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This article is an opinion piece and should be taken as such. It is highly likely to be biased, but either the article itself or the ensuing discussion will probably be entertaining. Live! takes no editorial line on opinion pieces.

Hacked Off - Elections Special

Feb 21 2004 16:07
Hacked Off
This week, Hacked Off reviews ICU's latest production by leading AmDram group Council, "Elections Special"
All the world's a stage and Union Council merely players.

Oh, the drama. As readers of Live! will already know, Council met on Thursday to discuss the elections. To seasoned observers Council can often appear to be a sort of amateur dramatics team. Sometimes the clowns come out and it’s a circus, other times it can be a more structured farce, but they always strive to make a drama out of the mundane. On Thursday the actors decided to adopt a progressive movement. Following recent trends of taking real political incidents to the stage, such as the Hutton Inquiry, Council put on a five hour work of theatre based around the concept of sabbatical elections under the hand of director, Mr Sen Ganesh. The choice to give this role to Mr Ganesh was puzzling given his general association with farce rather than high drama.

Enter stage left, the chorus narrated the origins of the sorry saga, or the election committee as they are referred to in the script , to set the tones of the play: a Greek tragedy. As the returning officer had yet to return from India his understudy, Edward Piggott, took the lead of the chorus. A wise choice, as no one can know more about losing elections and the fickle nature of Council than Mr Piggott.

Two candidates both alike in dignity, in fair Beit where we lay our scene, from ancient grudges break to new mutiny...

The elections committee had been “inundated” with three complaints on the morning of Friday the 13th (a suitably portentous date in itself and one can imagine a soothsayer “beware the ides of February... or the nearest available college day”) regarding Felix. The post-modern, ironic, juxtaposition of fortune and misfortune were contrived and perhaps should not have made it into the final script. Being a chorus, the elections committee decided to make a song and dance of things and impounded Felix. Sadly, the understudy, Mr Piggott, forgot his lines but quickly improvised: Felix had been “brought into the office”, not impounded. The poor cat was taken into the warm and given a saucer of milk, not dragged off by pest control.

Then followed an explanation of how the Elections Committee made their decision. The audience became confused. Even actors seemed unable to understand. The funerary attired (perhaps to mourn the death of the elections) Seb Tallents, particularly seemed unable to grasp the decisions of the committee. He had lost the plot.

For the benefit of those confused, the Executive Committee then explained: Mustafa “Julius” Arif was attacked by a conspiracy of freedom loving citizens (played by the elections committee) after they had been warned by Brutus (played by Ameet Bhakta) of the danger of Caesar seizing power after he crossed the Rubicon and brought his campaign into the forum during the State of the Union Address on the Ides of February.

In a vote, council decided 24-5 that the election had been unfair and, in another, that it should be re-run. However in true Greek Style, there was to be no villain of this tale, everyone was a victim of circumstances. In vote to disqualify Mr Arif, the knives slipped and Mr Arif survived, with Mr Bhakta expressing that disqualification was completely out of proportion and only three votes in favour. One from Shrenik Patel, “Et tu, Shrenik?”, and two from the motion’s proposer, Mr Tibbits, who then denounced a City and Guilds conspiracy behind Caeser’s survival and theatrically resigned. Hacked Off hopes we have not seen the last of Mr Tibbits though.

The second act was comparatively dull, focusing on the “user error” in counting the votes for the other elections. Attempts to gain the tense atmosphere of the first act by using roll call votes failed. So for the third act, the play returned to the issue of the Presidential election. Would the vote be with ballot boxes or online voting? The clock ticked away and the guillotine for the meeting was extended and then as the climax drew nigh someone called Quorum and the play ended on a cliff hanger. Will the vote be held online? Will it be with visible ballot boxes? Will the returning officer ever actually return? Find out in next weeks climatic special feature of Council on Monday.

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Discussion about “Hacked Off - Elections Special”

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.
1. wow   
Feb 21 2004 19:11

bravo. bravo.


2. ouch   
Feb 21 2004 19:36

"Edward Piggott, took the lead of the chorus. A wise choice, as no one can know more about loosing elections and the fickle nature of Council than Mr Piggott."


Feb 21 2004 20:10

Loosing, shurely shome mishtake?

Someone who wasn't as loose with his English would realise the word is losing.

I suppose I should be thankful that you spelt my name right.

4. great   
Feb 21 2004 20:29

this is an excellant article.

nice sarcasm aswell Mr.Piggot. Had any sausages lately?

Feb 22 2004 14:11

Do you think we're gonna hear Mustafa whinge about how this year's council is boring? Granted it did drag on towards the end but....

Melodrama or what!?

Feb 22 2004 15:03

Ive heard Tafa has been going around with a sign around his neck. Anyone know what's written on it?

Feb 22 2004 15:24

And also, how did that Singapore society world record attempt go?

Feb 22 2004 22:01

Tafa indeed go round the college with a sandwich board around his neck with a view to allowing students to write whatever they want on it in exchange for money for RAG. Notable scrawls included "NUS Rocks" and "I fancy Shrenik"...

9. bored   
Feb 23 2004 11:01

Aaaah! That's so sweet! I'm sure Shrenik's well chuffed! He's been after him for ages!

10. Board   
Feb 23 2004 11:36

From what I recall Mr Tibbets references to City and Guild's block voting was more 'jokey' than serious, much like Shrenik's vote to disqualify Mr Arif.

From what I remember Mr T resigned because he felt the decision to re-run the Presidential elections (which was won by 17-15 or something equally close) was very much the wrong choice. Although I suspect Mr Tibbets may be correcting me on this if I'm wrong.

11. Hmmm   
Feb 23 2004 11:47

I thought Tom resigned because he thought that nominations should be reopened for the new ballot.

Feb 23 2004 17:36

Indeed, hacked off has made a factual error. Whilst I was disappointed to see great cheers from the opposite side of the room, including certain members of elections committee whose names have von in the middle, when the re-run vote went 17:15, I resigned not because of those cheers, nor because of Shrenik's self-effacing vote with me, but because I can not see how any self-respecting Council can so heavily denounce the presidential election as unfair, only to then vote to do nothing about this disastrous state of affairs. The Constitution restricts the Union heavily on its choices from here on (and is the reason why nominations can't be re-opened), but the vote last thursday could have opened up options for a far fairer resolution of this farce. It's shameful that members are forced to resign rather than be lead to potentially break the law.

I, for one, am glad that I no longer have to waste vast swathes of my time dealing with other people's appeals, and listening to 'new points' from people whose only exposure to this whole farce was last week's Council. Oh, and a president who has the nerve to assert that I 'should know better' as pertaining to the election regulations, when, err, it was his, alleged infringement (compaint upheld), of self same regs that has caused all this fuss. Good Riddance.

Feb 24 2004 00:31

Hear hear! You will be missed! So we can remain faitful to the Tibbits way of thinking, can I wear your hat? I believe it holds all the power.

Granted I'd have to call an exterminator before I wear it (lice are awfully nasty little blighters), but I think it'd be worth the wait.

14. amram   
Feb 24 2004 14:16

Shoot me, but tibbits is talking a lot of sense above. So now there is no re-run, even though they thought things were unfair? How ridiculous!

Simple solution: papaer based re-run, no new candidates, elections held by end of week...

If only people had a brain...

15. Seb   
Feb 24 2004 15:29

But how would you justify the fact that the other Sabatical officers have a different electorate than the President?

If there is to be a re-run, it should either be identical to the current system, or it should be as though RON won the election.

RON would be preferable as it would allow for a election that is not based on who is most to blame for the current mess (I blame the elections committee, for making a mountain out of a molehill by impoudning felix and immidiately "contaminating" the electorate), but on real issues. It would also allow for new manifestos.

16. amram   
Feb 24 2004 19:14

RON is desirable agreed. But time consuming. Best therefore to re-run with current candidates- I don't think that that many people would want to stand who had not done so before

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