Comment YUSU Elections 2018

Tom Scott was careful, but right: money and politics shouldn't mix

Originally when I heard that a candidate had faced disqualification for their pledge to give their salary to more needy clubs and societies...

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Originally when I heard that a candidate had faced disqualification for their pledge to give their salary to more needy clubs and societies I couldn't understand why something that so beneficial to the union had been prevented. The majority of students are involved with a society or activity and the promise of more money for them is clearly enticing. However, taking a closer look, one can understand why a seemingly generous policy actually undermines the whole system of student elections and why Tom Scott was justified in his decision to prevent Bushby making this particular pledge.

This policy places him at a significant advantage above other candidates. Most students are not lucky enough to be supported financially to this extent by their families and the other three presidency candidates may not be able to make a similar pledge. Everybody needs to be on an equal playing field so students can decide who will best represent them, rather than who can contribute the most money to the union.

Having the means to pledge a large amount of money does not necessarily make a good President and while most understand this, students may be persuaded to vote in a particular way when looking at the fairly evenly matched candidates.

Although Bushby may have had the best intentions when making this pledge, the use of money to sway voters can be interpreted as a form of social bribery because the policy can be seen as a way of buying votes. If Bushby had announced this in his victory speech, should he have been elected, then this would have been much more admirable. At the moment, he now sees his motives being questioned due to the level of publicity he is receiving.

Bushby is no longer campaigning on the issue so that he can still run for the position of President; however the policy has led to a huge amount of debate in the excitement of election time. A higher level of financial backing is not the only possible advantage candidates may have over one another and there is considerable debate over what should be allowed to make the election fair. Scott may have come to the right verdict this time by disallowing Bushby's pledge but surely this will not be the only tough decision he will have to make in the course of the election.

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