On paper at least, the two candidates running to be Chair of Union Council could not be more different.
One has five clear bullet points which outline their plans for the year ahead, the other has three non-specific paragraphs which, in my opinion, simply echo the basic council chair job description; hardly a winning manifesto.
The problem Richard Thompson may face is that being strict on lateness, a policy filter system and holding the union executive to account are likely to be unpopular with the majority of councillors – the sole students able to vote in this election.
I however am very much a fan of his lateness policy, improving the environment (a sentiment very much at the heart of VP Democracy and Communications elect Hannah Chrisp’s manifesto) and holding union executive accountable are also vitally important.
Reducing meeting times to an hour will be trickier. Sometimes it is necessary for discussions to be long and this is vital for correct, well thought through decisions to be made. However, with sufficiently strict chairing of meetings, I have no doubt that their length can be reduced substantially.
Then we come to our second candidate, Sheree Lim, who has been proposed by VP Finance and Commercial Services elect Zak Evans. Just to clarify, a future member of the Union Executive has put forward a student whose main role is to facilitate holding him to account.
Lim openly admits in her manifesto that she had made no consideration of running until she was recommended. Her manifesto goes on to talk about communicating with the student body and ensuring “everyone has their say” not just the “strong characters” like those who have ironically nominated her. Both of these are basic elements of the job in my opinion.
Lim’s promise to move the way councillors are elected away from departments is bold but also her strongest point. Unfortunately, she fails to explain what system she would aim to implement, something that would require lengthy discussions with Chrisp come the summer.
There are two more candidates in this election than I had feared there would be; however there seems to be only one with an electable manifesto. Still, Thompson remains the underdog as he hasn’t been a union councillor and Lim is backed by two very vocal councillors.
In an election where only councillors are able to vote, that could well prove pivotal.