Mad Cap’n Tom Scott could be a competent President

Take off the hat Scott, because it wasn’t your comedy alter ego that won this, it was the belief that you care and will work hard to deliver

There is no disputing that Mad Cap’n Tom Scott was a joke candidate. But he is now a democratically elected joke, and by the biggest turnout any student union in the country has ever seen. Regardless of the many who were moved to vote by the credibility of Nadeem Kunwar’s YUSU experience, or by Laura Payne’s campaigning successes, it was Mad Cap’n Scott who maintained the mass interest of the electorate. A man with an oversized hat and a comedy pirate voice held the affection and disdain of the students.

At the PEP presidential debate it was suggested to the Cap’n that it looked like he could win. He laughed, we laughed; hilarity was sure to ensue. But suddenly, he exhibited a shrewd aptitude for policy decisions and, most importantly, a lot common sense. My problem with Mad Cap’n Scott is not that I think he will fail us, or horrendously embarrass us, on the contrary; I think he is hugely competent. It is that I cannot believe he is really joking.

On the record we have a candidate who insists that he “ran for comedy” until the very last minute and who has, in his “brief explanatory note from the guy behind the eye-patch”, underlined the broad unimportance of student politics. In reality we have someone who cannot stop himself from caring. He has already run for a serious YUSU position, Societies and Communications, and this time round he had every opportunity to keep up the comedy act. Why did he not yo ho his way through the debate? Why will he not swashbuckle into YUSU and tear it apart from the inside? And at the last minute, why didn’t he simply turn down the position?

The fact is, Tom Scott has a responsibility to the students, and by taking the job he has pledged to represent us as best he can. The only reason he would take the presidency is if he believed he could do a decent job. The Mad Cap’n may have been a spoiled ballot paper for many, but a portion of the student population really believed in him. With such a diligent and well-executed campaign, even his scurvy crew must see he could do YUSU some good.

Going into the position with the acute awareness that students are so disenfranchised from YUSU that they voted for a fancy-dressed nobody can only serve to push him into a fresh approach to student politics. Tom Scott doesn’t consider campus politics unimportant, otherwise he wouldn’t have felt the need to make such a point for outsiders. This is a victory for all non-YUSU climbers. So many students feel ostracised from their Union and now, whether he likes it or not, it has fallen to Scott to do them justice.

The Mad Cap’n is right that we should maintain some perspective, those who get too obsessed with university politics have fallen prey to the campus bubble. But YUSU is not credited for half of what it does and the president has substantial affect on the running of it.

So as old-hats at No-Confidence campaigns rub their hands with glee it is up to us to give our Cap’n some support. “It was the will of the students” when Grace was voted out, to quote many of the anti-Grace brigade, and similarly it is the will of the students that Scott be our President. To claim otherwise is double standards. The students have truly been seduced by Scott’s promises of frivolity and adventure and that is a resounding statement against stale unaccountable student union politics. Unless the Cap’n shows a little belief in himself, and the rest of the students begin to see what he’s capable of, the campus politic’s vigilantes will take him down.

So take off the hat Scott, because it wasn’t your comedy alter ego that won this, it was the belief that you care and will work hard to deliver.

12 comments

  1. I’m not on Facebook, but I hear that a group calling for his resignation has been set up already. How ridiculous! You’ve got to give him a chance. Although the campaign was a joke, he seems like a perfectly intelligent and decent guy. Furthermore, he even engaged with the students; something which most people associated with YUSU have completely failed to do in the past.

    I reckon he’s a dark horse for the most serious and useful YUSU president in the three years I’ve been here.

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  2. Lily, liking democracy as an idea and way of gaining representation is somewhat different from liking its consequences. I think this must be carefully considered when making comments as you have done such as:

    “It was the will of the students when Grace was voted out, to quote many of the anti-Grace brigade, and similarly it is the will of the students that Scott be our President. To claim otherwise is double standards.”

    The democratic process [obviously] does not always go our way as we as individuals would like it to. I can a accept that but equally, you must recognise the views of some students who have concerns regarding the consequences of Tom Scott’s election. That to is part of the demicratic process, however unreasonable you may feel that cause to be [in this case thinking the Cap’n should carefully consider his position].

    Just as a factual correction, there were never any plans to no-confidence Tom Scott and I object to that assertion. You will see in one of the group discussion topics, that I posted a piece on ‘next steps’ and completely and utterly rejected the no-confidence route simply because he has done nothing wrong!

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  3. “You will see in one of the group discussion topics, that I posted a piece on ‘next steps’ and completely and utterly rejected the no-confidence route simply because he has done nothing wrong!”

    Well I did check that and it’s pretty obvious that you’re being disingenuous. In your ‘next steps’ discussion you identified no-confidencing as a fourth option and it was someone else who stated that this was ridiculous because Tom had done nothing wrong. Several people then backed this up. I’m glad that you’ve changed your position but don’t pretend that you did it unprompted or didn’t do it at all.

    Also, I don’t think Lily (or anyone) would dispute that it is part of the democratic process for people to air their concerns, but it goes beyond that to call for Tom’s immediate removal, either by no-confidencing him or by putting pressure on him to resign. Since he hasn’t taken office yet, you had nothing to react to other than the fact that he won the election; democracy itself. And objecting to democracy itself and calling for the subversion of the results of a democratic election (without evidence of wrongdoing or proven incompetence) is quite obviously anti-democratic.

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  4. David: To completely discredit what you said I shall cc&p the extract from that discussion-board topic.

    “4) No-Confidence- A real last resort. I am NOT in favour of such a move yet. However if our worst fears are confirmed and his pirate act has a detrimental effect on our ability to be represented at various levels, then this must be initiated. However this would prevent anyone else coming into the position and this is not always a popular move.”

    In summary, I in no way favoured a no-confidence motion unless the Mad Cap’n did something so serious it warrented on [like hitting a student]. To say anything else is quite frankly utter bollocks, as you can see from the previous paragraph.

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  5. 17 Mar ’08 at 3:01 am

    James MacDougald

    Dan –

    You’ve certainly come a long way since the Hackwood no-confidence debacle…remember saying this? –

    “I am afraid, for all those who do not like it, that this is democracy in action. Amazing how it’s biggest supporters hate it when it does not go their way eh?” (comment thread from Henry’s article ‘Hackwood ousted by 8 votes’)

    Presumably, you understand now that when we whinged about Grace’s removal, all those weeks ago, it was not because we hated democracy.

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  6. Dan: Yes, in fact I had read the whole paragraph but I don’t think it discredits what I said since I didn’t accuse you of explicitly calling for a no-confidence, rather I suggested you were being disingenuous in saying that there were never any plans for it at all. Identifying something as an option signals some support of it as an idea, if you had not been in favour of this at all you would have said that it was not an option or not even brought it up. Clearly the idea was being thrown about and considered in your group and people who say that there was talk of no-confidencing did not pluck this from thin air as you seem to suggest.

    A more natural reading of your statement that you were only in favour of this as a last resort would be that you would resort to this if other methods of removal failed, not that you would only do this if Tom Scott did something outrageous. In fact if the paragraph you quoted really does assert no more than “Tom Scott should be no-confidenced if he does something really serious” then I’m afraid the apt response is “No shit, Sherlock”. The same could be asserted about any of the elected YUSU officials, hence I feel that by only bringing this up in the anti-Tom group you were stating more than you now claim to be.

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  7. David; I am afraid that you are looking for something that was simply not there. I never [personally] had any intention of no-confidencing Tom Scott. I think that is suitably supported by the extract on the discussion-board topic.

    If people other than myself were throwing this around, then I too accept that that is silly, but I cannot speak on their behalf and they have every entitlement to that view, even thought it seems utterly ridiculous.

    The reason the group was titled for Tom to ‘resign’ was[is] because I was under the impression [rightly so] that he said he did not want the position and his resignation seemed to be immenant. However as he has since revised his position, I am not going to be the one doing the ‘pushing’. If he now feels that he can do the job and will take it seriously, we must all [reluctantly] accept this. However, this does not mean that he will receive special treatment and as a public figure we will use the group to scrutinse Tom, make suggestions, criticise and compliment when necessary and perhaps draw up UGM motions mandating the president on certain matters.

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  8. It’s The Dan Taylor Show, with your host, Dan Taylor! This week on the Dan Taylor show, Dan Taylor will take any opportunity to turn a completely non-Dan Taylor-related matter into a new Dan-Taylor-episode in his on-going quest to make everything focus on Dan Taylor!
    Dan Taylor!

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  9. 18 Mar ’08 at 1:24 am

    Curzon Factor

    Algernon, wasn’t that last week’s show? I’m getting tired of it. Can’t it be taken off air permanently by popular demand? I’d rather watch Channel Four’s 100 Greatest Types of Laminate Flooring, presented by Jamie Theakston.

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  10. Matt Damon. :-p

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  11. Well, if this guy is serious about managing the responsibilities of the office, I don’t see any problem with letting him serve out the term. The idea of a “pirate” candidate or president is still pretty funny though.

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  12. How is it in any way ‘funny’?! Have you no sense of humour?!

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