The End of The University : Part I

November 19, 2012

A few days back saw the launch of the Council for the Defence of British Universities. A pretty impressive list of luminaries are behind it, including some you would have expected – like Alan Bennett and  Richard Dawkins – and some you might not have – like John Cadogan and William Waldegrave.

Many people feel that academic values have been under persistent attack since the Thatcher era. Why the new feeling of crisis? Its not just the fees thing, or we Scots would be complacent. Its not just the “impact” thing – its pretty understandable and even good that we should feel some pressure to be relevant to UK PLC. No, its the student as customer thing. Take a look at the Browne report   – it really is quite scary. Stefan Collini’s LRB article  explains it all very well. Then if you want to be really frightened, look at the happy smiling faces at the Key Information Sets website   or the official KIS info at the unistats web site.

From now on, you see, student choice will magically drive up quality as long as we collect and publish information on how many toilets the library has and so forth. No need for the state to do anything!  All we need to do is give the seventeen year old kids some money, and let them spend it on the universities they reckon are best! Mmm.. sorry, whats that? How can they do that before they have any experience of what university education is actually like? Well, thats what the Key Information Sets are for!

Sorted.


Hope glimmers on the horizon

November 7, 2012

This will be a quick postette because I have eleven simultaneous deadlines and I am already late for most of them…

I trust most of my readers are smiling because of the good news from the US election. But its even better than you might think : it could be good news if you are a sane conservative, as well as if you are a warm hearted Liberal. Well, this may in fact be obvious, in that, as several of my American chums have pointed out, if you look at Obama’s policies he is actually pretty middle of the road. Eisenhower Republican? Is that the term I am looking for?

No, what I mean is that the crisis facing American conservatism may be lurching to a conclusion. As many commentators stressed today, that may be demographically unavoidable because African Americans and Hispanic Americans just don’t vote Republican. But much more fun, the Tea Party are going even more nuts than normal. Here is their reaction . I quote :

The new America has been built on the backs of takers, that is, those who take the entitlements but, do not produce. The Takers won tonight.

However, the Takers didn’t act alone. The question is: if the republicans cannot beat Obama after all of his crimes, fraud and treachery then the Republican Party does not deserve to exist and must be dealt with

OK. So what we need is a two-pronged attack :

  • We must bypass the lame stream media with truthful and accurate information.
  • We must tell the republican elephant party they have proven themselves useless and therefore must get out of our way.

Yes ! If they exit the Republican Party, we lose the fascist nutters, and get back to good old fashioned patrician bastards. Much better.