Article from 27th Feb. 2003


I want to be elected.

In the early 1970’s, the only sabbatical post was the President of the Students Union and once a year we had to vote for one. The candidates were always: A liberal (with a small 'L'), a socialist worker, a truck driver, a Trotskyist, an animal and a cartoon character.
Even in those days, no student would espouse right wing politics.

What happened was that the liberal would be elected. This is because they used a transfer voting system, which resulted in the least unpopular person winning. There were exceptions. In 1974 the raving left-wing Andy Kypri, was elected. However he was such a nice bloke, you couldn’t vote against him.

Orlando

Famously in 1975 the election was between Tom Poole, Steve Peach and Orlando the cat. The nomination of a cat, was justified as some sort of protest against student apathy, by Mel Ingham (ex-president/truck driver).

Tom Poole went for the liberal non-scary vote, so was in with a good chance. Steve Peach’s chances were largely debunked by some wag starting a graffiti campaign that said, “Steve Peach has a lovely bum”.
Orlando was a ginger tom, adopted as a stray by one of the court wardens. He kept a dignified silence.

Tom Poole won, but Orlando came a close second. Where upon SocSoc (Socialist Society) called an emergency EGM, to complain that there was some minor constitutional infringement.
Although Orlando had been enrolled in the linguistics department of the university, he wasn't a member of the NUS. (He had a B.Sc. in humanities and was intending to do a paper for his M.Phil. entitled "On the Social and Cultural Effects of War and Church on Baroque Meeowsic after the Thirty Cats' War”)

Showing a characteristic lack of a sense of humour, the socialists then came mob handed to the meeting and voted for a re-election. This pissed everybody off and Tom Poole got elected in again. Later years candidates included "Lio" (almost a Lion) and "Eric the half-a-bee". However unlike Orlando, they were withdrawn before the vote, to avoid the above problem.

You see students in the 70’s were more politically active.


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