Elections Live Blog – Thursday 26th

20:00 – Summary

OK, that’s it! That’s it! We’re going home. It’s crazy to think that this time tomorrow, the elections will have shut. And in 48 hours, this entire sordid affair will be over.

No bullet points today, because the blog has been incredibly – perhaps overly – conversation. But! We do have today’s storify, so click this for a roundup of today’s social media.

We’ll be on all tomorrow, including at the close of voting at 5PM. It won’t be our last liveblog, though, as we’ll be there on Saturday, too! So keep in touch, keep tweeting using the #electionscsu hashtag, and we’ll see you in the morning.

19:00 – van den Bent-Kelly and Mills: the highlights

So, Olivier van den Bent-Kelly was on Radio 1 later.  It’s on the iPlayer here (skip to about 1 hour and 40 minutes in), but here are the highlights:

SM: So are you going to win?

VDBK: Err, I’m going to say yes. Why not? Yes absolutely, fingers crossed!

SM: Ooh get you!

[VDBK laughs]

VDBK: You’ve got to have confidence, so yes.

There’s confidence, VDBK, and then there’s telling every other candidate that they’re going to lose to you.

Later, Scott Mills asked van den Bent-Kelly where he procured his “mad skills”.

SM: Is it true you had some sort of grime MC helping you as well?

VDBK: Yeah so, basically, I asked one of my friends to help me record it and then it turned out he’s got a background in grime music so he coached me on how to effectively rap.

This is what that Grime MC looks like, by the way:


SM: Because, no offence but you don’t really sound like a rapper.

VDBK: No, no, apparently it takes a lot for me to sound a lot more kind of rapper-ish but, I try my best.

SM: It’s quite lucky you didn’t have to put your whole name in because it’s quite long, isn’t it?

VDBK: Yeah, I mean it’s got far too many syllables which is really difficult and I’ve got two middle names as well. I’ve got the longest surname in existence […] it’s too long for one of Iggy’s line’s unfortunately

SM: What do your friends like about your video?

VDBK: Some love it, some think it’s brilliant, others find it really really cringey […] a lot of people are saying I should sack my backing singers.

SM: Oh really […] Are you going to go out solo now and forget the backings?

VDBK: I think I might do definitely a recording career for me on the grime scene is definitely calling.

Don’t quit your day job.

Other candidates, Scott Mills has invited you to submit your videos. It might be a bit late now – but you never know! It’d be a good story to tell in the Taf, if nothing else.

16:45 – Tucking in to Daniel Tucker (How’s that? I don’t know. Puns are hard.)


After a short break, we’re back! And we’ve spoken to Dan Tucker.

We foundthe candidate for Ethical and Environmental Officer taking a quick break in the SU lounge after an “exhausting” four days of campaigning.

According to Tucker, he believes that his manifesto covers a wider range of issues compared to his fellow candidate Sam Jenkins, describing Jenkins’ policies as containing “specific commitments to ethical issues”.

The candidate explains that his experience as Presidents of the Union’s Amnesty society has given him experience for position as Ethical and Environment Officer: “I seem to have an edge in my experience with the rep scheme and my role in Amnesty society.”

After four days of campaigning, he noted that third years appear to be “more apathetic” compared to first and second year students who seem to be more engaged with elections.

Tucker also expressed that he was please to see fellow part-time candidates “doing the gimmick-free thing.”

In addition to a “gimmick-free campaign”, Tucker has been avoiding ‘spamming’ Facebook with his campaign and has been weary of “cramming [his campaign] down peoples throats.”

With only one other competitor in the running for Ethical and Environmental Officer, Tucker wishes his fellow candidate, Sam Jenkins, the best of luck, adding: “may the best man win”

15:05 – Himanshu Kishnani in high spirits


Gair Rhydd News caught up with Himanshu Kishnani, one of twelve VP Welfare candidates, at Y Plas this afternoon and quizzed him about his campaign trail so far.

Kishnani told us that he’d spoken to students at the engineering Queens Buildings who claimed not to have been approached by any candidates so far this week.

“Students were really appreciative that I came and talked to them”, said Kishnani.

Considering Welfare is the most contested position this year, we asked Kishnani how he felt going up against so many candidates. He answered: “I don’t really think about the competition. I’m just trying to do my best.”

Similar to fellow candidate Jess Davies, Kishnani wants to introduce a mentor scheme to help first years find their feet in Cardiff. He hopes a student mentor will help those new to the University get to grips with everyday problems, be it questions about the NHS and signing up to GP’s or how to navigate the city’s transport links.

Kishnani also mentioned that some students had asked him what ‘VP’ stood for, supporting some fears that the student body is not as engaged with their elected sabbatical officers as the Union would like.

15:00 – Radio 1 DJ Scott Mills features VP campaign

I can’t fully comprehend how this came to be Olivier van den Bent-Kelly was on the Radio 1, including his hernia-giving campaign song. It was real. We heard it. Scott Mills even said that he hoped van den Bent-Kelly wins. Kill me now.

In response to a question about who would win, van den Bent-Kelly confidently stated that he would win. Gladiator Livi took that as a challenge.

We’ll post a full transcript later, along with a link to the show once it’s online.

14:40 – Jess Davies drops by


With the sun beginning to shine on the penultimate day of election campaigning, we talked to Jess Davies, candidate for VP Welfare, about what helps her stand out from the crowd.

As one of twelve students campaigning for the coveted position, Davies says it’s been “overwhelming at some points because there’s 12 of us,” adding, “you always think the candidates have better material than you and a better social media presence than you.”

Davies believes her peer-mentoring policy, as something not many of her fellow candidates are promising, helps her stand out from the crowd of Welfare hopefuls.

“I really want to help first year students,” says Davies, “and I want to make the University experience for first year international students a lot less daunting.”

With only one day left to cast your vote, candidates are beginning to tire of campaigning, but Davies has said she will be out in force tomorrow. She believes Friday voters will be more likely to vote for candidates who are still pushing their manifestos on the last day of voting.

14:20 – Want more campaign videos?

We’ve compiled some of the “best” (we use this term as loosely as possible) campaign videos from previous years. Some of this might not be safe for work, or your mental wellbeing. You have been warned.

14:00 – Who haven’t we spoken to?

Doing the rounds here and, now that the end is in sight, we’re highlighting some people we haven’t had any contact from so far.

Know the below? Give ’em a nudge and tell them to say hello. We’d hate to see people miss out.

  • Hina Sadh (VP Heath)
  • George Powney (VP Heath)
  • Katie Kelly (VP Postgrad)
  • Ravina Vijayananelam (Black and Ethnic Minorities Officer)
  • Grace Piddington (International Officer)
  • Ahmed Laajam (International Officer)
  • Jack Meldrum (LGBT+ Officer)
  • Amy Bullard (Women’s Officer)

Obviously, there’s no obligation to chat to us. But we want to be transparent about these things! Check out their manifestos here.

13:00 – Perrins and Gilbert on the campaign trail


The fatigue stage of the elections is setting in, with many candidates tired after last nights YOLO, Joe Perrins and Livi Gilbert report. Perrins is running for VP Societies, and Gilbert is running for Education.

Both spoke to one of our reporters this morning. Why YOLO? “Going out is a good photo opportunity and an opportunity to get recognised. You can’t really talk to people but all the other candidates are there so it’s important to keep up appearances,” says Perrins.

The candidates are worried about the current low voter turnout. Livvi Gilbert said that it was “upsetting,” since candidates had “put loads of work in.” They attributed the low turnout to reading weeks across different courses and the poor weather. “People don’t want to stop and talk if it’s pouring down.”

Both candidates think that the SU should do more to promote the elections before it happens.

“It would be great to release manifestos a week before campaigning starts,” Gilbert said. “Then people would have a better opportunity to read Manifesos and questions candidates about them”

Perrins also said that statistics would be nice to see how the candidates are doing throughout the week.

11:15 – Blackwell’s under threat?

Support for closing Blackwell’s, a policy that has been included on a few sabbatical officer manifestos, seems to be coming from multiple sources:

Regarding UKIP, we asked Thompson to clarify:
Digging into this statement, it turns Julian Blackwell, owner of Blackwell’s, is the second largest donor to UKIP.

However, some students don’t like the idea of getting rid of Blackwell’s. Gair Rhydd Politics Editor Lauren Boyd explains:

Blackwell’s provides a service to students allowing students to easily purchase all the correct text books and allowing students to easily trade their textbooks in at the end of the year for a fair price. The idea of campaigning for something that would cause the employees at Blackwell’s to lose their jobs is either not thought through or pretty callous. The idea that it should be replaced with an Amazon Locker is a bad one for a number of reasons, not least because Amazon is an unethical company which doesn’t pay its tax or pay its workers fairly. If you value books it should be noted that Amazon is involved in a legal dispute with publishers and is undermining publishers’ and authors’ ability to make money. According to Andrew Wylie, who manages the estates of writers: “No one, unless they have inherited $50 million, will be able to afford to write a serious work of history, of poetry, of biography, a novel—anything. The stakes are Western culture”

In short, Amazon probably isn’t the answer.

What do you think? Tweet us using the #electionscsu hashtag.

10:20 – Demographics revisited

It’s early, and not much has happened yet – making it a great time to take a look at statistics. Numbers are timeless!

First of all, voting numbers this year are pretty meagre. I hope there’s a big surge before the end:

Screen Shot 2015-02-26 at 09.19.03

Putting this into context, last year’s election period was much longer. So it may be the case that a slight dip is to be expected. Cardiff Student Harry Thompson has his own theories as to why turnout is lower:

Hmm… We could go on strike again? ;)

Gender is pretty much bang on, except for the issues we reported yesterday regarding the representation (or, rather, non-representation) of non-binary students:

Screen Shot 2015-02-26 at 09.39.08

We’ve got a confession to make. Yesterday a member of the team tweeted that males should catch up (so that we might end up with 50:50 figures), but “first class” Felicity correctly pointed out that more female voters is to be expected:

Her stats are a little off, though – the NUS reports that the gender split at Cardiff University is actually 56:44 female to male. That does mean that the current stats — 55:45 — are actually pretty good.

Next up, let’s talk sabbatical positions:

Screen Shot 2015-02-26 at 09.44.34

You’ll note that VP postgrad is in last place. It’s a new position, so maybe that’s to be expected. But what’s really interesting is this:

Screen Shot 2015-02-26 at 09.47.18

Given that the majority of voters are undergraduates, it would seem that undergraduate students have major opinions on postgraduate representation. Good for them!

Screen Shot 2015-02-26 at 10.04.32

Music is the department with the most voters. Why? I would hazard this came down to the fact that there are so many candidates from the faculty on the field.

It’s worrying that PGMDE has 0% of the voting share, meaning that they have less than 20 voters or so from the faculty. PGMDE is the school code for the Postgraduate School of Medical and Dental Education, and they’d be covered by both Heath and VP Postgrad in particular. Get voting, guys!

As a lot of candidates have made clear, Freshers are highly engaged with this election:

Screen Shot 2015-02-26 at 10.10.42

3rd years less so. Most of the negative feedback we’ve heard from students has come from third years, so maybe fatigue is setting in.

Finally, let’s take a gander at societies and sports teams. Ladies Hockey continue to dominate the field – with the Men’s club not far behind. It’s worth noting that AU candidate Sam Parsons is a big figure in the Rugby Club, and they’re currently in second place, while his competition Steph Pugh is a ladies hockey player. I hear R.O.N is big in Aikido.

Screen Shot 2015-02-26 at 10.13.47

Societies is interesting. Cathsoc and Students for Life are leading the way quite significantly:

Screen Shot 2015-02-26 at 10.16.51

Their opposition to the Pro-Choice Union motion at this year’s AGM was cited at the time as a significant factor in the motion’s fall. One wonders if they’ll swing the vote this time around. But where’s the Harry Potter society? As a proud Slytherin, I’d like to see some analysis from those guys.

What do you think of the above? Tweet on #electionsCSU, or, alternatively, get in touch by tweeting the news team on @gairrhyddnews!

09:30 – Welcome!

Oh god, it’s raining! Welcome to Day 4 of the Gair Rhydd #electionsCSU liveblog. We’ll be chatting to candidates and reporting on all the latest gaffes and glories. In particular, we’ll be rounding up candidate videos and reviewing some of our favourites from last year.

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