Edinburgh’s Rectorial election

I don’t think I had heard of Magnus Linklater until earlier today. He is apparently one of the candidates for rector of Edinburgh University. Nominations closed yesterday, but I can’t find anything about it on Edinburgh University’s website — but then again, it’s very difficult to find anything on that website.

I’m not exactly sure what the whole point is. All the rector does, as far as I can make out, is write a little foreword in the prospectus.

Anyway, the candidates that I know of are:

  • Mark Ballard — Green MSP, constantly tickling the clitoris of typical student lefty-liberals because it’s the only way he can get anybody to listen to him
  • Boris Johnson — lovable cuddly Tory MP better known for his incredibly blonde hair than for doing anything useful
  • John Pilger — weird journalist opinion-man. Nominated by Palestine Solidarity Society; tread with care
  • Magnus Linklater — who?

This is who. This guy is my first choice already now because of that article. It turns out that he writes for The Times and Scotland on Sunday. Which will be why I’d never heard of him. He doesn’t even have an entry in Wikipedia.

Boris Johnson will probably be my second choice, and Mark Ballard third — assuming that these are all the nominations. I think I am right in thinking that we will be using the STV system, which means that I’ll be able to vote for all of the tossers instead of just the one.

Mark Ballard probably has the best chance; Robin Harper was Rector not too long back, and he has the support of EUSA’s president. Boris Johnson will probably get the irony-vote. Meanwhile, if People & Planet throw their weight behind Pilger there’ll probably be a lot of noise made about him as well.

Update: I began this post, “I don’t think,” though I thought the name was familiar. When I came off the computer I remembered this article, so I had heard of him before. I don’t think remembering he had a housefire and used to be an editor of The Scotsman changes my opinion.

Update: Candidates confirmed.


  1. No-one cared about who was rector when I was a styoodent.

    However, the naming of SU bars was of paramount importance; my peers attempted to get the Steve Biko Bar renamed the Rolf Harris Bar. I wasn’t having any of it, myself.

  2. At least you don’t have the option of doing what happened here in Glasgow. We have Mordechai Vanunu as our rector, and because of the fact he is under house arrest in Israel, is not exactly what you would call an err… visible presence.

  3. It scares me that the Palestine Solidarity Society have put Pilger forward – the way EUSA is going, I can’t help but wonder when we’re going to get bomb threats.

    Ballard – I’ll save my breath. He’s a life member of the Union, although he should stick to the SRC stuff where he can talk till his heart’s content and not actually do anything – Green List MSP indeed.

    Linklater. I suppose you have to read the Scotsman. Word is he was proposed by someone senior on the Uni staff.

    Can’t say I paid much attention to the rector when I was a student, but then I didn’t have a need to. He may well have been there at the graduation ceremony though.