Tag Archives: universities

Good news for U-graded Gavin Williamson as Johnson announces courses for people with no skills


Ill-starred education secretary Gavin Williamson has suffered another setback by making a long-overdue and practically-empty speech about the effect of Covid-19 on universities – on the day Boris Johnson announced new courses for people who need new skills.

Williamson put himself forward as a prime candidate for such a course.

Here’s how one commentater described Johnson’s announcement earlier today:

Only hours later, others were to signal how fitting his words were:

Here’s some of what he said – and some of what people are saying about it:

On his responses to others, they had this to say:

In summary:

Of course he isn’t. He isn’t even supposed to be.

And we’re supposed to see that he isn’t.

Boris Johnson has surrounded himself with dimwits; it’s an old strategy.

He knows he’s nigh-on useless himself, so he’s making sure none of the candidates to replace him even match up to his low standard.

Have YOU donated to my crowdfunding appeal, raising funds to fight false libel claims by TV celebrities who should know better? These court cases cost a lot of money so every penny will help ensure that wealth doesn’t beat justice.

https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/mike-sivier-libel-fight/


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Right-wing press stories have backfired so often, people are creating their own spoofs

Lola Olufemi: When the Daily Telegraph published its retraction, she tweeted: “Small victories, hopefully I can get on with my job now.”

You couldn’t make it up – unless you worked for a right-wing rag like the Daily Heil or the Torygraph. And from now on, even if reporters at those organs try, they won’t be believed.

The Daily Mail blotted its own copy(book) with an article on “Our Remainer Universities”. Building on the revelation that Tory whip Chris Heaton-Harris had written to universities, requesting details of courses and lecturers dealing with the European Union and Brexit, the <ahem> paper asked readers to send in their own stories.

Apparently nobody in the editorial team stopped to consider the kind of responses they would get from respondents who are – not to put too fine a point on it – educated.

Nor did they expect the floodgates to open in quite the way they did. This Site has already published one professor’s response. Here are a few more, from a range of sources:

For those who cannot read images, Steve Peers wrote: “Dear Witchfinder General,

“I am writing to turn myself in as what your paper would consider a biased professor.

“I discuss the details of refugee law with my students, whereas your paper referred to the ‘problem’ of Jewish refugees ‘pouring into the country’ and depicted recent asylum seekers as rats.

“I ask students to look at EU and human rights laws on LGBT equality, whereas your paper referred to ‘abortion hope’ after a ‘gay gene’ was found.

“I discuss the risk that far right extremism poses to human rights, whereas your paper cheered ‘hurrah to the blackshirts’; and I outline the importance of the rule of law, whereas your paper shrieks that judges it disagrees with are ‘enemies of the people’.

“Despite all this, I can only dream of receiving the huge sums from the EU that your editor Paul Dacre has obtained.

“I can only salute your paper’s commitment to the truth, in spite of its many losses and settlements in libel cases and the frequent readers’ complaints it provokes.

“Yours sincerely,

“Steve Peers
“Professor of Law, University of Essex.”

“Aaron” wrote: “Good morning.

“I attend updog university, and we are being taught anti Brexit propaganda by our left wing professors. We are now made to gather in the study hall once a week and salute an EU flag whilst the professor slowly eats a croissant.

“Another lesson that is now mandatory is ‘brexit may not have been a good idea and blind patriotism is a foolish and extremely dangerous answer’. I think this is disgusting. If you keep saying it will be ok, it will be ok. We all know this. I once had a rabbit that got smashed to bits by a tractor and I said it would be ok and a few days later my dad got me a new rabbit.

“Please help me, there is no longer any room for bigots like myself at places of education and thought.

“Yours sincerely
“Aaron.”

https://twitter.com/davies_will/status/923483195361976320

From Will Davies: “Hi.

“I thought you might be interested in the behaviour of one of our lecturers. In a 2nd year module I take (‘Cultural Maxism and Masculinities’ – 15 credits) our lecturer declared that they were committed to ‘free speech’, but on condition that the speech was in a language other than English. My mate was determined to give an opinion on why Brexit was good, but was forced to stand at the front of the class explaining it in French, a language he doesn’t really speak.

“Happy to talk more.
“Will.”

From Tom Goodwin: “Hello,

“I wish to inform you that I have indeed experienced bias around Brexit at the University of Leeds.

“Only yesterday, I had a lecturer of International Communication show us a study which supposedly demonstrated that the wider international community believe that Brexit is a bad idea. I soon put him straight by showing him my curved banana and asking him whether or not this was the kind of thing that should be influenced by bureaucrats in Brussels.

“Needless to say, the spineless lefty had no response to my compelling argument.

“It is totally scandalous that the lecturers there have based their opinions about Brexit on both fact and quantifiable research that has been critically assessed and approved of by other members of the academic community.

“I can only pray that my lecturers stop using verifiably true information to influence the young minds that they are placed in charge of, and instead use publications such as yours to show students that Brexit will not only bring prosperity to our nation, but will also rid our proud island of the scourge of immigrants, with their unpronounceable names and funny accents.

“I hope this anecdote will be useful to you and your fine fact reporting establishment.

“Yours,
“Thomas Goodwin.”

https://twitter.com/TimBrudenell/status/923514342733221888

And from Tim Brudenell: “Dear Sir/Madam, but hopefully Sir

“There I was performing my morning salute to the national anthem in my commemorative Princess Diana knitwear when my History lecturer kegged me and forced me to eat a copy of Das Capital.

“I was so distressed by this event I had to cancel my erotic pottery class.

“Yours wistfully,
“Crampton Breadworth.”

Not to be outdone, the Daily Telegraph ran a story claiming that Cambridge University Student Union women’s officer Lola Olufemi had forced the university to stop discussing white authors in order to “decolonise” its curriculum.

Of course the letter signed by Ms Olufemi and more than 100 students, on which the article was based, did not call for the exclusion of white men from reading lists and Cambridge University has not dropped any authors from its courses.

Nevertheless, the Mail (again) followed up the story with a a profile of Ms Olufemi headlined ‘Feminist killjoy* behind the campaign (*It’s what she calls herself)’.

The apology that appeared in the Torygraph‘s ‘Corrections and clarifications’ the following day stated: “An Oct 25 article incorrectly stated that under proposals by academic staff in response to an open letter from students on “decolonising” its English Faculty, Cambridge University will be forced to replace white authors with black writers. The proposals were in ract recommendations. Neither they nor the open letter called for the University to replace white authors with black ones and there are no plans to do so.”

These are just the latest blunders by our supposedly impartial mainstream media – which still, improbably, expect us to believe they are more reliable than online news sites.

Now, it seems people have decided enough is enough – and have started lampooning mainstream news stories as they come out.

For example, try this retooling of the story that the man who (allegedly) shot John F Kennedy – Lee Harvey Oswald – met representatives of the KGB before setting out to kill the then-president. It has been re-written to present a story that might be considered more in line with Heil readers’ leanings (and the version I’m using has been edited by an acquaintance to add some salient facts):

What next?


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Revealed: Cameron’s lies over Euro bill

– Verbal malfunction: “I’m not going to pay that bill on 1 December. If people think I are- I’m going to- They’ve got another thing coming.” Cameron can’t even announce his complaint properly.

David Cameron has lied and lied again about the £1.7 billion bill from the European Union, it has been revealed.

An investigation by Full Fact has shown that the UK has been taking part in an exercise to revise the way payments are calculated since at least May this year, meaning that discussions on the subject must have been taking place previously.

The Treasury must have known about these discussions, meaning George Osborne would have been aware of them – and this means that Cameron himself should have been told. If he had not, then his government has not been doing its job properly. He says he knew nothing until he was presented with the invoice this week.

Not only that, the amount does not reflect any increase in the size of the UK economy during the current Parliament, but – humiliatingly for Cameron – during the period of the last Labour government. He reckoned it was based on his own government’s (dubious) economic recovery.

The report states: “EU law requires that member states measure the size of their economy according to EU standards. The UK hasn’t been fully compliant with these standards, so statisticians at the ONS have spent the last year revising old estimates of the size of the UK economy. Some, though not all, of these changes have had a generally upward impact on the figures the EU uses to determine the UK’s contribution to its budget.

“The resulting increase in the estimated size of the UK economy relative to other nations – specifically between 2002 and 2009 – is what’s caused the EU to ask for more money. If the Commission had known the size of the UK economy at the time, it would have charged us more, so the £1.7 billion represents the ‘back payments’ following the counting changes.”

There is some good news for Cameron, though. As the bill is for ‘back payments’, it seems likely to reduce in future years – no matter how the economy has performed under his government. His claim that the bill is because his government has turned the economy around is simply balderdash.

And it seems the largest factor in the increased bill has been changes in measuring the contribution of the not-for-profit sector – mainly charities and universities. As universities are currently experiencing a fall in income as their intake from foreign countries drops off due to “unwelcoming” government policies, it seems reasonable to expect that the UK’s contribution will fall.

zcoalitionfailimmigration

The best way forward now is for Cameron to accept the advice of Denmark’s prime minister, Helle Thorning-Schmidt, that he should swallow his pride and pay up.

There’s no reason the UK cannot amortise the amount over a period of time. If it does so in an agreed manner, it may avoid having to pay punitive 2.5-per-cent-per-month interest payments.

But then, Cameron has proven to be an economic idiot and may not understand this.

That’s what happens when you’re born into money; you end up with no idea of its value.

Follow me on Twitter: @MidWalesMike

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Conservatives try to become the party of the North East – Unemployed in Tyne and Wear

Here’s something unintendedly humorous, flagged up by Unemployed in Tyne and Wear from an article in yesterday’s (October 5) Newcastle Evening Chronicle:

Is there a General Election on the horizon or something ? The Tories are getting all concerned about the North East.

Growing the economy in the North of England and closing the wealth divide with London and the south east was one of the major themes of the Conservative Party conference in Birmingham… The focus may seem surprising given that the party has few MPs in the North East.

The Chancellor’s plan is to turn the North into an economic powerhouse rivalling London by investing up to £15 billion on local transport links, picking a scientific speciality for universities to become world-leaders in, possibly building a high speed line across the Pennines, linking the North East and North West, and giving cities more autonomy and cash – if they agree to transform local government by introducing directly-elected mayors.

Major announcements at the conference included plans to freeze working-age benefits – including benefits received by working people on low salaries – for two years. This means cutting benefits in real terms, because of the effects of inflation.

Conservative leader David Cameron, in his conference speech, announced plans to raise the income tax personal allowance to £12,500. This would take one million more workers out of income tax entirely and give a tax cut to 30 million more, Mr Cameron said. An estimated 51,000 North East workers would pay no income tax at all because of the change. Many others would pay less tax. Isn’t this because wages are so poor to start with ?

Mr Cameron also announced plans to raise the threshold at which people pay the 40p income tax rate from £41,900 today to £50,000. It means a tax cut for many people earning above-average salaries. Mr Cameron said the 40p tax was supposed to be for the rich, but it’s currently paid by some senior nurses, teachers and police officers.

But critics pointed out that the Conservatives had failed to explain how they would pay the £7 billion cost of cutting tax.

Labour Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls said: “Nobody will be fooled by pie in the sky promises of tax cuts in six years’ time when David Cameron cannot tell us where the money is coming from.

“Even the Tories admit this is an unfunded commitment of over £7 billion, so how will they pay for it? Will they raise VAT on families and pensioners again?”

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More room for rich foreigners as government cuts Disabled Students Allowance

140521DSA

Some readers may find the above headline a bit strong, but please be assured – this is what it means.

Vox Political became aware of this story in two contrasting ways, as follows.

Firstly, from The Guardian: “From September 2015 [the government] will only pay for support for students with specific learning difficulties, such as dyslexia, if their needs are ‘complex’, although the definition of this, and who decides it, remains unclear.

“It will no longer pay for standard computers for disabled students, or for much of the higher specification IT it now subsidises.

“And it will no longer fund non-specialist help, likely to include note-takers and learning mentors. The costs of specialist accommodation will be met only in exceptional circumstances.”

Paddy Turner, of the National Association of Disability Practitioners (NADP) is quoted: “This is going to have a disastrous effect on students with specific learning difficulties because it looks very clear that [universities minister David Willetts] is trying to remove them from the DSA. It looks like a knee-jerk reaction to recent reports that specific learning difficulties and dyslexia aren’t really disabilities at all.”

Secondly, please read the following, from Vox Political reader Karlie Marvel, who has a relative with MS: “They are axing the disabled student allowance. The amount of funding for DSA is relatively tiny.”

I’ve been completely staggered by what I have discovered to be going on… Surely, the benefit to the economy of helping disabled students towards being able to contribute fully to society, rather than being left on the sidelines because of penny-pinching, is greater than the cost of a short period of support whilst they train?

“But I can’t say I’m surprised really.

“No education…

“Struggle to find work…

“No benefits…

“Die.

“Coalition government 2014. I’m feeling very bleak, Mr Vox.”

Who can blame her? Yet again, our government of couldn’t-care-less millionaires is cutting support to the very people they should be working hardest to help – the vulnerable disabled who cannot make it on their own.

They have rigged benefit assessments to make claiming as stressful as possible for people who can be killed by anxiety.

They have closed most of the Remploy factories that employed disabled people.

They are closing down the Independent Living Fund (ILF), that delivers financial support to disabled people so they can choose to live in their communities rather than in residential care.

Now this.

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