Friday, June 05, 2009

Sweet and sour

After Sugar comes this.

The Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills has been merged with the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform.

Together they will form a new Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, whose key role will be to build Britain’s capabilities to compete in the global economy. The new department will be headed by Business Secretary Lord Mandelson.

So that's what they think universities are for is it? To be the servants of business. And, what is more, to be administered by a government department that has neither the word 'university' nor 'education' in its title, headed by an unelected politician whose presence hardly reflects a renewal of ethical standards in a disgraced Parliament.

And where have all the dreamers gone? Where are those who love learning, who value it for what it is, regardless of its economic purpose? Where are the believers in education as a force for nurturing imagination and artistic expression, from The Pitmen Painters to El Sistema (now also being piloted in Scotland)? And where are those, deeply rooted in the labour movement, who saw education as not only a tool of individual enlightenment, but also as a force for collective liberation? Not in today's Labour government, that's for sure.

A Labour government. Really? From where I sit now, it seems that any resemblance to a Labour government, living or dead, is purely coincidental. I am revising my opinions, Norm could be right. It might be time.


Rabelais said...

When something you wished for so much lets you down you just want to kick it to death...

And now this...

The universities minister, John Denham, has blamed poor teaching for an increase in the percentage of students not completing their degrees.

In a letter to the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE), Denham said: ‘No doubt there will be a number of factors to explain why certain institutions have particularly low retention rates. However, it seems likely that the quality of teaching and the student experience will be important components.’

I fucking despair.

And according to the Daily Mail Mr Denham has warned that institutions with high drop- out rates would in future be ‘named and shamed’.

Well at least that might draw attention away from MPs’ expenses scandal…

Still, no matter how bad student retention rates, it’s nothing to the current cabinet’s retention of ministers.

GO NOW and I hope the door slaps 'em in the arse on the way out.

The Plump said...

Though the only trouble, Rabelais, is what we will get in their place. Thick, loathsome Etonians putting a glossy sheen over a rabble of fundamentalist Thatcherites. Oh bugger...

Come back the Labour Party all is forgiven.

Anonymous said...

Are ALL Etonians both loathsome and thick, or either loathsome or thick or does the Plump have particular Etonians in mind?

If removed from Eton and sent elsewhere, may they be redeemed?

Were they like that before going to Eton? Is it genetic?

I think that the Plump line on Etonians must be made clear for the sake of posterity.

The Plump said...

It is perfectly obvious that I am referring to the Conservative leadership. Nurtured in privilege, they are irredeemable.

Unsurprisingly, there are no Etonians in my social circle, so I am not in a position to make a general judgement - prejudice is another matter. George Orwell was an Etonian so there are some exceptions.

As for posterity, I don't think it will bother much about the views of a fat bloke in Hull. My more general point is that the lack of ability of the political class doesn't promise much in the way of democratic renewal.

And Eton itself? It would make a marvellous residential adult education college - it is currently wasted on the posh.

Anonymous said...

Hmmm. The Blues don't seem very moody these days.

On the plus side, Lord Vader is likely to do absolutely nothing to/with universities. Which would be better than what we've had so far.

mikeovswinton said...

Re your volte-face in the face of Prof Norm's writings - do you remember the sketch on the Fast Show where the guy in the pub ("Dave") changed his mind on every issue on the basis of the views put to him by a couple of mates who had divergent opinions?
BTW I'll leave you to work out the fairly obvious problem with his latest respeonse to Shuggy,(cloue - its to do with the Daily Telegraph) while I try to see if there is link to a Youtube of the Fast Show sketch.

mikeovswinton said...

Can't do links, but type in "Fast Show - Indecisive Dave". Think of Paul Whitehouse as You, Simon Day and Mark Williams as Norm and Shuggy, and pretend they are talking about whether Labour should go now instead of German and Swedish cars. I can't quite work out what John Thomson corresponds to. Anyway, its funny even if it doesn't translate. Norman Geras in the Fast Show? Niiiiice. (Put in Fast Show Jazz Club........)

Will said...

Q: "Are ALL Etonians both loathsome and thick, or either loathsome or thick or does the Plump have particular Etonians in mind?"

A) All thick and loathsome.

Q: "If removed from Eton and sent elsewhere, may they be redeemed?"


Q: i)"Were they like that before going to Eton? ii)Is it genetic?"

i) Yes. ii) no -- it is social.

That's my line on Etonian filth cuntballbags for posterity.

The Plump said...

A classic sketch Mike :-)

I still think that Shuggy is right and that surrender to a right wing campaign designed to induce surrender is not a good tactic. But the bloody reshuffle produced a spasm of wanting the whole bloody lot to fuck off. Doomed I tell ye, doomed.

Will email you about how to do links. Will gave me an excellent guide.