When your heart starts a-pounding
Continuing this week’s Gabrielquotes theme of ‘Democracy: What Good Is It?’, the battle for Scottish independence ran into difficulties last week as Chancellor George Osborne tossed a caber into the works.
The complete git told journalists at a press conference, “If Scotland walks away from the UK, it walks away from the UK pound.”
To demonstrate his understanding of economic theory, he added, “A currency isn’t an asset to be divided after a break-up like a CD collection.”
As a celebration of this latest milestone in the fight to keep the United Kingdom united, I’m happy to release a song entitled The Pound: Can You Leave Her There? (Admittedly I copied the tune off someone else but I’m hoping to get away with it Scot free.)
An enviable power of recall
This week the Cabinet dropped the Recall of MPs Bill, which would have allowed a petition signed by 10% of voters in a constituency to trigger a by-election if their MP had eg. been found to have sexually abused a vulnerable constituent. Was dropping this proposal a good idea? This is democracy week: you decide!
“If you just plonk Sweden into Tanzania, you’re going to have pandemonium.”
“Is this clear?” / “Things have been clearer before.” / “What a diplomat!”
“If 50% of Global Studies students complete the National Student Survey, we get £1,000 for the School.” [And those 600 students between them pay £4,200,000 to the School every year. Still, I’m sure an extra grand will go a long way.]
“The affair with Edwina Currie was portrayed by most newspapers as a major story.”
“One thing you can say about David Cameron, he’s there to be shot at.”
Five of the best full-time positions available at Sussex Students’ Union (and another one)
- President – runs stuff.
- Activities Officer – sports and socs.
- Communications Officer – informaton superhighway.
- Education Officer – reading, writing and arithmetic: the four key forms of education.
- Operations Officer – finances and occasional medical work.
- Welfare Officer – if it’s not well unfair (which it’s not) it must be…
Once you’ve watched the candidates’ Paxman-style grilling in Candidate Question Time, voting online is quick and easy. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry; it’ll change your life. Visit www.sussexstudent.com/vote any time before 5pm on Friday 21 February!