Have you ever seen such an insipid bunch of losers in your entire life? Even the joke candidate is the least funny I’ve seen, and I was around for that idiot who dressed up as a crab. If you can tell the esteemed presidential candidates apart, either by their appearance or by their policies, you’re more astute than I am.
Student politics is something which should engage us, but actually ends up being the part of uni we are the least engaged in, because we see them all as idiot careerists. We watch their slow, irrelevant climb from JCRC member to College Chair to Sabbatical Officer, and look on as they promise changes they won’t effect or small changes that won’t affect us.
Sam Maguire is a lovely guy, and has fantastic intentions and ideas as a President. However, if you went around asking people outside the Library and in Courtyard what he has actually done so far as President, you probably wouldn’t get an answer, except perhaps the Lad Culture campaign, which took until Week 7 of Term 2 to come into effect—and didn’t even include the Women’s Officers or FemSoc until he was reminded. This is because the presidential candidates presumably don’t know what they can and cannot do until they come into power, and find out that they don’t actually have the money or the permission to build that brand new bar or bring in Britney Spears as the Chancellor.
We don’t care what the Presidents do, as we never see them do much, and this crop are no different. At the debate, when they were asked questions, they all gave exactly the same answers (check our liveblog for proof of this!). They keep calling for more shops and study space on Hes East—but this isn’t really up to the presidents and when it took three years to get a bloody cash point, do we really expect one of these wet blankets to persuade the Uni to build more student-related stuff there in a single year? When each president leaves after their term, their agenda and work leaves with them as the new person comes in with fresh ideas to be squashed. They’re also working with (or against, depending on who in YUSU you speak to) a University which isn’t focused on students, but on the swanky researchers, lecturers and public figures they bring in. That’s why, instead of making adequate library space for our expanding University population (and with every new student comes in tens of thousands of pounds for the Uni) they are focusing on building a hotel and a shopping centre on Hes East. It’s why they laugh at the Living Wage and openly admit to ‘not understanding student politics’—it’s not on their agenda. So we can’t really blame the candidates for not doing much.
So, I’m not voting for this boring lot, as it’s just more of the same and I can’t bring myself to care. Here, though, is what I WOULD vote for. Someone who was candid about the fact that doing anything with YUSU and the University takes a lot of effort and work, probably more than anyone can achieve in the year. Someone who wanted to lay groundwork for future presidents to work on and who had long-term plans instead of short-term ones and someone who wanted to revolutionise student politics by fighting against insipid cardboard slogans and gimmick policies, which just patronise us. Someone who spoke to students, asked them what they wanted, and brought THOSE policies to YUSU, and didn’t just say what they thought would get them elected.
This is by no means an attack on the candidates; this system of career politicians and bright-eyed revolutionaries having their dreams shawt on from a great height—compare, for example, Kallum Taylor’s first ever YUSU blog post to his last—has been going on for a long time, and until it ends, student politics at York will always be a laughing stock.