Joke candidates should not be discounted

‘Joke’ candidates enliven an election process, and are a vital component of a vital and engaged student election

York needs a moon base.” Given we’ve already got more ugly, concentrate structures than most municipal building sites, I suspect a moon base would hardly look out of place. But why, exactly?

This election sees more candidates standing than in the past five years. Fifty-four candidates are running in the YUSU election. Seventeen are going for full-time, sabbatical officer positions, and just under half of that number are going for President itself. Of those two or three are apparently ‘joke’ candidates.

Last year there were no overtly ‘joke’ candidates. Most took themselves and their candidacy with such ponderous seriousness – “hopeless unimaginative boring rather dull” according to one commenter – they were all rendered utterly
comical. Thanks to the lack of excitement generated by such candidates student participation was limited, demonstrated through a majority being reached only upon the fifth round of vote distribution. And to a man who is commonly acknowledged to be even greyer than central hall (before the refurb.)

The addition of candidates like Ahmmed or Stuart Taylor adds vibrancy and interest to a race that can often become more about sounding right than being right. Both Hernando and Taylor have released sensible manifestos. But I bet you
haven’t read either of theirs, have you? Most people have taken a look at Carney’s rambling poem, or Ahmmed’s short declaration of affection for NASA, or Stuart Taylor’s censored manifesto. ‘Joke’ candidates stimulate debate, and enliven a process that can become hijacked by petty politics and campus clout.

Just because they are viewed as a joke also doesn’t mean they can’t win. We are the university who elected a pirate into the Presidency after all. Even ‘joke’ candidates can make a sensible point or two. Stuart Taylor’s idea to extend
nightline should be taken seriously by a campus that has seen mental illness continue to rise as part of a national trend.

The participation of candidates such as Ahmmed, Stuart Taylor, and maybe Carney, should be celebrated. We’re students and we shouldn’t take ourselves too seriously. The position of President is too important not to be treated with a small amount of levity.

5 comments

  1. 16 Feb ’12 at 11:22 am

    Slow Nouse Week...

    Also Stuart Taylor? Surely just use his last name Taylor or Tom Taylor – whats with the middle name hype?

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  2. 16 Feb ’12 at 1:41 pm

    Campus Junkie

    This is bang on the money.

    Dave Hansen is the best example of a joke candidate (see YSTV) and he got people engaged in elections.

    In some cases joke candidates aren’t a great idea mind… (Tom Scott anyone…)

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  3. Probably because there are two Taylors running and using his middle name is a good way of differentiation. No-one else is given a first name.

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  4. Surely the point of Nightline is that it is open at Night when all the other welfare services are unavailable. Rather then doubling the hours their volunteers put in every term (12hours a night, seven days a week, ten weeks a term = 840 plus whatever training and stuff they do) T.S. Taylor could work on the effectiveness of The Open Door Team, Chaplaincy, Welfare Reps and the like?

    Rose Troup-Buchanan or someone else on the Nouse team may want to consider an article highlighting the plethora of welfare options available rather then making volunteers efforts seem lack lustre.

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  5. I am a joke

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