Pirate wins presidency

Pirate candidate Mad Cap’n Tom Scott has won the YUSU Presidency after securing 40.3% of an unprecedented 2,986 votes. His unexpected victory has provoked an immediate backlash on campus.

Scott, who dressed and spoke like a pirate for his entire campaign, has stated that he will take on the position, despite his lack of original intent to win. “I was trying to get a quick laugh. It was never about anything. It were never about anything but comedy. I thought it be fun to try, I thought I be putting up some funny posters and getting a few laughs,” he said.

The President-elect has also confirmed that he will continue with his pirate persona throughout his one-year term. “Whenever I be on official duties matey, I be a pirate – that’s what I’ve been mandated to do,” he said.

Current YUSU President Anne-Marie Canning has endorsed Scott, saying: “I think Tom’s going to do a great job, I’m not going to lie. I think he’s got his head switched on, he’s intelligent, he’s perceptive, he knows what he’s doing… I think he’s going to be a great President.”

However Canning insisted that Scott would need to drop his pirate persona as President, saying: “He’s not going to be a pirate. 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.”

Environment and Ethics Officer Tom Langley, commenting on the Nouse coverage of Scott’s election, said: “That this was the choice of the student body tells us a lot about what many students are like: shallow, ignorant, selfish and short-sighted. I can only hope that this serves as a wake up call, and that intelligent young people realise what they’ve become.”

“I don’t think I have ever been so ashamed to be a student as I am at this time,” he added.

Laura Payne, who was defeated by Scott after the second-preference round of voting for the Presidency, echoed Langley’s view of the student body. “I don’t think this reflects well on the electorate, if I’m honest,” she said.

Scott has also been criticised for writing “this is, in the end, just student politics. It’s not important, despite what you can start believing if you stay near it too long,” in a statement released in response to the backlash.

Canning said she believed that Scott will need to change this view if he is to be the primary representative of the student union. “In saying that, he is disregarding all the hard work that we have put in this year. Student politics is definitely important,” she said in response.

Two Facebook groups condemning Scott’s victory have also been created to lobby support for his resignation.

The group ‘Petition for Mad Cap’n Tom Scott to Resign as YUSU President’ states in its group description section: “This group calls on Mad Cap’n Tom Scott to resign as YUSU President, to recognise his idea of a ‘joke’ will cost every student dear and to hold a by-election between Laura Payne and Nadeem Kunwar to instate a President committed to working for the best for the students of the University of York.”


  1. You seem to have forgotten that Mad Cap’n Tom has a support group on facebook with double the number of people then both anti groups together.

    I also take offense in being called “shallow, ignorant, selfish and short sighted”. Personally I think that can go right back at you for slagging off a democratic vote because you don’t agree with the result and being unable to look past a pirate costume which I personlly thinks goes very well.

    You have taken everything you think is bad about Tom (namely that he is a pirate) and ignored the fact that he is a good guy and he does actually have qualifications.

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  2. Being a “good guy” does not necessarily mean they are going to be a “good president”. Additionally the very fact he is dressed in a pirate-outfit is a novelty and thus he must expect coverage on that basis.

    The reason I called for his resignation at first, was because I was under the impression [rightly so] that he did not want the job and thus would resign anyway. Since his own mind has changed since this position, I think people should [grudgingly] accept that we have a pirate as President, scrutinise him, criticise when necessary and applaud when deserving whilst still iterating our concerns as aired many times previously on the group walls regarding credibility, representation, intention and the precedents created by Tom Scott’s election.

    Being elected on such a controversial platform and in such an unprecedented fashion means he is going to get all sorts of publicity. This is part and parcel of the position which he holds.

    Well written Henry!

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  3. Indeed, Tom has 5 years at this uni and a degree to his name…far more experience and qualification than most people who’ve applied for the job in the past have had I’m betting

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  4. Like Louise, I think that Langley’s comment is offensive – “shallow, ignorant, selfish and short-sighted”? Tom Scott was voted for by people who definitely do not fit that particular description. Whatever reasons that made people vote for him, he deserves a chance, and it may be interesting.

    If he were not a viable candidate at all, nobody would have voted for him. Plus, despite my tendency of taking student politics (or, any politics) seriously, being a feminist, I still think that student politics shouldn’t be taken *too* seriously.

    Dan Taylor’s denouncing is just the cry of a tory boy who doesn’t like it when things don’t go his way (as usual). You seem to have forgotten that the against group was set up by Taylor, which means it does lose a (large amount) of credibility. The group supporting Scott has the largest number of supporters I have seen on a facebook group so far this term.

    Scott hasn’t even had a chance yet, so I think it quite ridiculous that people are *already* ‘no-confidencing’ him (this seems to be a buzz word with Taylor).

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  5. Liz, why don’t you read my post above before you respond to what you think I said rather than what I actually said.

    “The reason I called for his resignation at first, was because I was under the impression [rightly so] that he did not want the job”.

    I have come to accept that we have to make the most of a situation that I and others do not think is positive for the Uni, for reasons iterated many times. There were certainly never any plans to no-confidence Tom Scott on my part. It is purely a figment of your imagination and once more, what you seem to think I said rather than what I actually said.

    Just as an aside, I do think we should get away from this idea of Tom being a ‘nice guy’ though. I’m sure he is and I am sure that he would be fantastic to go for a drink with, however this has absolutely nothing to do with whether or not he is going to be a good president. People should stop linking the two ideas together because they have absolutely nothing to do with each other!

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  6. i dont really agree with dan taylor on an awful lot but he makes his points very well i think.

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  7. 17 Mar ’08 at 3:17 am

    James MacDougald


    Please take a moment to reflect on how damaging it is to the credibility of your arguments that you try to goad your opponent by calling him a ‘Tory boy’. Party politics are extraneous to this matter. ‘Tory’ is not an insult. Leave it out. Leave it all out.

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  8. 17 Mar ’08 at 1:12 pm



    May I refer you to the comment piece by your very own editor:


    Now, what did you say again?

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  9. The issue of Tom Scott has transcended party-political lines more than any other political issue on campus in the last two years. This article quotes Tom Langley- the only Respect-party member on campus [I believe] and his views and concerns are in line with those of my own. I am most certainly not a member of the Respect party and Tom Langley and I rarely [if ever] agree on anything.

    The same goes with many, many others in the groups. In fact, some of the York Tories love Tom Scott’s election because it arguably portrays YUSU in ther light it perhaps should be held in, that being a joke. I have sympathy with this idea but I think it looks bad for our university as well and that, for me, is what is important.

    My point is that this has nothing to do with party-politics and the examples above are proof in theselves that this is indeed the case. Tom Scott’s election has divided the left and right on campus, the former in terms of welfare implication and the latter in terms of how YUSU is/should be seen by students, to give two examples.

    I find it impossible to see any relation between party-politics and the support/opposition to the situation of having a pirate president and all this entails as iterated in earlier rhetoric and on the respective facebook walls.

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  10. 17 Mar ’08 at 3:23 pm

    James MacDougald

    Thanks for this. Perhaps you didn’t make it to the end of the article, where Raf concludes that YUSU elections are not as party-political as once they were – with two exceptions: NUS Referendum and Hackwood no-confidence. Now look at the title of this article: Pirate wins Presidency. Why would ‘Tory Boy’ Dan Taylor be concerned for the future of our student union – an institution that is inherently left-leaning? Clearly, this particular issue has nothing to do with the traditional red-blue divide.

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  11. The most famous Yorkie: dirtyboy2.blogspot.com for president!

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  12. Why was Laura Payne not elected? Simple. She didn’t get enough votes. That’s called democracy, Tom, Laura. If you guys can’t put together a “Get Out The Vote” organization good enough to beat a Pirate then neither of you deserve to be elected.

    I wish Mr. Scott every success. Many years ago we had Nigel Ffouks in Southampton University, who ended up running for the Father Christmas Party and raising a lot of money for charity. While not liked by certain “insiders” he probably did more good than the various other Presidents either side combined.

    May Scott’s Presidency be rated “RRRRRRRRRR” for Responsible, Reasonable and Rather fun! I am sure it will be.

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  13. It isn’t fair to call Dan Taylor a ‘Tory Boy’. Firstly because he does have a right to hold and voice his opinions without being labelled (although in a moment of understandable weakness I did call him an ‘opinionated tit’ in a Nouse comment the other day. I’m sure many of you understand). Secondly because I think there are a huge amount of Tories that would understandably distance themselves from not only his (often extreme and unfounded) political views, but most importantly his style of politics.

    I reiterate my belief that, whatever his campaign was like, it is irresponsible, judgemental, and unfair to call for his resignation before he’s actually been able to do anything as president. Further to this, people shouldn’t ‘grudgingly’ or ‘reluctantly’ accept his appointment. Again, he hasn’t actually done anything yet.

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  14. 27 Mar ’08 at 11:56 pm

    Point of Information

    Dan Taylor isn’t actually a member of the York Tories.

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  15. 1 Apr ’08 at 1:00 am

    Point of Information 2

    And he hasn’t been since running for chairman in his first year, getting no votes and spitting his dummy out as a result.

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  16. What absolute bollocks. I did not run for Chairman of the Tories- I ran for Events against Mr. Kerridge-Phipps and lost by 4 votes. I really wonder what stone you turn these ‘points of information’ out from under. Idiot.

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  17. Surfing to this blog from the ‘Derwent Arson’ story, I cannot believe that just because the two YUSU-endorsed candidates didn’t win, some people felt they had a right to belittle the student body and try to impose their thinking on them.
    Would you release a statement in the national paper saying, for instance, that everyone who voted for, say, Tony Blair is “shallow, ignorant, selfish and short sighted” just because you didn’t vote for him?
    It’s people like Langley and Payne who the students DON’T want elected to positions, because they only want to work for the students if the students don’t disagree with them, and I’m glad that for once, what some arrogant, selfish people thought was a dead certain CV-building year for them didn’t come through.
    Good luck to Tom, I’m sure he’ll do a much better job than anyone else we could have picked.

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