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Salient. An Organ of Student Opinion at Victoria College, Wellington, N.Z. Vol. 15, No. 11. June 26, 1952

Liven Up Our Elections!

page 2

Liven Up Our Elections!

As the executive have asked me to reconsider my resignation I have once more the dubious privilege of writing the editorial or, as some nasty-minded little people would say, of commencing my electioneering for the next elections. Looking back over the election and over past elections I cannot help thinking how dull they were. Although we are a conservative people, as a whole surely an event of such paramount importance could be livened up. We tend to drift along from one election to the other with an occasional outburst of good spirits during Capping Week in a dull hazw, and when an event occurs which gives us a pretext to liven things up a bit we just sit dumbly back and wait for something to happen—of course it never does for we seem to have lost one important aspect of our collective character, the art of living up to our reputation.

Imagine an election starting three or four weeks from polling day. The Bloggs Election Committee start things going with a pamphlet drive: the Drama Club, in a typically dramatic move, announces its support of the western blog. Slogans are scribbled on walls, on the cable car: the Unitarians boycott a history lecture after a history lecturer dorps a hint that he is inclined to the Left. The Charter Club holds a ball and finish holding hands and singing "The Only Red We Want. Is The Red We've Got. In The Old Red. White And Blue." Electioneering ceases on the night before polling with a session in the Little Theatre where the candidates announce their policies. To be serious, this added publicity given to each candidate and the solid thrashing out of his policy and merits for some time will do a lot to ensure that the best people are elected, not because they have been here for a good few years and everybody thinks that they deserve the honour and glory as a consolation prize for not having graduated.

This idea of livening the elections up will doubtlessly lead to a lot of abuses of constitutional privilege and offences against good taste and decency which, we hope, is common to all of us. But, apparently, it is not as common as we had hoped.

Some of you, and I hope that it was not many, saw a slip of paper which was circulated during polling. Purporting to be issued by the Student Section, Protestant Action—which alone makes it illegal as no such body has any connection with the College—this slip attempts to make religion a determinant of a candidate's suitability for election. As far as 1 can see a person's religion has got absolutely nothing to do with the elections. I consider that it is quite possible for a person to be a good chap in spite of his religion and it is even more likely that his religion would contribute a lot towards making him a decent chap. In any case there are very few issues which come before the Executive which deal with religious matters and I have not noticed any attempts on the part of Catholic members to lower the Executive grant to the Kill, or endeavours on the part of S.C.M. supporting Exec. members to limit the activities of the Catholic Students' Guild. I am a Protestant of sorts myself and I would be ashamed to have anything to do with such a prejudiced effort of electioneering. It seems that the authors of the slip felt the same, too, for they did not even have the guts to come out into the open but preferred to slink in the gutter of anonymity.

This sort of offence against decency makes us realise that we are not all the fair, decent persons that we like to think we are. I would like to publish a letter from the persons concerned defending or supporting their action. Their anonymity would be strictly preserved if they so wished, but I do not suppose they have any solid reasons which would bear publication.

Anyhow, despite that sort of thing which I have just mentioned I think the fairminded people around the College could manage to liven up the elections, improve the Executive and so the College. In conclusion, I think that although a vote of thanks will have been voted it. I think that it is not amiss for the editor of "Salient" to compliment the Executive on an excellent job of "maintaining the status quo."