What do you get when you cross promises that Sabbs can never deliver on, with a campus that’s never cared about YUSU? Well, you get what you fucking deserve, which luckily for you, isn’t a bullet to the brain.
Some candidates have gone absolutely mad with power this year, which is odd considering how little power they have. If you sit and read some of these manifestos you’d believe they were trying to replace Idi Amin, but instead of promising not to eat until his soldiers have, you’re all going to have a Sabb team who’ll be eating your catered dinners. Just look at the actual promises. One presidential candidate is promising to “ensure all students receive a reduction in their tuition fees”, but the YUSU president has as much power over that as Gavin Williamson has over his approval ratings.
This bonfire from hell really hits it’s “white hot” stage in the activities race though, a race where candidates piled in to fill the complete lack of leadership from the previous year. We’ve got a promise for platinum card refunds (tied in with a trip to Leeds? Can I visit the armouries?), someone wants to make LinkedIn but for York students only, so no actual employability benefits, and the cream of the crop, the promise to develop bars in the city.
I want to dwell on this last one a bit, because the enforced death of York’s nightlife is a very serious issue, and the unholy alliance between the York City Council and York Press commenters are doing a very good job so far at enforcing a social curfew in which no activities can happen past 9pm, but YUSU cannot go out and start buying and managing city venues. If you wanted to make a change, YUSU could lobby the council to alter its threshold of issuing new licences to venues, which any candidate who ever attended an Ollie Martin “save York’s nightlife meeting” would know.
To the bare minimum credit I could ever give Brian Terry, I did see him at one of these, and by chatting with the actual bar and club managers and owners, you can actually try and solve this problem.
But why does it matter? I mean, we get a lot of meaningless drivel every year. This is the first time in a while nobody is banging the drum for transparency, but we’ve got the meaningless “ensure changes are student led”, and one candidate at the debate quite literally refusing to say what their policy is. If you want the bog standard purposeness of a YUSU election, we’ve still got it, but it’s being rapidly outshone by just a complete lack of understanding of what YUSU can do. Well, is that really the problem?
Former YUSU President, and now actual contributor to society Tom Scott often says “don’t attribute malice where you can incompetence” which should apply here right? But, surely these intelligent people who can do research and find out the parameters of the job could know what they’re promising is impossible. Honestly, I don’t know. I don’t know if it’s arrogance, or foolishness, or just plain not understanding, but the hard truth is, if it’s none of these, then you are being lied to directly in order to win a position of authority within a top University, and a relatively thin cheque for £20k of your hard earned government subsidy.
The solution here is allowing even greater access to student media, for them to criticise candidates and their policies. If someone is stood there offering vastly cheaper menu items, you deserve a more powerful campus media to turn around and say, taking money from a pension fund and subsidising chips is a fucking mental idea.
YUSU needs to have some faith in its media that it’s not a big personal free for all, and full of people who want to do real critical analysis of people who will hold political and financial advantages. To that extent, please out more candidate information, and give it earlier so groups can better prepare.
All that glitters isn’t gold, and whatever it is, we’re currently being invited to buy a bridge made out of it. Please don’t buy that bridge. I’m about to depart this wretched world of YUSU elections, but please see it off with some decent people. Let’s be honest though, I’m being way too serious about this, I find the whole thing very funny, and I’m tired of pretending it’s not.