Interview and analysis: Mike Setchell – QMU Vice Presidential Membership, Clubs and Societies

Harry Vizor

Mike Setchell is running for Vice President of Membership, Clubs and Societies, opposing UnaMarie Darragh. Setchell’s manifesto is substantial and his passion for the role is evident, however, he may is making too many promises without considering the actual tasks he is setting for himself.

In his writing, Setchell is clear and to the point. He is openly critical of the Union and is willing to accept some of the responsibility for the Queen Margaret Union’s (QMU) downfall in recent years, despite the small role he held during that time. In this respect, Setchell takes the difficult route and his honesty and devotion are commendable.

Setchell’s overarching goal is to “make membership matter”, essentially making the returns on a QMU membership more attractive to students. He wants to do this by offering food deals in Cafe 22 & Food Factory and better drinks for house prices in the bar.

However, when questioned Setchell conceded that he had not inquired with the outlets to ensure this was a possibility. An unnerving admission, and it is not absurd to worry whether this is a legitimate aim for Setchell or an empty promise to secure votes. It is worth noting that Setchell has said he will be enquiring in the coming days.

If elected, Setchell will sit as the chair of the QMU’s Fresher’s Week Committee and has claimed that he wants to see the lineup dissected. Setchell will do away with any events that haven’t been working for the Union and will build on those that have. On this topic, he said that he will rebuild from scratch if need be.

This, again, is a worry. Setchell may be underestimating the task of putting together an entire Fresher’s Week for the Union. However, he has held the position of Events Convenor at the QMU, so he may have some small experience that could be built upon in this area.

Setchell also reached a hand out to other organisations on campus to collectively push for fewer budget cuts. This is well-meaning, yet slightly naive. Arguably the union needs a better financial strategy, not simply more money. What is also disconcerting is that Setchell has made a number of promises in his manifesto that are reliant on money, before achieving any success in rolling back cuts. Setchell admits that his proposals for price reductions on food and drink to members will eat into profit margins.

Setchell is passionate and invested in the QMU. He also has a strong background at the Union and his experience will undoubtedly aid him if his bid is successful. The difficulties arise when scrutinising his manifesto – there are too many claims with too little supporting evidence on whether they are possible, and if elected, Setchell has given himself a colossal task to deliver on his promises.


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