Queens Student Union returns neutral ticket…

Interesting news from Queens Uni’s SU election. We hear from The Gown blog that the apparently non aligned pairing of Ben Preston and Peter Quinn have won the ballot this evening and take up a second year in office. So has Queens Students Union, once dubbed a cold house for unionists, just got a few degrees warmer?

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  • David

    Congratulations to both Ben and Peter (winning a fourth year on the executive)hopefully they will continue their good work over the next year.

    Suggesting they are non alingned though may be open to some debate

  • Mick Fealty

    We are always open to debate David!!

  • John Whelan

    David, would you suggesting that Ben Preston and Peter Quinn are not neutral?

  • David

    I am not suggesting that they are not alligned. Rather I am refering to thinking that following recent actions some of the political actors around Queens are questioning their imparitallity.

    Again though I am not arounf that scene this year being in Texas so I am only going on comments that have been made to me.

  • I am delighted that both Ben and Pete got elected.

    I personally supported both canditates.

    There is important work that needs to be completed with reagrds to the Students Union.

    Rather I am refering to thinking that following recent actions some of the political actors around Queens are questioning their imparitallity

    Dave

    I think since Ben was elected he has shown that he is nobodys stooge.

    He is independent and he is a decent bloke who cares about the Union.

  • slug

    “I am not suggesting that they are not alligned.”

    Don’t you mean you’re not suggesting that they’re not non aligned? If so then could you try to avoid triple negatives? 🙂

  • David

    Sorry Slug my mistake. One thing though you may have a long job if your going to start correcting my grammar as I am heavily dyslexic. I would appreciate it though if you do

    I will start again. My argument was supposed to be that the suggestion Ben and Pete are non aligned has, especially in recent days, come under some intense scrutiny. Pete last year actively campaigned for a number of executive candiadates (I dont know the situation this year) in what seemed to me to be an attempt to build a power base on the executive. Whilst this year Ben has agreed to support certain candidates and not support others. From what I have heard from a number of your council collegues this has lead to a number of allegations of partiallity.

    I dont know Ben well but I do know Pete and I always found him a very decent bloke. It is my belief that they are a very good team to run the Union. Furthermore I also belief that any actions they have taken during their times in office have been done solely because they believed they were acting in the best interests of the union. This being said however a number of those involved in student politcs at QUB that I have talked to recently have been questioning both Pete’s and especially Ben’s claims of not being alligned to any grouping

  • Comrade Stalin

    I always thought student “politics” was a bit of a joke. “power base” ? What power do union elected reps have to do a damn thing ?

  • I can’t access them from work but with the elections happening the other day I decided to check up on what the council actually does (very little it seems)

    Unless I’m mistaken (like I said I can’t verify it at the moment) I thought Peter Quinn was one of the proposers of a motion referring to the ‘martyrs of 1916’ calling for irish language signs in the union, something which was ruled contrary to equal opportunities legislation the last time it was tried. The minutes were online at QUBSU if anyone wants to check.

    If I’m correct then to me that would raise questions over the “non-align”edness of someone.

  • Beano

    You are mistaken, Pete did not propose that motion.

  • Thanks Chris, and apologies to Pete.

  • So has Queens Students Union, once dubbed a cold house for unionists, just got a few degrees warmer?

    I don’t understand you comment here Mick.

    Neither Ben or Pete are Unionists

  • anon

    but neither have they publicaly declared an interest in nationalism.

    Politics at a Students’ Union level doesn’t need the national question. It may be a tough lesson for some but student politicans in the North should be setting the example and breaking down barriers for the future. They shouldn’t base any campaign of election on a desire to see northern ireland remain part of the United Kindgom or become a 32 county socalist republic.

    It is like a poison in our society in Northern Ireland, the all incomposing question of identity and where you stand on the “North”. It divides and locks them in the past.

    When somebody tries to builds bridges over the river of poison and try and reach out to the other side, he/she is mocked, attacked and marginised- other by their own “side” or apparent “side”. Student politicans I believe and hope will be the bridge builders for the future, let them be free to make radical moves and challenge perceptions about political identity in the North.

    an participant and observer

  • but neither have they publicaly declared an interest in nationalism

    I agree Anon

    I never said they were Nationalists but they are not Unionists either.

    They do a lot of good work in the Students Union and that is the important thing.

  • Anon – I concur completely as to what “should be”, but looking at the minutes from the last non-meeting of the union council, the reality is somewhat less utopian.

  • John

    Anon – I agree 100%. Ben Preston has demonstrated his leadership skills in this election. He has shown that he wants to move student politics beyond the national question and petty party politics. Ben and Peter work hard for the students they represent and proved they are not in the pockets of any of the political parties.

  • Observer

    “They do a lot of good work in the Students Union and that is the important thing.

    Posted by Chris Gaskin on Feb 25, 2006 @ 03:38 PM”

    More work than Paddy Hughes ever did for the good of the Union and all its members.

    Chris, you’re all over Ben and Pete like a rash – are you not praise them for your own polical gain? Was Ben the better candidate than Paddy Hughes then at last years election?

    “Anon – I agree 100%. Ben Preston has demonstrated his leadership skills in this election. He has shown that he wants to move student politics beyond the national question and petty party politics.

    Posted by John on Feb 25, 2006 @ 04:17 PM”

    And he’s done this by supporting a Sinn Fein supporter/member! Really unbiased.

  • Ciarán, QUB student

    Maguire definitely seemed to be the better candidate. Firstly, he didn’t take student “politics” too seriously (his election manifesto included a suduko quiz). Secondly, he wasn’t backed by the Christian Union (an ominous name for a group if ever there was one).

  • Chris, you’re all over Ben and Pete like a rash

    How do you work that out?

    are you not praise them for your own polical gain?

    Could you repeat that, perhaps in english this time?

    Was Ben the better candidate than Paddy Hughes then at last years election?

    I supported Paddy in last years election, he wasn’t running this time.

    I have worked with Ben on a few issues this year and found him to be a decent bloke.

    Some student hacks really are bitter people

  • John

    And he’s done this by supporting a Sinn Fein supporter/member! Really unbiased.

    David you miss the point completely. Both Ben and Pete have demonstrated over the last year that they can work with anyone regardless of politcial persuasion. This is evident by them leading an executive committee that includes both republicans and unionists.

    Ben has shown that he has the leadership and vision to forget about party affiliation and focus on the important issues facing the students union. Ben has been willing to nominate anyone from a polictial party so long as their willing to put students first.

    If more people had Ben’s courage the future of Northern Ireland would be a lot brighter.

  • John

    David

    Are you being serious that Maguire was the better candidate?

  • Observer

    If Ben was demonstrating non-affiliation to any side why, just why has he seconded a member of the republican movement?

    From what I hear he refused to nominate a well respected student with a Unionist background committed in working for students.

    The candidate Ben has seconded did nothing, absolutely nothing in his term as SCA officer. Particularly as riots where ensuing in the Holylands.

    I suspect Ben will have a difficult year ahead of him.

  • David

    Just to clarify the David0 and David1 are not the same David who started the comments on this thread. This is despite the fact they are using my email address

  • Ben has been willing to nominate anyone from a polictial party so long as their willing to put students first

    Correct, he supported a DUP canditate last year.

  • Observer

    I am not sure what has happened above in the posts. It seems to be recording me as David0 with a qub.ac.uk e-mail address.

    Apologises to the ‘real’ David. These are not my details. Maybe the moderator will be able to sort it out.

  • John

    Rumours are bound to circulate about Ben refusing to nominate different people, but anyone who suggests that Ben is showing bias by nomiating a republcian are deluded. Like Chris has identified Ben nominated a unionist last year. He will nominate anyone if he is convinced the candidate will work for all students.

    The reasons why unionist are angrey with Ben is because they have realised that he is not in their pockets. He flexed his independent muscles, a blow that sent the DUA spinning.

    The reality is that the DUA are in a complete mess at Queens. They aren’t fielding any candidates in these elections, they couldn’t even field a DUA candidate against Gaskin.

    For the DUA’s sake come back Christopher Stalford – all is forgiven.

  • David

    I agree John that in my personal opinion neither Ben or Pete are alligned in terms of nationalist/unionist. The point of many original post was that following recent developments many within Queens are challenging this belief.

    In terms of the DUA being a complete mess I wouldnt quite agree, they were very successful in last years elections (beating me to an executive position) and undoubtedly will be strong again next year if as I am lead to believe David Cather is returning.

  • John

    ‘undoubtedly will be strong again next year if as I am lead to believe David Cather is returning’.

    Really David?

  • John

    People must realise that recent developments show that Ben is non-aligned. Last year he nominated a unionist for election because he believed they could do a good job for students and this year has done the same for a republcian.

    Those who are questioning his politics have a very short memory. They have finally realised that they can’t use Ben as a means to get elected.

  • David

    John indeed memories are very poor in politics. Then again they always said a week is a long time in politics

  • Paul

    Could anyone explain to me why the DUA did not put anyone forward for the SU elections? Are they really in a mess?

  • Observer

    I would question whether the candidate Ben has seconded will work for the good of the Union and students as appears to be stated by some commenters above. During the term the candidate in question served as SCA officer he did little for the students and more in the development of a republican agenda which contributed to Ben’s election last year. He also helped create apathy amongst students in contributing to the constant ‘tit-for-tat’ Unionist-Nationalist politics that has bogged the Union for years. His successor this year (who defeated him in his stand for re-election) has done much much more in his role and I think his record would speak for itself and I am sure Ben Preston would back this statement up.

    Ben should make note of all this and the candidate who is commenting on this website knows fine well that he is using Ben’s position for his own political gain. If he gets elected the only people I feel sorry for will be the students in his role as VP Education – a vital and very important role within Queen’s and the Union.

    Therefore I believe that John’s theory makes no-sense. The candidate is out for himself and himself alone. NOT the greater student body!

  • John

    David

    A lot of work has been done by the current SU executive committee. They have been successful in stopping the university taking over the union bars/ents. This is what Ben is about not party politics, the constituitional question is simply not on the radar.

    Paul

    Yes indeed the DUA are in a mess. They couldn’t find any candidates for these elections despite their success at the polls last year. They were hoping that Ben Preston would save them, now they have found that he is loyal to the students’ union and nothing else.

    The typcial response of people who can’t understand Ben’s independence is to pigeon-hole him and accuse him of belonging to a politcial group.

  • John

    The idea that the candidate Ben has seconded will work for the whole student body is certainly up for debate but it simply makes no sense for people to describe Ben as republcian-aligned simply because he nominated one.

    Again this debate goes back to DUA desperation.

  • David

    John

    You are preaching to the converted. The point I was making was that in light of recent developments there are a number around queens who would challenge this assertion and as a result the claim that niether Peter nor Ben are non aligned (apologies to Slug if I have too many negatives) is open to debate.

    I do not personally believe that neither Ben nor Peter are politically aligned but I can still see why many of those I have talked to might.

    In a further note Chris’ running mate in the elections last year beat me as did the eventual winner of the election. I worry that says about me.

  • Paul

    It seems to me to be irrelevant whether or the not the present SCA officer has done more work than his predeccsor. Clearly Ben Preston thinks Chris Gaskin can do a good job as VP Education and has seconded him without judging his politcial opinions.

  • John

    David

    I understood your position I was simply making a general point.

  • David

    Oh and just to clarify I am most definately not DUA alligned.

  • David

    Ahh ok a misread on my behalf on both occassions then I apologise

  • IJP

    Makes a change for politics to be based in the Union rather than about the Union…

    Well done to both.

  • Whoever asked – yes, Paddy Maguire would have been a better candidate. He’s the only one of the 4 runners for the 2 posts who was grown up enough to admit that Student Union politics is a joke.

  • Observer

    John, I do not regard Ben a ‘shinner’ or a ‘dupper’ but what is most interesting is his motives for nominating a Sinn Fein candidate.

    I do not feel that you understand the situation fully and would question your reasons for posting such ‘positive’ comments about Ben and what he has done.

    What I will also take you up on is the point you made about the candidate he has backed. In his ‘ability to do a good job’ in the Executive. If he had any sense he would have been better trying to keep this person out as I very much doubt that he will work with all in the Union and in his ability to forget about his politics. His previous track record is not good. He is trying to surf on the current wave of success in terms of Union politics and that is the positive effect Ben has had within the Union. There are much better candidates up for the post.

  • Observer

    I will make it clear that the effect Ben has had within the Union has been very positive.

    Ben probably has been the best President Queen’s has seen for a while. He is approachable and independent.

    However there may be more to him than meets the eye and I do not believe the excuses people are making for him in nominating this candidate. On the lines of “he backed them so he has to back the other side now”

    I don’t think its fair to say he backed the DUA last year. This is only being used in his defence thrown out by a few people from within and particularly for the promotion of the candidate as the ‘best person for the job’. This is far from the truth.

    Surely Ben knew that this would create a negative image for him?

  • I very much doubt that he will work with all in the Union

    How do you work that out?

    I get on with everyone in the Union

    his ability to forget about his politics

    I have no intention of doing any such thing but as I would be elected to V.P Education that would be my paramount priority.

    His previous track record is not good

    I am getting a bit tired of cowards slating my reputation, put up or shut up time!

    He is trying to surf on the current wave of success in terms of Union politics

    I am doing no such thing!

    Before Ben was even elected I was the one who was campaigning against the restructuring. At that time the DUA agreed with it because I opposed it. It wasn’t until Ben came out against it that they did also.

    Ask Pete Quinn, we put a motion before council on it last May.

    I suggest that you check the archives of Council

    There are much better candidates up for the post

    Who? At least have the guts to reveal who your affilitation is to!

    On the lines of “he backed them so he has to back the other side now”

    No one is saying that, just proof that he is independant.

    I don’t think its fair to say he backed the DUA last year

    No one is saying that, he did however back a DUA canditate. It’s a matter of Public Record.

    However there may be more to him than meets the eye and I do not believe the excuses people are making for him in nominating this candidate.

    What do you believe then?

    You are slating a decent bloke while you hide behind the shroud of an anonymous name.

    Put up or shut up!

  • David

    I can support a lot of what Mr Gaskin is saying, himself and Peter did attempt to bring a motion before council last year. In addition, Chris tried last year to organise a non partisan grouping to oppose the restructuring. He did as much if not more than anyone in that executive in this regard.

    Chris and I dont always see eye to eye (I blame it on the fact hes from the wrong side of Armagh – the south) but he is a lot more approachable than other members of previous executives have been.

  • Auld Hand

    Ben Preston, like Mary Durkan before him, took the use of the Unionists in order to cover his back on the SRC and when he had no further use of them he shafted them – the thing that amazes me is that the DUA couldn’t see this coming.

  • Auld Hand

    And another thing – the Queens CU makes me sick with their holier than thou, uber-liberal, Stevie Stockman, sandle wearing do-goodishness!

    That one of their leaders should sign his name to a Provisional Sinn Fein candidates papers speaks volumes. This boy is a total joke – I hope the Unionists give him Hell next year!

  • Baluba

    Any chance you can get the bi-lingual signage re-erected in the Union please?

  • harump

    So, this is the future! 3 years of privileged education at Qub and this is what is spewed out. Events at Qub regarding restructuring are bigger and more far reaching than most of us know or can comprehend. We are fortunate to have key individuals in their elected posts to carry out the necessary work in the interests of ALL students. The narrow, bitter, ‘toytown politics’ that gets so much coverage and attracts so much comment is a legacy of another generations mistakes and cowardice. The pygmies will always squeal.