This is Robbie Miller’s second time running for Honorary Secretary at the GUU, having ran unsuccessfully two years ago. Miller did not respond well to questioning regarding his continued membership of the Freemasons. Frustrated with enquiring into his membership of the male-exclusive organisation, he showed a remarkable lack of cool under pressure. What could have been easily brushed off as a trivial point (a case he could have perhaps made convincingly) became a personal attack in Miller’s eyes. Perhaps his frustration is understandable but the fact that he did not see it as an expected line of questioning is inexplicable. Miller of all people should be used to “the third degree” given that he is presumably far past that in his Masonry career. Losing the rag with an interviewer over a perfectly legitimate question does not inspire me with any great amount of confidence on his suitability for the role.
I found his attack on The Glasgow Guardian incredibly poor. On the issue of uncontested positions, I don’t think it should be praised by anyone that the first female President of the GUU in 15 years will be elected uncontested. Nor is it at all impressive to say that the only reason so many positions on the boards of the student bodies are uncontested this year is that The Guardian will criticise candidates “who put their heads above the parapet”. This is often the only accountability mechanism these people face; it is part of the entire process of student elections that candidates are questioned and challenged – especially those with ties to patriarchal organisations such as the Freemasons.
What Miller lacks in calmness, he more than makes up for in his knowledge of the craft. His commitment to the union is undeniable, and is especially impressive given his rejection by the electorate two years ago. His commitment to the equality of the board is slightly less convincing. Almost by his own admission he is the only thing standing in the way of a guaranteed all female board at the GUU. Admirably, and contrary to typical GUU fashion, he is not withdrawing from the race to make way for an uncontested election.
Outside of Miller’s personal novelties, he really does not offer much of interest in terms of policy. Besides promises to improve the GUU’s already successful club nights and the obligatory pledges to improve training for staff and board, nothing of any great note is brought up in Miller’s manifesto. The GUU is doing well financially and as a result sees itself above question; exemplified in Ailsa Jones’s refusal to meet with The Glasgow Guardian and Miller’s indignation at being asked relevant personal questions that might have affected his suitability for the position. It is hard to extricate my formal experience of Miller as a candidate from my personal experience of him. I was thoroughly unimpressed with him both on and off camera. This being said, I think it incredibly unlikely Miller will be elected, so those worried about a return to the zombified values of the GUU need not be concerned.