Fraud, corruption and apathy: why I have no confidence in this Guild

Matt Calfe shares his thoughts on a night of controversy at the Guild.

WELL, that was eventful… and by eventful I of course mean soul destroying, as I have witnessed the death of a democracy as it was brutally & systematically ripped apart in front of me. Let me clarify before my vitriol engulfs you that I am angry. Very, very angry… When I first scratched the surface of this Guild, never did I suspect such systemic corruption and general mudslinging. Now I’ve broken the surface, I want to bury the whole blasted affair and just retire to a place where people aren’t pretentious or willing to backstab to get elected. If I wasn’t forced to attend General Meetings as a society rep, I would be calling for an out-and-out boycott of the entire institution until these issues have been resolved.

This is the first instance I have witnessed of outright bending of election rules to support one candidate to the detriment of others. I have nothing against Ben Meakin, and some would actively call me a supporter of him, but I have to question why an election rule about automatic disqualification when accruing more than £10 in fines has been blatantly ignored. I don’t mean to sound like one of those boring people at a GM who request a 63-page proposal be gone through line by line, but rules are rules. If the election had been won without this, then I would not question the result and would welcome Ben back into his job with open arms. However, I would point out that this sets an untenable precedent for any and all future campaigns, as it opens the possibility of a candidate being able to overspend and infringe electoral rules with a reduced fear of being criticised or penalised. We have rules for a reason; if someone in a position of authority is allowed to flout them, what does that mean for the rest of us? Should we just put up and take it? No.

This isn’t even the tip of the dung-heap. Not only have election rules been bent, broken and generally abused, but Jess Leigh has been accused of electoral fraud. Now, I had a lot of respect for her before this. I even voted for her before I knew of this scandal. Now it’s come out, I am absolutely beside myself with rage. I’m absolutely disgusted at this turn of events, and to be honest, and it’s proven what I’ve been saying all along about the moral bankruptcy of this Guild. Why should the students of Aberystwyth trust their elected Sabbatical officers when all they are intent on doing is stabbing each other in the back and bussing in outside supporters? Why should students get involved with a system so inherently corrupt that it is willing to tolerate two Officers who have been re-elected on unbelievably shaky ground? This does not represent the Guild I know.

No, scratch that, this represents everything about the Guild I know. This represents everything I have been campaigning against. This is the reason I have lost faith in democracy as a viable system.