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.