Joke candidate sets CUSU election alight

Image credit: Milo Edwards

CUSU's elections has kicked off with an upswing in the number of candidates, including Milo Edwards’ joke candidacy for Presidency. However, a printing mistake has resulted in the ‘Little Book of Manifestos’ being printed inside out.

In contrast to last year only two positions are uncontested, Welfare Officer and Education Officer. Last year the positions of President, Women's and Education Officers were all uncontested and there were initially no candidates for Welfare or Co-Ordinator. In the resulting by-election, these two positions were uncontested. 

One anonymous third-year NatSci student said "Given last year's embarrassing omnishambles at least this year's election actually has people running. If you're going to have an election that no one votes for, you might as well have multiple candidates for people to not vote for."

A third-year Historian was more enthusiastic; ""This may well be the most exciting CUSU campaign season ever, which admittedly isn't saying a lot."

A less enthusiastic response was given by a fourth year MML student, "Honestly, I have no knowledge of or interest in CUSU". 

The election for Women’s Officer looks to be one of the most exciting. Daisy Hughes, Amy Reddington and Charlie Chorley all claim in their manifestos to hold differing views on the role of the Women’s Campaign and its controversial image within the University student body.The three candidates offering competitng visions of the Women's Campaign Image: Jack May

Former Union President Tim Squirrell commented on Twitter: “In particular there are 3 (?) candidates for Women's Officer, all offering different visions of what that role should entail. It feels less like a straight student union election and more like a referendum on particular kinds of student politics and feminism.”

Also proving interesting is the election for CUSU Coordinator. Ivan Tchernev was spotted jogging around Sidgwick Site, Downing Site and Market Square with a large banner declaring his candidacy. His opponent, the incumbent CUSU Coordinator, Jemma Stewart plans on distributing free sanitary products to colleges in the coming days.

Image: Anna Carruthers

It was these candidates for CUSU Coordinator who found themselves on the front and back cover of the ‘Little Book of Manifestos’ when it was printed inside out. The resulting format means that the welcome message is located halfway through the document and one candidate has been given particular prominence on the front page. 10,000 copies have been printed incorrectly.

Speaking to Varsity, CUSU President and Returning Officer Helen Hoogewerf-Mccomb outlined the cause of the problem. "This year CUSU has produced the "Little Book of Manifestos" to make it easier for students to find out about candidates in the CUSU-GU elections and to reduce some of the physical burden of campaigning, which had previously proven an accessibility barrier. We are hoping that this change will improve the election experience for both candidates and voters.

"Unfortunately the booklets CUSU received had been folded incorrectly during production, leading to manifestos for the Coordinator position being printed on the front and back covers. The problem was raised immediately and no booklets were distributed. The error has been flagged to the printers and replacement booklets will be delivered by the end of the day, in time for their scheduled delivery on Friday."

In a departure from previous years, the manifestos have not been printed in the week seven print edition of The Cambridge Student. Explaining the decision, Editor-in-Chief Jack May stated: “We decided not to give the manifestos any space within issue seven because it's important to be clear about our editorial independence from CUSU. That being said, it's important that people are able to make informed decisions about the elections, so it's a shame that these manifesto booklets, printed, I assume, at great expense, haven't worked out exactly as planned.”

Milo Edwards is running as a joke candidate for President against Katie Akers, Leo Kallaway and Priscilla Mensah. Edwards has released a video and manifesto outlining a number of his satirical policy. Highlights include “Milo will rename Jesus Green in honour of Professor Mary Beard, henceforth calling it ‘Professor Green’”, “CUSU will provide subsidised Freddos, so we can relive the glory days when they were 10p” and “Milo will petition Cambridge to make a biopic about Eddie Redmayne, starring Professor Stephen Hawking.”

The situation is reminiscent of last year’s Oxford University Student Union’s surprise election of joke candidate Louis Trup.

One second year historian said “I had a laugh but ultimately it is a sad reflection of student apathy. We elect joke candidates to represent us and then wonder why we keep getting fucked over”.

“For a joke candidate he isn’t actually that funny” said one damning third year PPS student. 

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