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The Tin-Pot General and the Iron Lady

Nicola Kean



WHILE YOU were off cramming for exams and watching DVDs, VUWSA got a makeover. In the figurative sense, those elected at the end of last term made fresh indentations in the old seats. A Campaigns Officer was lost and a new one hired. And literally too, the offices got a paint job. But if there’s one thing that will never change, it’s VUWSA idiocy.
A long time ago, I read a great children’s book based on the Falklands War called “The Tin-pot General and the Old Iron Woman”. While the only thing the Falklands and VUWSA have in common is that VUWSA probably passed a motion supporting the Argentinian invasion and offered to buy a tank, the analogy is apt. The tin-pot general is one Joel Cosgrove, newly elected Education Vice-President.
Not only does he walk around wearing that ridiculous army helmet, but beating Gareth Robinson for the job – because nobody has done that before – has brought a noticeable change in his behaviour. Power crazy? Maybe. High on his own misguided sense of importance? Most likely. But whatever is going on in that head of his, it’s not doing him any favours. Especially if, and Lord help us, he decides he wants to be President next year. With not even a year on VUWSA under his belt, Cosgrove is refusing to deny his desire to run for the top job.
Which is a scary prospect given his behaviour as EVP. He sits in a meeting, taking the minutes, glaring malevolently, chastising those who speak out of turn and rebuking those whose views he disagrees with. Chipping in his two cents on every topic for discussion, he acts like he’s been elected already. I was on the receiving end of his wrath when Clubs Officer Melissa Barnard asked me if I’d like a free ride on the mechanical bull the exec has agreed to rent for next week’s clubs day. (Seriously, a mechanical bull. What is this, some sort of funfair?) But if anyone was riding anything, it was Cosgrove on his high horse. Before I had even opened my mouth to respond, he was snapping about my speaking rights or, more correctly, lack thereof.
If Cosgrove is the tin pot general, then Women’s Rights Officer Caroline Prendergast is the iron lady. She bickered continually with Cosgrove over the smallest issue, from who will move a certain motion, to the women’s budget. Prendergast’s coup detat was booking Anika Moa to play for Women’s Fest, and she wanted to take the band and Women’s Group volunteers out for dinner before the concert. The problem that the rest of the exec had with this was she wanted to pay for it with part of the budget reserved for feeding the Women’s Group. Oh, woe!
Eventually, after Cosgrove and Prendergast bitched at each other for a while, a solution was found. Prendergast had to propose a motion to reallocate the money.
Other interesting happenings included a new initiative from President Nick Kelly to have a strategic plan, listing all the things members of the exec promised they’d do at the beginning of the year, and other things they should be doing. Basically it’s designed to keep tabs on what people are up to, and to make sure they actually keep their manifesto promises. Meanwhile, the elusive VUWSA budget remains hiding in a dark corner somewhere.
Much like education officers Delia Timms and CJ Hunt, who were also nowhere to be found last week. Apparently they’d gone on holiday. This was after Timms attempted to treat the latest NZUSA conference in Hamilton as a holiday by trying to skip a day of workshops. The reason? She wanted to check out the hobbit holes in Matamata. Good to see some accountability there guys.