Ex-Cartmel JCR President Robbie Pickles was voted LUSU President 2010 in one of two uncontested elections, receiving 1455 votes to 306 RONs.
“I’m extremely ecstatic to have won,” said Pickles in the press conference following the result announcement. “I’m probably about 70% happy [right now] and I’ll be the other 30% happy when there’s two other people sitting either side of me.” Previously Pickles had expressed support for the five Equality, Welfare & Diversity and Academic Affairs candidates whose elections will have to be re-opened.
Despite being the only candidate in the running for the position, Pickles claimed there was still no certainty he would win.
“Personally I didn’t see it as a foregone conclusion at all,” he said. “I have seen positions re-opened and I think if people had thought I wasn’t the right person for the job they should have re-opened that position.
“The thing with being uncontested is that you still have to make the case to students that you’re the right person for the job,” he added. “You have to go out there, find out what people want and still earn people’s respect because if you don’t you don’t deserve to be in [this] position. Even though it was uncontested I still fought that election as hard as I would have done if it had been contested.”
Current President Michael Payne expressed disappointment that the race had been one-sided, saying “I think a contest would have been healthy for the organisation, but the reality is there wasn’t a contest. The students have decided; there was an option to vote RON [which] they clearly didn’t [use]. The job to be done is making sure he’s ready to take over what is a very difficult and challenging job.
“The popular vote was there behind him and I wish him very well,” Payne added.
Although Pickles’ 306 RON votes were considerably more than those cast against VP Sports-elect Marc Handley, the other uncontested candidate, who received 176, he didn’t see this as a case of students lacking faith in him.
“I think if people were unhappy that there was only one candidate running it was exactly the right thing to do. I’m extremely pleased that people [voted RON] against the odds,” he said. “People did exercise their democratic right, which is a good thing to see, so overall it’s a good number to get.”
When asked about his first priority on taking up office, Pickles mentioned the Fairer Fees and Funding campaign.
“There’s going to be a general election shortly before 30 June and the Browne Review will be reporting shortly after. It’s about making sure we’re on top of those developments and ready to continue the campaign to make sure that students get a fair deal when it comes to their finances.”
In terms of preparation for the role, he commented that “it’s a learning curve, it’s about making sure that we read the material we need to know, make sure we gain the skills that we need, make sure that we’re absolutely ready so that on 30 June we’ll be ready to go ahead.”
Mike Clarke, Pickles’ campaign manager, described the result as ‘absolutely brilliant’.
“He’s worked so hard to actually do it. For him to get in is amazing so I’m really happy for him,” Clarke said. “I’ve never seen a guy who’s so committed to doing it. All of the campaign team has had to sacrifice quite a lot but it’s all for a really good cause.”