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.