"Hi, my name's Inanimate Carbon Rod, and I'm running to be your next President of your National Union of Students". So goes the opening of a manifesto by the Inanimate Carbon Rod, featured in television show The Simpson's, which has boldly announced his - it's – decision to stand for NUS Presidency this year.
In the animated television series, the Rod's role included most notably beating Homer Simpson to the title of Worker of the Week at Springfield Nuclear Power Plant. Its online manifesto page for NUS Presidency, operated by an anonymous identity, claims that: "As President, I will represent all students, regardless of politics, and without sarcasm or aggression or inaccessible language and behaviour, because as an inanimate rod, I am incapable of having or displaying emotions.
"Place your trust in Rod, and I believe, together, we can build a student movement, and a workers bomb to define a generation."
The campaign speaks of building a "bomb" to destroy "the parasitic classes that are destroying our society and our Student Union."
"Only through dynamic and efficient construction of this bomb can we return control of Student Unions to their students, and workplaces to their workers", it urges.
The Rod, a firm supporter of the "Carbon Rod Party", has gained strong backing since launching its online campaign on Jan 13th, gathering 794 Facebook likes and 144 Twitter followers on @CarbonRod4NUS. Supporters' comments claimed the likes of "all hail the mighty rod".
Widespread interest in this comical election standing highlights a more serious undertone - the NUS has recently demonstrated instances of weak leadership, reflected for instance in the unsuccessful Demo2012 last November which saw NUS President Liam Burns being booed by students.
Other (clearly less qualified) candidates who have announced their standing for this year's NUS Presidency include Conservative Peter Smallwood and two female candidates. NUS criteria for eligibility to stand for President stipulate that candidates must be a student at a Constituent Member (CM) of NUS, and require a minimum of 10 nominations by other student CMs - students have claimed online to be helping the Rod overcome this minor complication by gathering signatures and pushing their councils to debate its standing.
This year's election is due to take place at the NUS National Conference in April. The NUS has thus far been unable to refute the Inanimate Carbon Rod's claim that it "will be on your ballot paper", making the Rod a laudable candidate for NUS presidency indeed.
Gwen Jing – News Editor