In-fighting has swept through the ‘No’ side in the Working Class and Social Mobility Officer debate. A coup against their now-former leader, as well as planned infiltration of their opposing side, were both on the agenda in yesterday’s discussions.
The referendum vote on whether YUSU should adopt the role is due to take place on Friday 10 November. Former leader of the ‘No’ campaign, Jack Worrall, has resigned in protest against plans made by his campaigners to “spy” on the ‘Yes’ campaign via social media.
A member of the ‘No’ campaign group on Facebook Messenger asked: “Is anyone relatively unknown to [a ‘Yes’ campaigner] able to join [their] group?” Another member claimed this would be to “see what they’re up to”.
Worrall then informed the Yes campaign of this plan, in a bid to sabotage it pre-emptively. He told his campaigners: “No dirty tricks, we don’t break rules, we don’t spy, we don’t do that.”
Responding to criticism that he saw himself as “autonomous” from the group and did not take others’ views into account, Worrall cited the evidence of his previous five YUSU campaign victory wins, and that he was one of only two people in the group to have any experience with how they were run or won.
As the dissent continued, Worrall, who had been against the motion to create a Working Class and Social Mobility officer from the point it was announced, providing feedback for YUSU’s Term 3 policy consultation calling it a “flawed motion”, left the messenger group. His replacement was appointed immediately. Although he was later re-added, Worrall had already informed YUSU that he was stepping down as campaign leader.
He has now also proceeded to distance himself from the ‘No’ group, not merely resigning as leader but leaving the campaign entirely after messages in the chat stating that Worrall “threw [his] rattle out of the pram” after the group were warned of a potential media backlash.
Connor Drake, one of the two campaign coordinators for the ‘Yes’ side, gave this comment:
“While I don’t know much of the story behind the resignation of Jack Worrall as the co-coordinator of the ‘No’ campaign, I think it’s a great shame that such an experienced campaigner has felt the need to step back from the cause. That being said, Michaela Tharby and I will carry on campaigning in a fair manner and we hope to see a good attendance at the debate next week, in order to push for a strong “yes” vote.”
Tharby also added, “When there is such a clear and vital need for an officer to fight for working class students, it’s no wonder that the opposition ends up being a fringe of right wing students trapped in a bubble of privilege. Class Exists. Low income students at York exist, and we need an officer to represent us in YUSU and fight for our causes.”
Worrall provided the following statement to Nouse:
“As it was made clear in the chat and in my conversations with the ‘Yes’ campaign, I don’t condone any dirty tricks, any tactics and because of this I am no longer a part of the campaign for the ‘No’ side. I pride myself on never being involved in any of that sort of campaigning.
“I wish to see this motion shot down as I feel it is fundamentally bad. We have the best arguments, we should be using our limited time to shout them from the roof tops and not on dirty tricks and the fact that this campaign seems to be hell bent on using those tactics is disgraceful.
“I implore everyone to vote against the motion but I condemn the people and the way the ‘No’ campaign is acting.”
The ‘No’ campaign refused to provide further comment.