Tomorrow morning at 9am, campaigning for this years Guild Executive elections kicks off, and for those of us involved in campaign teams or running for election, tomorrow marks the official start of two insanely busy weeks. At times it’s going to be fun, stressful, cold, and emotional.
I still can’t believe some of the key sabbatical posts are unopposed- a friend at another Uni expressed astonishment when I told him, asking where were the socialists, the Respect candidates, the Tories to run against them? The answer is I guess we’re just not that radical here at Birmingham- these groups just don’t dominate our union politics like they do elsewhere. What says the most to me about the nature of Birmingham is that probably the biggest faction (if it can be called such) on our Guild council is the Paintball society. Birmingham has a reputation as being a bit conservative (small c), but to me it just seems a-political. When compared to other unions on this, I think we are very lucky. Candidates here are sometimes Labour-esque or People&Planet-y, but so much more revolves around the personal differences than off-the-shelf ideologies.
This is what makes campaigning in these elections so refreshing. While a number of BULS members are standing for positions, it could hardly be called party-political. I am about to surrender my next two weeks of spare time to campaign for a friend who isn’t in the Labour party and strongly disagrees with me on a ton of issues, but to me, all that is irrelevant- I firmly believe he is the best person for the position he’s going for and will make a real and hugely positive difference for students, and that’s all that matters to me. It makes a lovely change from Labour Party campaigning, not because I don’t love spending cold Sundays shoving leaflets through letterboxes, but because each candidate is standing on a personal set of goals and values rather than toeing the same old party line. This is campaigning for a person, not a party, and for specific jobs, rather than general representatives, and this is what makes it special.
All the best, to all the candidates…