I got around to thinking about student politics today, probably because of all the various elections coming up. It isn't even really about anything that's happening currently, but more about what I've observed over the last few years I've been in uni.
I guess it's a little misleading when I use the term student politics; it's not really the politics part I've been thinking about. Granted, with any election involving more than one party comes elements of politcal maneuvering and the occasional backstabbing, but I guess that's all accepted and written off as "strategy".
What interests me, though, is the forming of tickets. When I say tickets, I of course mean political parties, and not those you buy to watch a film. When it comes to most election involving a small group of people (like a student organisation), tickets are generally based on individuals who would like to work together, as opposed to any great divergence in philosophy. Granted, there normally exists some forms of ideological differences between the teams in their "vision" for the organisation and the issues they have chosen to base their campaign on, but more often than not, it's also largely a matter of "I'm not so sure I'd want to work with them".
However, being small organisations with only a relative handful of seriously active participants, it's inevitable that everbody knows nearly everyone else. And because everyone knows everybody, certain teams end up being formed in "secret". I use inverted commas here because it's not really a secret; nearly everyone knows about it.
But why do we do this? What's up with all the secrecy? Is it because we're all friends? Is that the reason we shy away from blatently saying "We don't want to run with you because (insert legitimate reason or otherwise). We don't agree with your campaign/don't like the way you do things/think you're an asshole. So we're going to form a team in secret. But not really, 'cuz you know we're doing it. But we won't mention it anyway till elections draw nearer. Because it's a surprise!"
What, are we afraid to hurt their feelings? It's not like they're not going to know when the time comes. And seriously, surely if we're even thinking about running an organisation that deals in running activities for/looking after the welfare of/otherwise interacting with a few hundred/thousand students, we can be mature enough to accept the fact that not everybody thinks we're the best thing since sliced bread.
Make no mistake, I'm not innocent of this either; I, too, have once taken part in such a practice. I've seen it happen to others many times more. And I'm still wondering.