Mad Cap’n Tom Scott, who was elected YUSU President after a fortnight-long campaign dressed as a pirate, has admitted that he will not stay in pirate character for the duration of his presidency.
“I’ve got to be realistic, I’ve got to be pragmatic. For official business it has got to be a suit. I know that some people are going to be annoyed about that, but some are going to be relieved,” Scott acknowledged.
“When you start running for elections, you sign a piece of paper that says if you are elected, you will become a trustee of the Students’ Union. One of the side-effects of that is that I am required, legally, to act in the best interests of the Students’ Union, at all times. And sadly, that doesn’t include wearing a pirate outfit when I talk to Brian Cantor,” said the president-elect, who begins duties next month.
His admission echoes the thoughts of current President Anne-Marie Canning, who, after his election stated: “He’s going to have to accept that he can’t be a pirate for the rest of the year. It’s not going to happen.”
Scott, who stated his intentions to dress as a pirate throughout his term immediately after his election, confirmed that he would return to the persona on some occasions. “It’s going to be some kind of sliding scale. For the Freshers’ talk, certainly, I am going to be in full pirate mode, at least at the start. If I don’t run down the stairs of Central Hall with the theme tune to Pirates of the Caribbean playing, then something has gone wrong.”
He added that in the YUSU office he would try to mix pragmatism with piracy: “It’s amazing how well a pirate hat goes with a suit. I suspect I will be somewhere in between.”
Nadeem Kunwar, who was defeated by Scott in the election, said: “I think it’s good that he has realised the pirate thing won’t reflect well on the union. I’m glad that he has realised the University shouldn’t be made a laughing stock.”
“He ran on a gimmick, he won. I think most people will be happy that he has dropped the act,” Kunwar added.
Scott was elected after the highest turnout in the country for a student union election, having captured campus interest by dressing and talking like a pirate and amassing a large following of similarly uniformed campaigners.
His election was met with an immediate backlash from those who felt students had not realised the seriousness of the vote, and its potential implications. During his campaign, Scott had stated that he felt student politics was unimportant.
After the result, then Environment and Ethics Officer Tom Langley labelled the electorate “shallow, ignorant selfish and short sighted,” and said: “I don’t think I have ever been so ashamed to be a student as I am at this time.”
Having spent a month shadowing Canning, Scott claims to have changed his view of campus politics.
“It’s easy to get disillusioned by student politics, because a lot of the things that go on seem so small and petty. But once you get in there and realise that there are all these people and all these committees involved, it is a massive undertaking to run all this,” he said.
“The squabbling about who gets in power and who has this little bit over here or that little bit over there, I’m still disillusioned with. I think everyone is. But the process itself needs to happen, there needs to be people to do it,” Scott added.