Are the SU leader elections just a massive popularity contest?

The answer is probably yes.

Most of those who win tend to be previous Week 1 and Karni reps – those who we recognise as being all-round BNOCs. However, this isn’t necessarily something we should fight against. These candidates will have the experience of being responsible for large numbers of students and their needs, concerns and interests. They will have wide networks that reach across Nottingham’s numerous campuses and will have come into contact with many types of students. They’re the most likely to be in touch with the majority of the student population.

I’d much rather have my interests as a student represented by a Week 1 rep, who understands university culture and has the popular influence to shape future SU decisions, than an out-of-touch, career politician wannabe who thinks the water fountains should be replaced with Moet.

High profile individuals can promote the importance of politics to the masses

What’s more, the fact that these ‘popular’ people are becoming involved in student politics will have the knock-on effect of encouraging more and more students to be active in politics, which can only benefit student and national democracy. High profile individuals can promote the importance of politics to the masses.

Yes, the SU needs to work on breaking down its exclusivity and promote more connections with minority and postgraduate students. And we most definitely do not want a ‘Karni Club’ akin to the Eton-and-Harrow domination of politics.

However, the SU already has positions for numerous representative officers, who work together with the full-time officers. The popularity of some minority representation positions could actually assist and encourage those in these positions to further their causes and address problems with the University.

Remember: democracy is supposed to be ‘of the people, by the people, for the people’. And a ‘popularity contest’ doesn’t always stand contrary to that principle.

Rachel Lewis

Campaigning is underway. Voting will open on Thursday 5th March at 9am and results of the elections will be announced on the evening of Friday 13th March. Voting closes at 3pm on this day.

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