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Gronkwatch: Elections Week One

They Told Us We’re Not Allowed To Report On This Election, We Did So Anyway

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Honi is traditionally not allowed to report on the SRC elections, for the simple reason that Honi—as part of the SRC—is thought to be biased. We’re here to tell you: yes, we are; but luckily for you, we have an avowed prejudice against every candidate.

A-frames, which have historically reduced Eastern Avenue to a mine field of Technicolor, return this year in a series of drab pastels, with the kind of design acumen you would expect beneath an Iron Curtain. Most egregious are Boost’s, which have a kind of miserly scrawl across them, as if the oldest man you know tenderly designed each one with ejaculate. NLS candidate, Chloe Smith, seems poised to take the presidency, as there is no sight of any opposition on the ground, and the only thing that remains to be determined is the make-up of her council.

Meanwhile, Grassroots have demonstrated more of the electoral acumen that saw them sign a deal to hand NUS to Unity, by embarking on a bold re-brand and colour shift, despite their old logo and colour being the only thing linking them with their historic victory in 2014. If we’re to take anything from this, when you’re the incumbent candidate, you should distance yourself from your incumbency as much as possible.

As for the Liberals, there’s not much more to say about them beyond that they exist. Their A-frames, sky blue and ineffectual, were vandalised with ice cream last week, which we report as sombrely as we would a car accident, except not really you tories.

For Sale: Monthly Publication; Never Read.

The USU looked at their failing monthly publication and took stock of what they had. Seeing keen student journalists, a creatively bankrupt design department, a rotating door of publications managers without any sense of irony, and the requirement to jam every page with advertisements, the Union decided it was the students who were fucking up and decided to gut The BULL. From next year, it will no longer exist in hard form and content will be produced by the Union, and probably outsourced to non-student content creators who work in a factory resembling Buzzfeed crossed with Foxconn. Expect your newsfeeds to be jammed with “Top 10 Things To Order From Courtyard” and “The Best Places On Campus To Rent A Graduation Gown”.

But who will get to take this albatross from our necks?

The Honi Soit election is in full swing, with both Scoop and Strip for Honi making significant tracks on the ground. If Facebook likes are anything to go by, it seems Strip has some loose factional backing from Unity, though it’s as of yet unclear as to how this will play out on the day. Their A-frames have been broadly successful, though there has been some confusion as to their branding: are they stripping? Are they stripping back? Or are they pro-comic strip? If their social media branding is anything to go by they’re for anything, so long as you’ll vote for it. Most interesting is their proposal to pay contributors, which we regard the same way Ebenezer Scrooge would greet Bob Cratchit’s desire to unionise. While they haven’t actually specified a payment plan, we took the liberty of dividing the amount of money in our stipends by the amount of words in each issue, for the entire year. Assuming they do as we do and aim for about 1200 words a page, across 28 pages, across 26 issues, they’ll be able to pay 4.5 cents a word, which will be roughly competitive with what the aforementioned Foxconn-Buzzfeed hybrid pays.

Scoop, meanwhile, bounced back from their anaemic looking A-frames to blitz the first week, and seemed to outnumber Strip on the ground. While there remains some questions about the efficacy of their branding in the face of the far more audacious Strip A-frames, it would be unwise to bet against the experience they’re bringing to the table. They’ve also demonstrated a pretty clear willingness to talk to voters without pandering, which is refreshing during a period where people like me have been known to get on their knees and promise an end to homework if you’ll just take one moment to walk past that yellow line and tick a box next to someone who told me that we would go far if we campaigned for them. However, every super ticket has their kryptonite, and Scoop’s is undeniably banter. The team would do well to make like a soft serve and chill out, we can all see the veins popping in their foreheads every time things get aggressive.

While the punters on Eastern Avenue might think it’s a two horse race, if you turn your attention to social media things take a shift. Horse for Honi debuted their social media campaign over the past week, and, if nothing else, deserve points for bridge burning and game changing. In the space of five days they’ve performed a ritual burning of old Honis, promised to include ISIS recruitment forms in their paper, and recreated Ai Wei Wei’s famous “Forbidden City” (see above), except this time they’re giving the finger to their competitors.