For what regards itself to be a journalistic bastion, Trinity College’s University Times (UT) has accrued a rather blemished reputation over the years. From budgetary overspends, to the infamous botched bugging of student accommodation, the paper has shuffled by in the background of Trinners life for some years, almost seeing their funding canned by a student referendum in recent years.

While our fifth estate shamelessly begs for state funding from the Future of Media Commission to shore up hemorrhaging finances, the UT is ahead of the curve, being funded from mandatory student union dues, whether individual students like it or not and no option to opt-out. 

With an erroneous entitlement to a student-funded flat for its editor, and an expense account that would make a gombeen TD blush, the UT is at the cutting edge of where loose morals and even looser budgets can take up a journalistic mantle.

While the position of editor is officially open to any TCD student in an annual ballot, it is generally a preordained affair. Most years the position is uncontested, making it a rather shameful coronation rather than a meaningful fight (though a Spiderman-themed joke candidate garnered a respectful 35% of the vote in 2018).

This year however will see something of an electoral dark horse emerging in the race in the form of our very own Peter Caddle, final year philosophy student and former Culture Editor for this very magazine.

Running on a platform of financial reform, namely with regards to dumping the UT’s costly and entirely pointless print edition, Caddle has served at the coalface of this publication almost since its inception. 

Predictably, the gremlins at UT have hectically lashed out at him as being the generic far-right monster in an attempt at pigeonholing him. Chatter around the college circuit however paints the paper’s leadership as being a lot more anxious than they let on, finally seeing  a challenger encroaching on the positions they’ve grown fat from.

Regardless of any accusations of being far-right, Caddle seems to intend to keep his campaign and editorial tenureship as broad-based as possible, running on matters of reform against a university clique that has played fast and loose with their funding and ethics for far too long, and who have grown complacent in the process. One can easily imagine there is quite the coalition of the disaffected that he intends to tap into in the coming two weeks of campaigning, the end result being perhaps a rather startling result.

Caddle’s opposite number for the campaign is the paper’s current deputy editor Emer Moreau. As her response to the prospective challenge from a right-wing candidate, Moreau has committed herself to a more diverse publication, lashing out at the inherent whiteness of the UT (seriously no joke) and committing herself to the formation of a “Diversity and Inclusion Committee”. In doing so she reveals herself as being concerned with petty progressive office politics than serious affairs.

As it stands the UT, like the SU that is bankrolling it, is gurgling around the drain already, with deep rooted issues left to fester over the years. A printed paper in a modern student campus, with lectures currently taking place online and probably post-pandemic, it is a white elephant if ever there was one. One which exists solely to bolster the egos and Linkedin pages of UT’s editorial staff.

Insofar as these rather nugatory elections matter, they are entry points for the Irish elite, and a perfect place for the aspiring rightist to throw a spanner into the works and cut a potential jugular. The UT and the more general SU cartel culture which one sees rampant at every level are the perfect breeding ground for the modern Irish elite, and hopefully an eventual populist cadre will come to challenge the former. 

We have seen right-wing candidates win SU elections, with even TCD playing host to a populist backlash which saw 49% of students voting to financially cripple the SU after years of mismanagement. A guerrilla campaign in over the next decade should hopefully see off the SU’s as political bodies and put them back where they rightfully belong: concerning themselves with the quality of life of students and not the fringe occupations of the far left.

To be clear, one would reasonably expect Caddle to be clobbered by the Mandela House brigade when the final result comes in, given just how few students bother engaging with institutions that don’t represent or care for them or their views. However the long-term goal of such a campaign is to inspire other students on the right to get active in decadent institutions left to rot under the writ of a progressive ruling class and build the prerequisite networks. This publication has felled a few Goliaths in its short history.

Let’s not kid ourselves into thinking TCDSU elections are overly important, but let’s not lowball their overall importance either in incubating this country’s progressive overlordship.

Interviewing members Action française recently, I was impressed how even a small dedicated coterie of patriotic students could muster serious opposition to the intellectual elite of the French Republic at their alma mater. While early days, yet there is no reason why rightists in years to come couldn’t hammer out a faction within student life on campuses up and down the country.

Our elite at every level are blundering and are without the intellectual or organisational grounding that we see even with Continental liberals. In the aftermath of the defenestration of political Catholicism, and the defanging of physical force republicanism, they have grown self-satisfied in a sort of never ending triumphalism, ripe to be challenged as the myriad of contradictions of progressive governance bear fruit.

One would implore all reading to get registered to vote given the farcical levels of turnout for these college rodeos. Per the total number of votes from previous years these elections manage a paltry 10-13% of the total student populace with potentially half that in light of the covid crisis dislocating most students further from the college apparatus.

I normally would not subject my worst enemy to the ordeal of watching and reporting on the minutiae of SU elections, however this year at least expect a fox to be let into the otherwise complacent journalistic henhouse. What can happen in the traditionally perfunctory world of TCD student politics can happen anywhere in Irish politics in decades to come.

Note elections for TCDSU sabbatical positions will occur from the 9th to the 11th of March,with all current undergraduate students entitled to register to vote, which all intending to vote must do. The form to do so can be found here

Posted by Ciaran Brennan

7 Comments

  1. A Concerned Student 01/03/2021 at 10:53 pm

    I am involved in the SU and others, so I am posting this anonymously.

    As a Marxist, I wish the SU were Marxist. The correct criticism is that often times, they end up being technocratic liberals. Many of the criticism you aptly make about the SU – institutionalization, careerism, etc. for one – have been made by anarchists too around campus. See the recent Phil debate in Dec 2020.

    As someone on the far-left, it infuriates me that the Burkean, and especially Peter, calls the SU ‘Marxist’. It also speaks to a deep lack of journalistic integrity. THIS is one of the reasons why I will not be voting for him.

    I don’t want to get into the whole far-right debate; I don’t agree with Peter’s opinions as expressed on the Burkean. They are right-wing and I share none of them, because I think they are flawed argumentations. But anyways.

    The other candidate has way more experience, but I agree that her diversity committee is ridiculous. Not the fact that she is proposing to make one – because that I agree with – but to bring it up as a main campaign point. I can see why, in face of serious issues facing the UT, this comes across as shocking and performative.

    The Irish Antifa Project was indeed revelatory, by the way. The people you guys called should have known that there never is such an organized group as Antifa, because Antifa is a decentralized group with no leadership. Then again, this speaks to the fact that you are strawmanning both the far-left, the Antifa and all the people in the SU and other societies. It doesn’t reveal anything relating to the far-left, but just the state of the USI. Perhaps it would be better to formulate some actual criticism and stop employing terms like ‘Ultra-Marxist’. I would read some articles of Jack Kennedy on Trinity News if I were you.

    Apart from that, the UT has quite good standards of journalism. If you would read any of them, you would know that they are quite honest and critical with their pen. But that is another debate.

    These are my slightly disjointed thoughts. Tell me what you think. I think you guys at the Burkean are seriously misguided, but on a level, I understand your frustration. I can only recommend that you listen to what *actual* leftists have to say.

    Reply

  2. Hi,

    Appreciate your comment which i detect is made with some modicum of good faith however the article doesn’t claim the SU are Marxist per se or even use the word marxist at all (though there are many thinly veiled if not overt ones within their ranks with the influence of the PBP faction being rather pronounced though lessened as of this year. A more apt word is radlib or as you called them liberal technocrats.

    The UT is way past its peak especially in light of scandals and the temerity they have to bill the union for their inordinate costs beyond me. We need a few thousand for a student press not two SU papers and an entire journalistic class working on the SU dollar with expenses covered. We run the Burkean for free ,obviously UT is different but should be grateful for a reasonable grant a fraction of what they get now and to kill their print edition.

    EM’s diversity committee is not befitting any serious journalist and more the actions of a HR woman than an editor, what’s the point of a diversity committee when the SU/UT in general ideological congruence and would happily stick the knife into any outsider pov.

    How many Catholics , republicans, Muslims , libertarians or even communists will be on the new diversity committee or will it be just token POCs as trajectory of mag remains the same?

    Would need a serious dose of adderall before delving into the intellectual Titan that is TN’s Jack Kennedy but get your point but don’t think its arguable to defend UT/TCDSU not being left of centre in orientation.

    The comment appreciated none the less whoever you are…

    Reply

    1. As an aside we never made claims about the organisation of antifa being formalised but rather it consists of a nexus of politically and institutionally connected people.

      It wasn’t Watergate but it forced resignations of some rather daft officials among some other findings/results.

      Certainly if it was an expose on the ‘far right’ it would have garnered a primtime slot

      Reply

    2. A Concerned Student 02/03/2021 at 9:56 pm

      I have to agree.

      The TCDSU does have a problem with restraint as written in one of the articles on here. Not to mention the money spent every year on class rep “training” and UT, its running cost and salaries. I have ran newspapers before for 10000+ students ( a school system), we spent 100-200 euros per year. Obviously not comparable but I have to agree that budgeting could be done so much better. The salaries for union and UT people are debatable anyways…

      I have to disagree with Marxist and PBP 100%.

      The TCDSU just voted down a motion to stop the use of Shannon airport by the US military. That has been a goal of the left since the 80s. But I was wrong, you guys called the USI Marxist. “The Marxists at the helm got out of hand but were to be reigned in. ” — “The USI Chooses Oblivion”. Even the background image alluded to Maoist propaganda. I have to strongly reject the term Marxist as it is insulting. The TCDRU, which I am involved in, for example, is much closer to the far-left.

      Re. antifa, diversity committee etc. It is an unnecessary debate right now, but I don’t agree. I agree with the problem of forming a diversity committee that is actually diverse. I would stress that if Peter Caddle is to run and win, he must 100x stress that his political views will NOT influence the UT. He should also focus a lot on what students pay to editors, etc..

      Reply

      1. Am a conservative Catholic but am intensely against NATO/Shannon being converted to an American base similar to the Treaty ports as an act of nation humiliation so with you on first bit. Its not a right/left issue but regardless

        USI leadership primarily of the hard left (as we have shown and most of them don’t hide) again its more radlib stuff than anything meaningful towards socialism but point remains they are certainly left of centre to hard left (though primarily careerists who will merge with neoliberlaism as soon as it becomes expedient)

        Maoist background was done in jest but tbh USI is basically a self selecting Politburo

        Any TCDSU official I’ve dealt with has been left of centre, perhaps a sign that rightists need to get involved more but all the same its a fairly closed shop as the Ascough event showed while back.

        Not sure about TCDSU vote (I’d have opted for it) but tbh its not an issue of primary concern especially with miasma around housing and covid afflicting students nevermind endemic budgetary issues as you highlighted.

        I’ve spoke n to Caddle and while he wears his political affiliation on his sleeve if someone wants to write a stridently marxist article he’d have no major issue and would even encourage it. As it stands UT just a watering hole for neolib/radlib types, at least with Caddle window opens up for radical fringes of left and right.

        For that matter if you or anyone from TCDRU wants to publish anything using The Burkean as an organ or be open for reasoned cooperation would be more than happy to work with, and i genuinely mean that. Reactionaries also pay rent…

        For what its worth most if not all the Burkean editorial staff centre left to hard left when it comes to economics, certainly we need a more militant union to rally on issue of housing.

        Reply

  3. Jemal Torrents 06/03/2021 at 1:09 am

    Hell yeah Caddle for Editor I love this man he answers each question with amazing precision and rawness also hell yeah my man we need to promote that shit

    Reply

  4. Hey fuck the SU ive been in trinity 3 years and all theyve done is infringe on my ability to love my boyfriend in public. They constantly push their bigotted views on the rest of us with their big words. Im a simple man i like a pint of stella in the morning and a pint of stella at night. Great article #Caddle4Welfare

    Reply

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