The Hood, 11th February 2015

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.

At last, the examination period is over and the stench of AXE and fear can be hosed down from the library by specially qualified decontaminators. The break saw two presents land underneath the metaphorical university Christmas Tree, firstly a higher REF position, and secondly a small remission in the grinding DEL cuts. That said, the second one is rather like finding a wallet wrapped under the tree, which upon opening you realise was once yours.

As we begin to expand into second semester, the lengthening of the days also heralds the arrival of the annual banger race of SU democracy. Last year, the elections were hit with two controversies: that the SU’s campaign to encourage participation was woeful, and that only the position of President was contested. It would seem with hindsight that these two things were correlated, but determining the causality is difficult. This year, however, the elections have been dogged by the cuts to the SU, with the equivalent of two officer positions in dollah close to being potentially hoovered out of the officers budget, doubtlessly to pay for another laser for the sciences or some new brick-heap to put on the prospectus.

To sort out how the cuts would fall, council met and pondered all the options in a meeting that lasted over 3 hours, testing both the patience and bladders of councillors and officers alike. After several rounds of discussion in which many councillors (a significant portion of whom are doubtlessly officer-hopefuls) argued against too steep of a pay-cut for their future selves. Once the absurd solutions such as pouting and demanding more money and rummaging down the sofas were dispensed with, this essentially meant deciding which officer position(s) would be exsanguinated into zero-wage husks and which would keep their financing viscera within. Ultimately it was decided that Community would be for the chop, after the Unionist bloc stopped trying to depose the hated Equality and Diversity and the VP for Clubs and Societies pointed out that he was the only full-time worker in the union who did anything for clubs at all. The post of VP Community has always been a bit of a mutt, because the fun things that Officers would like to do (such as building a community, hosting events and such) get overshadowed by their bi-weekly earful of abuse and fixadent from the residents groups, especially in the run up to the drinkingest day of the year.

In any case, the decision was rendered somewhat pointless when it was revealed over Twitter that we have managed to secure the money to fund all of the posts at their original luxuriant salary in exchange for some hitherto unknown demand, most likely that some students will have to bare-knuckle fight at Senate functions, or that the Union will have to stop asking to have their loan payments reduced from ‘horrific’ to ‘awful’. In any case, it seems to be back-patting all around, oddly enough from some on that council meeting, who are labouring under the delusion that their input matters more than the eruction of sheep.

On which thought, we return to the annual elections. It seems likely that the Girls from the Glass Office have made a cross hands pact to run again as officer candidates, with only the VP Education remaining in her current post. Whether or not they’ve managed to scrape together 4 other students to stand by them and make the new monolith remains unknown. In the green corner, certain figures of QUB’s republican community are hoping that they can scrape together another 7 person ticket. Given their stated opposition to the ticket system, it’d be interesting to see how they attempt to vindicate the decision. There seems to be little stirring from the School of Law this year, so either their horse is so dark its only visible under UV light, or they’re giving it a rest this year. That said, many candidates on tickets tend to be dark horses to the political establishment, in much the same way that Kim Il-Sung was a dark horse until he inherited the position from his father. This leaves only the President, and whether he’s seeking re-election, and whether he’ll be successful (like Bill Clinton dressed as a pirate) or unsuccessful (like Gordon Brown dressed as a pirate). Then again, a lot can happen before the closure of the nominations, so it’s possible we could get a whole slew of joke candidates, promising even more ridiculous things, like free knitting lessons, reduction in the price of freddos, or tearing down those migraine-azure filters on the ground floor lights. We may live in hope.

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