Salient: Victoria University Students' Paper. Vol. 28, No. 9. 1965.
[letter to the editor by Alison J. Service]
Sirs,—In spite of loud, indig-attack on the Taylor ticket, both at Forum and in the last issue of Salient, I feel that both the executive and the students generally may have benefited from it.
It should have made the students realise how little most of them know about what is going on at executive level, and make them see how necessary it is for them to take a greater interest in executive movements. Increased student interest should greatly benefit the executive and enable them to be more representative of the student body, who elected them, than they have been previously.
I disagree with G.E.J.L., who staled that Mr. McKinlay was not a master of either the art of critical or constructive speaking. If Mr. McKinlay has shocked the students into realising their ignorance of executive matters, and the need for improving communications between the executive and the student body, surely this is criticism to good purpose.
Mr. Shand made the point that, because Mr. McKinlay had attended no executive meetings, belonged to no sub-committees, and was not on the list of those students receiving executive minutes, he was "completely uninformed"—but he takes no account of the fact that minutes of executive meetings are available to all interested students on the executive noticeboard and at the office.
Mr. Shand, who claimed that Mr. McKinlay was ignorant, speaking of matters he had not considered till some hours beforehand, and merely creating a limelight for himself, did not, I feel, do Mr. McKinlay justice. It is hardly likely that an experienced speaker like Mr. McKinlay would make such serious allegations without previous consideration and from a "completely uninformed" position; and it is, hardly fair to Mr. McKinlay's intelligence to suggest he made fictitious statements merely to have the limelight for some 20 minutes when he could have had it for a year or more by using an executive position with the same self-advancement he was attacking.
That Mr. McKinlay refused to be explicit is not surprising; he would have realised that had he substantiated his allegations he would have left himself open to slander actions.
Mr. McKinley's use of Mr. Taylor's past and private lives, however relevant he felt it to be to his attack, was where he over-stepped the mark: in appealing to the salacious instinct in his audience he was in fact undermining their confidence in him, and their willingness to consider his allegations seriously.
Alison J. Service