Johnny Lawrence - SU Presidential Candidate 2014

Her Campus were thrilled to finally meet Johnny Lawrence, SU Presidential Candidate 2014. Mostly because he proved difficult to pin down for an interview; in his words, Johnny ‘doesn’t really follow a plan’. The Psychology MSc student from Hextable, Kent talked to us in depth about the practicalities of some of his policies, revealed one that wasn’t even allowed on the manifesto, and opened up about his love life…



Can you tell us what’s involved in the role of President?

Friendly, approachable figure head of the Students Union.


Short and sweet. Will you be personally developing the mechanism to make the Hopper Buses hop or is this already technology that we have in place?

I think hopping technology exists. I mean, I won’t be personally developing it as I don’t really understand the hydraulics involved.


Do you have contacts that can assist with it then?

Well, we have a whole Engineering department. But also, there should be a part 2 to this policy which promises to repair pot holes – because obviously it will cause a lot of damage. You see, we really need to make the roads more bounce-able. 


Are we talking sort of inflatable roads here, or…?

More like a trampoline.


Of course, because I guess an inflatable road would pop.

Yeah, and you’d need a massive air pump. So we’d make a sort of crevice for the road and string a trampoline-like material across.


…which would also make walking a lot quicker!

Exactly! Although then again, walking in the roads alongside bouncing buses is a potential safety risk. I’m not sure we should endorse that.


Do you think there are many safety concerns with this?

Oh my God, dozens. Yeah, I think I’d have to be crazy to say there aren’t. It’s a risk I’m willing to take.


Can Animal Welfare enthusiasts be confident that your Squirrel Policy is ethical and will harm no animals in the process?

Yeah, well they’d be pretty free range you see – they’d just sort of roam around. They’d be on a timetable like you or I, and they’d have free time to go to Portland and eat. They’ll be very much an equal part of the student body.


I’d like some tips, because my most liked status was only in the vicinity of 30. What was your status that got 75 likes?

That’s actually quite outdated now – I’ve since got more likes on a status. One time, I took a photo of a spice rack, and captioned it ‘My First Shelfie’. That did very well.


The power is definitely in the caption isn’t it! My next concern is that I don’t really like courgettes but I’m happy to compromise with a cucumber? Is there flexibility with Courgette Tuesday?

Have you ever had them?


Well, in a ratatouille. But I don’t like them on their own.

I don’t know really. I mean, Aubergine Tuesday or something doesn’t really have the same ring to it. But I suppose there could be some flexibility. There’s not really a vegetable I don’t like to be honest. I think Courgette Tuesday is more of a metaphysical entity.


Rather than it really mattering?

Oh it matters. It really matters. People respond really well to it. But it’s metaphysical.


How do you feel towards avocados?

We are pro-avocado.


Congratulations on closing the Chamber of Secrets. Are you a fluent Parseltongue speaker or did you attend evening classes in preparation?

Yeah, people actually didn’t know I was a fluent Parseltongue speaker – I haven’t really told anybody.


Is it something you’ve struggled with?

Growing up, yes. It was difficult. There was this one time I went to a zoo, and I actually spoke to a snake. And then the glass disappeared. It was weird. Not long after, my cousin turned in to a pig.


You ran for this role last year, coming in a respectable 5th. What changes have you made to your manifesto, and are you approaching your campaign differently this year?

Hmm. I got rid of the printer credit casino. I wanted to film the policies in action this year and I couldn’t do it. Also it wasn’t really financially viable – you’d need to hire professionals to run it, and the budget wouldn’t stretch to that.

I can’t really remember my manifesto last year to be honest. There have been a lot of changes: squirrels: new, courgettes: new, sacrifices: not new, but we actually did it this year.


Yeah, I saw. Did you get many neighbour complaints? The scream was quite loud.

No, we were quite far underground so it was fine.


Who do you consider to be your biggest rival?

Gary Oak. Her Campus here expresses some confusion. That was a Pokémon reference. Don’t worry.


No we’ll run with it!

Are many Her Campus readers Pokémon fans?


So many – you’d be amazed.  Is there anything else you’d like to talk to us about from your manifesto?

Well there was one thing they wouldn’t let me put on actually. It’s a massive walk to campus from Derby Road and because it’s on a bit of a hill, I propose a slide, or a flume.


The flume would be problematic because you’d turn up to lectures wet.

But then everyone would, so it would become normal.


True – it would be kind of like everyone’s evolved a layer of slime.

Slime? No, it’s not Get Your Own Back.


Although that would be good. Would you consider some kind of Get Your Own Back theme to replace voting?

Like a gunging? Yeah, I’ll write it down. What other policies have I got?


More and better mental health services. Tell us about that; it’s somewhat out of character with your other policies.

Well if I do get the job, that’s the one that I’ll actually be implementing. As much as other candidates are promising a lot of different things, you can’t do it all in a year. And it doesn’t really matter anyway. Education is OK because we’re at a good university, there are plenty of extra-curricular activities to keep everyone busy, but mental health provision really isn’t good enough. It takes like two months to get an appointment. That’s what university should be doing - giving you a good education, good social experience and looking after your health. The rest of it is superfluous.


What makes you right for the job?

Well, being SU president is about being the president of the Student’s Union.  Johnny ponders for a moment.


That’s a tautology.

I haven’t finished the sentence yet. Although speaking in tautologies is good because no one can pick what you’re saying apart. Basically, I describe myself as exothermic. I give off energy. And that’s what it’s about. It’s about being the glue, to bind stuff together within the SU.


Are you more of a superglue than a Pritt Stick?

Yeah. I’m no Pritt.


Is there a First Lady in your life, and if not, will you consider an application process?

Were all these questions leading up to this? Are you asking me out? On a date?


Johnny, I’m asking what the readers want to hear.

No, I don’t have a girlfriend.


How about the application process? You could do a SurveyMonkey form.

Johnny pulls a strange face. I guess. I mean, I get rejected A LOT. So this; this seems a bit ambitious. Your readers can always contact me on Facebook if they want.



Ocean – yay or nay? I like it now. And Andy Hoe endorsed my campaign. So yay.

Dream job? Some sort of comedy script writer.

What would your last meal be? Well back home, Ray’s used to do really good sausages. It’s closed now because of Tesco. So yeah, Ray’s sausages. But phrase that in a non-homosexual way.

‘I really enjoyed Ray’s Sausages’? Oh, do it. I don’t care if people think I’m gay.

Personal miracle hangover cure? There are so many types of hangover it really depends. Sometimes you just need to sleep it off, sometimes a shower, sometimes a McDonalds. A lot of the time, I wake up still drunk and it’s fine.

Who was your last text from and what did it say? There’s one from Frankie, saying ‘What are you thinking of doing for the campus stuff? Shall we do a competition?!’ Nick called me a ‘sick guy’. Then there’s one saying that I have £2179.69 still waiting for me in my account, and that I should get it sent to me by texting this number. Apparently I get injured a lot. And also I have a tonne of PPI to claim.

If you were any movie character, who would you be and why? Clarence Worley from True Romance, a Tarantino film. Or the Dude from The Big Lebowski. Or Crocodile Dundee. I love Crocodile Dundee.

Snog, marry, avoid – Margaret Thatcher, Nicki Minaj, or Madonna? Or Barack Obama, Karl Marx, or all of One Direction if you prefer?

Can you have kill instead? I really don’t like One Direction. And then, Karl Marx is dead?

Yes, well I wasn’t sure if you’d have him dead or…

…or alive?! I guess I’d marry Barack Obama, snog Marx (he’s misrepresented) and then avoid/kill One Direction. And then the others: Margaret Thatcher, again also dead. I think I’d marry Madonna, snog Nicki Minaj (because she is disgusting, she only deserves a kiss. Although even that’s risky). And avoid Thatcher. 

Got a fun fact about yourself/personal claim to fame/special talent?

I have a photo of myself as a baby with Barbara Windsor holding me. I don’t know the story behind it. My special talent is that I can lick my nose.

Do it! He does. Wow, you can fully lick it too.

Yeah, girls really respond to that. And then a fun fact about myself: I’m a fully qualified sailing instructor. And my special talent is I’ve collected all the Star Wars Tazo’s.


Anything you’d like to add?

Don’t take life so seriously – it’s not like you’re getting out alive. And everything is really weird. Like social conformity. And the fact that at the top of my neck is my head, but also the whole world! And hands. Hands are weird too.




Check out Johnny’s manifesto and campaign page


Edited by Luisa Parnell