Monday 3rd March – Mad Captain? I think not…
Harold Wilson’s oft-quoted observation, ‘a week is a long time in politics’, must seem awfully pertinent to Laura Payne and Nadeem Kunwar. Seven days ago, prior to hustings, the race for President was billed as the battle between the efficient Womens Officer and the conservative Entertainment Officer. And apparently, some joker in a pirate costume was running for a laugh. My guess is that he’s the only one still laughing.
Clinging to doubtful poll results – while Nouse found a small lead for Payne, a more recent Yorker poll claims a slight Kunwar advantage – the previously thought of front-runners now find themselves lacking momentum and innovative campaign plans. While Kunwar’s Obama tactic is ambitious to say the least, and Payne’s Bridges, Bars and Buses is overplayed and old, Scott’s novel fortnight-long publicity stunt is getting inside the student conciousness. ‘Let’s get out of here,’ remarked a pensive-looking Kunwar, nervously eyeing up the latest pirate invasion of Vanbrugh Paradise this afternoon. Scott certainly isn’t going anywhere.
At the Club of PEP debate last Thursday, one line from Scott told it all. Having spent most of the debate regurgitating his amusing and satirical hustings speech, Scott allowed himself a moment of seriousness. “I wish I could go back and change some of the things I put on my nomination form,” he offered. Two became three.
Yet this is race is far from over. Kunwar and Payne still have their fans. The die-hard campaigners and trusty group of social contacts will not leave their side to vote for what is, in effect, a novelty candidate. They have good, solid policies – something that Scott is yet to convince me of – and, as far as traditional campaigning goes, are doing a fine job. But must be troubling them is the huge group of students who normally chose to stay out of student politics, but might relish the chance to use their vote for an enthusiastic, straight-talking outsider who is set to throw the dour YUSU stereotypes out of the window.
The question may not be whether a joke candidate can storm the YUSU Presidency, but whether a serious candidate is masking his intentions under the skull and crossbones and a silver cutlass. ‘Oh, he’s serious,’ remarked Kunwar today, and it looks like he’s probably right.
Monday 28th January – The week in Nouse
So then, what have we learnt from a week of news? A tale of two crimes, and two potential punishments. Cheat in an exam and face a sentence in jail, punch a student and face a vote of no confidence – take your pick. I know which one I’d choose if I had 250 friends that I could convice to turn up and show their support. Having said that, give me £20,000 and I’d probably be stupid enough to risk a career pretending to be a Azerbijiani who obviously hadn’t spent his reading weeks deep in economics textbooks.
I tell you who might actually need that £20,000, actually – the unlucky Goodricke freshers with expectations of brand new, asbestos-free accomodation that may well be shattered when the bill arrives. But then again the university is probably just short of funds, what with all those cuts to the library budget and the sackloads of cash coming in from irreputable Arms companies. I’m sure it all adds up on someone’s abacus. Perhaps the Uni could take a leaf out of the CU’s book – they seem to be doing ok.
Esteemed Pres. Canning, however, has learnt that if you want cash from the Uni you just have to put your foot down – securing thousands of pounds for the students who need it most. We wait and see whether these same tactics, this time flanked by YUSU heavies Burton and Bayley, worked with the hardnosed FTR execs. Town for a pound? A pound of flesh perhaps. If it works, DramaSoc may well be giving Canning a call if the NSDF funding doesn’t get reinstated, but be warned – overwork her and the rest of the YUSU Sabbs and their external consultant may well put them all on medical leave for stress.