The Hood, Friday 14th November 2014

The Hood is the Gown’s anonymous whistleblower cum satirist. Founded in 1976 by a generous donation from the Sir Humphrey Hood Foundation, the Hood has consistently broken news of wrongdoing in the elected officials of the Students’ Union, as well as the wider student movement and the university itself. Loved by people who care too much about SU politics and despised by officers who should care more, the Hood delivers the news and the schmooze on those who waste your union dues.

Now that the hurly-burly’s done, and the referendums lost and won, it seems an appropriate time to gather the ragged crones of that-which-is-passed, that-which-is and that-which-shall-be and look at the state of the union. To the surprise of nobody, the neutrality referendum passed, but surprisingly, the United Ireland referendum fell by a 21 vote margin, especially galling given that their referendum was submitted first. In the democratic refractory period, the usual accusations of electoral malpractice, voter intimidation and outright lying abounded, but nothing seems to have come of them. Indeed, the lack of complaints about ipads and other gimmicks seem to indicate that even hot-button ‘sectarian’ issues are fought with more dignity than our sabbatical elections.

Being an anonymous pseudo-observational ivory-tower commentator, I take the opinion of other, lesser APOITC’s very seriously, and one running theme throughout the commentary is that the referendum was some kind of song-and-dance distraction, orchestrated to distract from the crippling Partisan deadlock in Stormont or the university’s complicity in implementing cuts which will simultaneously harm both teachers and students. Although Hanlon’s razor would dictate against such conspiratorial origins for the thing, a lot of parties are using it to bury their own ineptitude. Nevertheless, the flurry of emergency motions being put forward to council by both our Officers and Councillors indicates that perhaps the scales are falling from a few eyes. Not that anything will come of it, beyond a few stern letters.

Council sat for the first time last week, heralding another year of careerists who won’t turn up to half the meetings and bleeding heart activists who are hopelessly trying to change the world from the modest confines of The Space. The race for speaker was contested between an NUS-USI mandarin, and a joker from RAG. This suggests that the union has partially moved away from pro-life, pro-choice tribalism, but the number of party mouthpieces on the council list indicates to perhaps something altogether worse. When a twitter bio includes ‘DUA cllr at QUBSU’; the times could be a’-changin’.

Meanwhile, across the road, UCU has declared a marking boycott over the perennial issue of their atrophying pensions, and the university admin-team has given the traditional response of ‘piffle’ from atop their money-throne. Further, the university are amid the hunt for a new chancellor. The long list contained former US president Bill Clinton, potential future president Hillary Clinton, Former Irish leader and QUB graduate Mary McAleese, a whole slew of actors and media personalities and ‘Lil B’ a rapper from Berkeley California. None of these figures, however were deemed to be sufficiently advantageous for the University so the short list is populated entirely by financial magnates, at least one of which evades taxes like a rejected Matrix character played by Nicholas Cage.

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