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Sabb Hustings Farce

Feb 20 2007 11:20
Ashley Brown
There is no other way to describe last night's hustings in the Union Dining Hall, than a Farce.
The Presidential candidates present

All but one of the sabbatical candidates turned up for a farcical 3 hour hustings, where the rules had changed to try and liven up proceedings.

The whole process of hustings at Imperial has repeatedly proven itself to be a bit of a waste of time. In the JCR students get irritated because they object to someone yelling down a microphone at them while they are eating. Hustings elsewhere normally consists mostly of hacks, except at Reynolds where it typically consists of nobody whatsoever.

In an effort to make hustings more exciting and attract a wider variety of students the Union provided free beer, wine and food. The free beer and wine proved to be the root of the problem, with a couple of the candidates and several members of the audience having had too much by the time sabbatical hustings started (NUS delegates went first).

ICU President and Returning Officer John Collins chose to adopt a less formal approach to hustings questions in order to put the candidates under more pressure. Instead of the usual fixed time for every candidate to answer a question, the hustings was more interactive, with Collins pushing people to answer questions or making them clarify themselves, in order to have a Dimbleby-style debate. It was a good idea, but poorly executed: John Collins is no David Dimbleby and Question Time rarely has a drunk audience.

Live! was hoping to record the proceedings and provide some key snippets, however in the end they turned out to be totally unhelpful. Hustings has previously been a case of only hacks, candidates and supporters turning up. This one was no different, but the increased number of candidates meant the audience was larger.

Very little information could be gained about the candidates themselves, particularly as they were drowned out by heckling or chatter. The "more exciting" format had many in the audience concerned that it destroyed any ability to have a fair and unbiased assessment of the candidates.

At the end of the day it may make little difference what happens at hustings: supporters of candidates will vote for those candidates regardless of their performance and the hacks present often have plenty of extra information to go on. It may be time to accept hustings as a big waste of time and find an alternative that works.

Further Interviews

ICRadio will be interviewing the candidates this week, at the following times:

  • Deputy President (Clubs & Societies): Tuesday 20th @ 11am
  • Deputy President (Finances & Services): Tuesday 20th @ 12pm
  • Felix Editor: Tuesday 20th @ 1pm
  • Deputy President (Education & Welfare): Tuesday 20th @ 2pm
  • President: Wednesday 21st @ 12pm
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Discussion about “Sabb Hustings Farce”

The comments below are unmoderated submissions by Live! readers. The Editor accepts no liability for their content, nor for any offence caused by them. Any complaints should be directed to the Editor.
Feb 20 2007 11:25

This is the timetable given to candidates for Radio Interviews Today:

11-12 DPCS

12-1 DPFS

1-2 Felix

2-3 DPEW

I know what time I'm turning up at so I hope they don't intend to broadcast an hour before they invited me...

Feb 20 2007 11:27

That's interesting - it isn't what their advert in Felix says.

Feb 20 2007 11:52

Considerring that I didn't know they had an article in Felix I don't know how I should have found out what time to be there. Originally they asked us to tell them what time we could make. *shrugs*

Feb 20 2007 12:22

In fairness:

I think it worked well until one of the Felix candidates decided to break-dance on the front table. From then on, it was only ever going to be farcical.

Better turnout than last year (by a long margin). We counted over 100 at one point, which beats the 20-30 students who attended last year's event.

Feb 20 2007 12:46

Maybe if half the candidates weren't quite so farcical...

To be honest the majority of the 100 people in attendance yesterday evening were there because their mates were running and not because they actually gave a monkeys about the Union. This meant that most questions from the floor, bar the from a few sabbs and hacks, were a waste of time.


Feb 20 2007 12:48

The Felix candidates were the first sabbatical group up.

There were only that many people because the non-hack candidates had their supporters with them and people stayed after Council. There certainly weren't 100 people there fro the whole evening.

With 30 councillors, 16 sabbatical candidates and a further 12 people for NUS delegates, each with a few supporters (and non-hacks with with more than 5), it isn't that difficult to hit 100 at the start of the evening.

Participation isn't everything - it may have got more people involved in the process, but it wasn't useful from an elections point of view. If it was advertised as "shambolic elections-related p***-up" or "elections bar night" then that's fine. It wasn't helpful as a hustings.

Candidates couldn't be heard, kept being interrupted by the drunk lot from (I believe) Wilson House at the front and the debate was totally unbalanced. Not the best way to run a democratic organisation, but then hustings probably have no impact on the results.

7. aN0n   
Feb 20 2007 13:03

I think Stephen Brown was the only serious candidate running for president.

Feb 20 2007 13:36

I think JC handled the proceedings badly. I know the slate are a joke but he was bullying them far too much. Plus getting presidential candidates to sit according to their political leanings is absurd and (I think) unconstitutional. The actions of this RO made it much more of a farce than it needed to be

Feb 20 2007 13:43

To be fair, the slate aren't a joke. I felt one thing came across at hustings: they were well prepared and very serious. They have no experience, but keep repeating the same thing: "people said if you have a problem with the union, stand for election". They did.

Diogo on the other hand ...

Feb 20 2007 14:04

can somebody please explain to me what happened with the seating arrangement?

"Plus getting presidential candidates to sit according to their political leanings is absurd and (I think) unconstitutional."

i wasn't there...but if this happened that is ludicrous and JC should be ashamed of himself, he knows better than that

11. Ed   
Feb 20 2007 14:13

I wasn't told that the hustings were at this time? Piffle. Anyway, why would I want to hang around in college until 7.30 anyway?

Feb 20 2007 14:34

On seating:

1. It was a joke at the start and wasn't in the least bit serious.

2. About 2 minutes in to the preceedings the five original candidates were joined by two others and made the seating completely random again.

3. Nobody complained at the time or after the event. If they had done then I would have changed the seating arrangement.

4. If people were too shy to complain last night then I am sorry if anybody there was offended.

Feb 20 2007 14:47

Thats absolutely no excuse. The RO should try an keep a handle on procedings, not get drunk and aggrevate the situation by behaving completely unprofessionally.

The RO was obviously completely incapable of keeping his feelings to himself and ought to be removed from his position.

14. RO   
Feb 20 2007 14:59

Fine - complain to the Union Court.

And the record I genuinely don't care who wins what position and I certainly wasn't drunk.

Feb 20 2007 15:04

[Edited: accusing someone of lying with no proof is libellous, would you care to rephrase your post please...]

16. RO   
Feb 20 2007 16:18

Are you accusing me of lying?

Feb 20 2007 16:38

Now now, children.

Can't we be civil on Live! for once?

There's no need for all the personal insults and excessive griefing.

Feb 20 2007 16:51

"but he was bullying them far too much"

I did not feel that we were treated any differently to any other candidate.

Feb 20 2007 18:17

[Removed at the request of the poster]

Feb 20 2007 20:29

Thank god Mark found the mute button on the microphone for whenever Diogo started talking...jeeez...

Feb 20 2007 21:04

Although to be quite honest Diogo didn't really need a microphone. He was quite capable of 'projecting' his voice without one.

Feb 20 2007 22:54


"I think Stephen Brown was the only serious candidate running for president."

Oh, so a serving sab who is prepared to give up the solid offer of a very well paid "dream job" in order to put himself forward isnt "serious"?

In all fairness, noone at husting really had any doubts about how they would be voting anyway. Some of the behaviour of the some of the candidates was disruptive and distracting, as was the racous crowd.

Free alcohol was pleasant, however definitely counter-productive (though the food was well received. Maybe next time, we can have more food (Pizza?) and just some soft drinks?

Feb 21 2007 06:12

So Felix's headline of "Sabb elections not a farce (yet)" *was* rather prophetic then.

I'm stunned.

24. anon2   
Feb 21 2007 09:43

""I think Stephen Brown was the only serious candidate running for president."

Oh, so a serving sab who is prepared to give up the solid offer of a very well paid "dream job" in order to put himself forward isnt "serious"?"

what dream job? are you on about jon matthews or who?

Feb 21 2007 09:47

Jon has the offer of a very well paid job which involves living on a golf course in some foreign country beginning with a T, I think... and as Rupert Neate kindly helped to ellaborate it is not owned by his dad. At least that's what I remember from hustings.

Feb 21 2007 09:47

At hustings Jon Matthews said he has available a very well paying job managing golf courses in Thailand.

27. wtf   
Feb 21 2007 10:49

So, is Jon Matthews a f**king idiot to give up this "Dream Job", if it can be anyone's dream to manage Golf Courses, to run for ICU President? I mean, how can someone be so stupid, I don't think he is that bloody selfless, if he is ask him to give up running for Stephen Brown, who will probably do a better job anyway and is more of a student.

Feb 21 2007 13:29

wtf: I don't think I'm an idiot. I'm not giving up the job completely, I'm planning on putting it off for a year in order to be Union President (and hoping that they will be happy with that). I am honestly that selfless, I believe in this Union, I have served it for eight years and wish to continue to do so. Also, I am as much a student as Stephen is, unless of course you consider PG students as lesser students than UGs?

29. wtf   
Feb 21 2007 14:24

"I don't think I'm an idiot."

Ofcourse you don't!

30. wtf   
Feb 21 2007 16:53


there is no job, he's full of fluff. does he even speak thai or malay? furthermore, if he did, why the phd? that breh is so full of s**t it p***es me off

Feb 21 2007 18:40

Too many wtfs!

I guess he inspires us to ask the question: wtf?

32. jess   
Feb 21 2007 21:00

jon, if it's your dream, do you not think you would be better off following it than trying to win some screwed up popularity contest?

just a wee small thought there

Feb 21 2007 23:47

Jess: Since when has the position of ICU President had someone capable of sensible thought processes?

34. wtf   
Feb 22 2007 11:46

He Who Knows All: Aren't you the smart one!

No wonder you're on live! commenting on the process rather than participating in it.

Feb 22 2007 13:06

Erm... Slight problem in me participating in the Imperial elections if I'm at King's now...

36. wtf   
Feb 22 2007 16:42

Excuses, excuses!

37. jess   
Feb 22 2007 19:02

He Who Knows All: Not since before I was a wee fresher - so that's over six years

wtf: it's nice to see that when you are put in your place you come back with such a witty retort. maybe next year they will let you onto the Oxford Junior Readers as you have shown such mental prowess

38. jess   
Feb 22 2007 19:03

ps "selfless" LOL!!!!!!11!1!11!!!!11!!!1!!!

39. wtf   
Feb 22 2007 19:09


Thanks for the compliment - Unlike most at Imperial, I am better at conversation in person than on a message board.

Anyways, I can only do so much with the material you guys post on here - its hardly bloody cutting edge retort material, is it? No deep insights into the union's psyche etc.

Anyways, peace out and stay safe kids.

40. jess   
Feb 22 2007 19:41

don't you lump me with the hacks, i only come here to annoy them ;)

41. wtf   
Feb 22 2007 19:53

Thought I'd leave you guys with this gem

Explains why Live! works so well.

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