The Art of Pandering | Kieran Murphy

www.dvorak.orgVery few people realise that the Students’ Union elections are even happening until some commerce students try dragging them to the Boole to vote, and, scarily enough, there are some people who don’t even know who the current SU Officers are. Last year, voter turnout stood at a miserable 23%, meaning that there are about 3776 hacks in UCC – that is, people who can’t say no to a flyer. Sure, democracy is great and all, but the easiest way to get your message across is to just pander – to the lowest common denominator, if needs be.

Free Stuff

While it doesn’t really need to be said, I’m going to say it anyway: students love free stuff. They are also adept at finding innovative uses for typical give-away paraphernalia – a copy of The Irish Times (used to clean up vomit), packets of Oxtail soup (used as a tequila chaser), and lockers full of lollipops (just because). The SU candidate who actually gives out some worthwhile stuff is destined to win. Take, for instance, custom printed condoms: your face, on a condom. It’s genius, and not as expensive as you’d think, with 500 condoms going for €500. Asides from campaign material, it could also be a wedding present to a very lucky couple. While the condoms will probably never be used as intended (the sight of your cheerily oblivious mug might kill the moment), you can be confident that your name will be associated with the hours of fun students will have, filling them with water, and dropping them from the windows of the O’Rahilly Building.

Cute Animals

People adopt animals for many reasons, such as love and companionship, and as a way to chat up ladies in the park – their usage in SU elections should be no different. Election candidates in The Real World kiss babies to soften their image, but since UCC has yet to implement a Bring- Your-Child-To-Lectures-Day, you can always make do with a cute animal or two. Just imagine the queues to pet a giant St Bernard, or to wrestle a bear. For a particularly adventurous SU candidate, or anyone with something against PETA, asking a lecturer to make an announcement with a boa constrictor (à la Britney Spears at the 2001 MTV Video Music Awards) is also an option.

Toilet Graffiti

I’m not in a position to talk about state of the ladies’ toilets in UCC, but I can confirm that the mens’ are a disgrace. With lists of the top nightclubs for ‘dorty beours’, and everyone from Anto to Deco coming out as gay, I’m sure many of us have memorised the scrawling on the wall, while hiding from study in the cubicles. So why doesn’t an SU candidate take advantage of this prime advertising space and get their message out there? Possible slogans could include: ‘Finding it a bit tough? I’ll help you push it through’. As part of a sustained and cohesive cubicle campaign, the savvy candidate could opt for something along the lines of: ‘Vote Murphy #1’, ‘Vote Murphy #1, and I’ll get Andrex toilet paper in this stall’, and, finally, ‘Vote Murphy #1, and I’ll clean the graffiti off this toilet’. The possibilities are endless, but be warned: if you decide to put your poster up in toilet cubicles, willies will be most certainly be drawn near/on your face.

Be Good-Looking

We’ll have to look at your face for a whole year – you could at least give us something nice to look at.

Be Honest

Voters who were once fresh-faced and enthusiastic can end up feeling disillusioned with the political process. They are faced with candidates who are insincere, and are usually never seen again until it’s been revealed they’ve been putting their Nando’s habit on their expense report – so why not just be honest? There’s no need to pretend you’re not politically aligned – we all saw your profile photo with Enda Kenny. Are you a careerist and just want to advance your social ranking? No problem, that’s what the SU is there for, so help us help you, and just admit it. The 12,506 silent students on campus will appreciate you so much more for it.