New Chapter, the slate that seems to replace the stereotypical ’left’ have got a rather serious problem: and it’s the fact that they have chosen to associate themselves with a toxic candidate.
While Snape, Hossain and Parr look on, their brother in arms, Sean Richardson, is the greatest threat to their candidacy. In associating themselves with him in the same slate they endorse him, and by endorsing him they show themselves to be people lacking in judgement, and possibly unfit for election.
Richardson is having fun. He is playing with policy, not standing for it. All his prior experience across university have shown good intentions, but a poor track-record in dedication, knowledge of facts and following-through on projects.
For experience, achievement and dedication, their last video cites, vote New Chapter. Richardson is nothing of the sort. Last year he was the editor of the student newspaper QMessenger for all of four half-hearted months, transitioning finally into a bimonthly rather than a weekly publication, and destroying whatever tattered remains of a reputation there was for it. In going back through Richardson’s editorship and reading those newspapers you can find what could be described as repeated superliminal attempts to boost the profile of his potential running mates from early on: “Jannat Hossain is wonderful”, reads one enormous quote, “problems cited by Sean Richardson, LGBT activist”, starts another page lead. On his departure it is reported that he attempted to organise a double page spread on his own accomplishments, which was fortunately shot down; I honestly wondered how you could fill two pages with so little actual content, but then I remembered this.
The first edition of QMessenger under Richardson’s control took forward the fantastic investigative journalism undertaken by the editor last year and utterly emasculated it. His introductory feature “The Darker Side of Queen Mary” really began a year-long attempt to make himself electable, taking a piece written last year and making it his own. The article featured a giant cartoon that looked styled from an Orwellian time, “insecurity guard” read the cap of the wide-eyed terror staring out of the page at you. “Safe in the day, safe in the evening” read the title of the campaign he tried to spearhead. Another failure, never mentioned again. And despite Richardson being so confident in his ideas to run the feature and start his campaign, he caved to pressure from the college just weeks later, printing a full page letter from security services, an effectual apology. “This is incorrect and misleading”, reads the letter, “the figures are not representative”. Last night at hustings he repeated the same accusation: “just two or three security guards are patrolling at night”, denied by security services in their October letter.
It was also revealed his lack of knowledge for the role. “The union doesn’t run the doctors service, the university does“, he begins, before saying that the university shouldn’t be wasting money refurbishing the Fogg building, it’s “lovely” he says. Clearly Richardson has never visited the Fogg building, else he would know that inside it’s outer shell of new-paint, the building is dilapidated in and need of serious work. He would also be aware that the Fogg building already hosts a ‘gender neutral toilet’, one of his major efforts to re purpose restrooms under the presumption that there are none. I should also note that this is not a disabled toilet, but has both a disabled room and a full set of cubicles, urinals, and also a shower unit. It is less than ten feet from the Fogg front door.
With his input New Chapter have gone from a few reputable candidates to a slate spouting ‘safer, better, better, stronger’ like an ineffectual Daft Punk tribute, producing dance videos overlayed with more power-phrases. It’s not taken at all seriously, and it’s not even in the cleverly produced ‘not really but for serious’ manner of some of the other candidates. After last night’s obvious re-purposing of questions, and grilling from the other candidates, it’s clear there’s a righteous lack of trust in the air, and it permeates from Sean through the entire slate.
Though in the same piece I want to make it clear that this kind of shit from our president is unacceptable. Though he had his excuse planned of Richardson not understanding the joke, when it was put to him that he must have been ‘intelligent enough’ to predict how it was going to be read, he flashed a glinting smile.