There’s a lot of recent debate surrounding the effect of the elections campaign and whether it provides a credible platform for the best candidates to show what they’re made of. There is no doubt that the best way to gather votes is to run a successful campaign that reaches not only the students on campus, but the ones living off campus as well.
If a candidate grabs the attention of students in the right way, it can be a huge advantage in terms of gathering votes and ultimately becoming a part of the Exec team next year. A lot of us will be swayed by the prospect of a complimentary Haribo or strawberry lace and handing out free confectionery will always put a candidate in a voter’s good books.
Another effective method is door-knocking. If a candidate makes the effort to ask people for their vote individually, this is something that will leave a lasting impression on voters and will result in support growing quickly.
A good campaign is what every candidate should strive for but does it actually prove that a particular person is good enough for the actual job they are campaigning for? The answer, rather simply, is no. However, does this give us a right to criticise the whole process? Absolutely not. The whole reason behind the rather light-hearted campaign process is that we, as a collective bunch of students, are a fickle lot. If a group of students were selected at random across campus, I would put a lot of money on none of them being able to list a single point in any candidate’s manifesto, no matter how well written or inspiring the candidate’s words may be.
This is largely down to the fact that a lot of emphasis is based on the rather comical side of campaigning. Throughout many different election campaigns, many votes have been cast simply because one candidate is dressed as Spongebob or another has bothered to show their face in a lecture hall. Now, we can all sit around and say ‘Isn’t this awful?’ and ‘Why can’t the elections be taken seriously?’ but the truth of the situation is that many people take the elections with a pinch of salt and if a candidate doesn’t embrace the spirit in campaigning, they won’t get enough votes to get the position they’re after.
The whole process of going for an Exec position is like no other job application process around. At what point would you be asked to dress as a banana and consume copious amounts of alcohol to prove that you are good enough to handle a business’ finances? It sounds ridiculous but at times, this is exactly what the campaign process demands from candidates running for Exec.
This may sound like an attack on the campaign system but it isn’t. Most candidates have detailed manifestos and genuinely have the best interest in the future of the university and the job they wish to conduct if they are lucky enough to secure the position they are running for. If you are genuinely interested in what the candidates have to say, watching the Bubble Debates online is a must. Yes, there will be a lot of voters who will not even come close to reading a manifesto but the fact that the elections generates such high coverage throughout Loughborough is a positive thing.
Campaigning allows everyone to have a say and it gives candidates the opportunity to really express their enthusiasm for the role they are running for, albeit in an unconventional way. There are flaws to the system and it may not always result in support for the best candidate on paper. However, it promotes the whole concept of student voice and hopefully after reading this, students will appreciate the fact that candidates are running to change things for the better, rather than reveling in the attention of a competitive popularity contest.