London Metropolitan University 118

First a statement of interest. I have given talks to classes at London Metropolitan University, attended a couple of conferences there, and been quite heavily engaged as an unpaid adviser to the Ghanaian side in (so far successful) negotiations for LMU acourses to be taught in Ghana.

There is no doubt that LMU is a real university, with some of its teaching and courses of world class. There is also no doubt that it does more than perhaps any other UK university to bring in students from communities which have not traditionally been high-achieving in education.

There is also no doubt at all that LMU had many hundred genuine, hard working overseas students who were performing well on their courses, and who have now been forced out, without notice. For the government to say they are being helped to find other universities is not good enough. In many cases they will be disadvantaged by lack of commonality of content with their new co-students on the first two years of the course, not to mention the massive disruption of moving home, losing part-time jobs, friends, babycare or healthcare arrangements etc. Suddenly to ban a university not just from accepting new international students, but from teaching all those it already has, is an act of monstrous disproportion affecting two thousand of people.

That there has been virtually no public outcry is a measure of just how accustomed we have become to extreme abuse of arbitrary power by government – and of the easy acceptance of the anti-immigrant agenda by mainstream media.

There is no doubt there was a massive problem with illegal immigration disguised as education. It focused on language schools in particular. There are of course some excellent language schools which do a good job, but there were certainly hundreds which scarcely functioned at all. I know, as personal friends, a number of “students” who have been here – in one case for over eight years – and literally never once visited their supposed place of education. It is also a fact that several of these fake colleges were owned and run by organised crime, as one of a number of rackets of the interests that established them. The government has closed down many scores of these fake colleges in the last three years. That is good. As Margaret Hodge was complaining yesterday, it had deported very few of the 60,000 or so identified fake students here from those colleges.

Unlike Ms Hodge, I regard that as good also. While in favour of preventing illegal entry, I am not in favour of uprooting people forcibly from wherever they have succeeded in making a home.

The root of London Metropolitan University’s problems was a stupid “anti-elitist” New Labour decision that real, large, world-respected universities must be treated in the immigration rules exactly like a pretend language school housed in one room above a laundrette.

A university is perfectly capable of judging who is and who is not performing their studies adequately – indeed that is one of the prime functions of a university. Yet the UK Border Agency has imposed a whole new raft of extra criteria like percentage of lectures attended, and bank balances to be maintained, and forced the universities at their own cost to put in place resource expensive systems for monitoring it (yes, even the bank balances).

Yet these criteria are nothing to do with academic achievement – I attended less than 5% of lectures over my university career, and the bare minimum of tutorials I could get away with, yet I got a first. Similarly the university is best placed to know what level of English language understanding is needed for which particular course, but again the UK Border Agency imposes its own criteria – and indeed this has been the major reason given for acting against London Metropolitan University.

Universities are supposed to be self-governing institutions. The intrusion of the immigration authorities into their running is an appalling development which should alarm everyone. Overseas students who fail cease to be students; at that stage the university should and will inform the immigration authorities of their change of status. It is not the job of UKBA to determine who has passed and who failed. As long as the university recognises an individual as part of the university community; that is their legal status. The UK Borders Agency is not a degree-awarding body. It should attend to its own business.

These stupid and intrusive regulations must be repealed.

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118 thoughts on “London Metropolitan University

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  • Mochyn69

    The Saad Al Hilli tragedy does seem very odd. Agreed the D Notice thing seems pretty categoric. Does anybody know the form of such a Notice? Does this accord with it?

    The MSM seem to be running with the theory it was Grenoble hoodlums. There is no mention of anything stipulated in the Notice, so it may well be real.

  • Anon

    Frank Gardner just said on Radio 4 that despite “conspiracy theories” on the internet it was probably mistaken identity in a gangland killing and they killers have probably fled to Switzerland.

  • durak

    How can you mistake three people (at least) close up after obviously shadowing them in a small French town completely unknown to any serious violence?

    One was a pensioner, one a child, all I suspect looked of non-European origin. A witness also seems to have been killed.

    It not only is unbelievable, but for somebody to suggest that makes me feel they think a) we are buffoons or b) the suggester is a bit of a buffoon himself.

  • Anon

    Frank Gardner for those that don’t know.

    Former Officer In the TA as well as fluent Arabic speaker. Lied that he was Muslim to save his life when shot in shady doings in Saudi Arabia. Now paralysed from waist down.

    He was probably just performing his duty to the “Crown” by reading that speculative nonsense even though that is incompatible with his status as a supposed journalist.

  • Anon


    Seems the system works nowadays by “friendly” phone calls or similar to editors etc pointing out what “facts” are covered by the existing “Standing Notices” and therefore are off-limits.

    Unfortunately thy don’t just issue a “D-Notice” for each case and publish it on their website 🙂

    More details at

    Standing DA-Notices

    The 5 standing DA-Notices are as follows. Click the relevant button to see each DA-Notice:

    DA-Notice 01: Military Operations, Plans & Capabilities
    DA-Notice 02: Nuclear & Non-Nuclear Weapons & Equipment
    DA-Notice 03: Ciphers & Secure Communications
    DA-Notice 04: Sensitive Installations & Home Addresses
    DA-Notice 05: United Kingdom Security & Intelligence Services & Special Services

  • Captain Cook

    well, I needed a laugh this evening and “Grenoble hoodlums” did the trick. Until I read “Frank Gardner” and then I really fell off my chair.

    ah, poor Frank! but he’s got to earn his pension somehow, doesn’t he…?

  • CS

    Jon said:
    “Without wanting to open a full can of worms”
    i.e., without wishing anyone to point out that what I am saying confirms that Techie lied about the BNP
    “I think BNP policy does tend towards a stronger position than just voluntary/paid repatriation.”
    Jon thinks, but has no evidence except this:
    “I heard one of their spokesman on R4,… [who] stated as “we’ll shut the door completely”
    Which is completely irrelevant. Shutting the door is totally different from forced repatriation.
    But the main thing to note about the BNP is that it exists to smear as far-right wing extremist fascist Nazis all those who oppose the genocide of the English working class through mass immigration. Destruction of the nations of Europe is a New World Order project, which is to say a manifestation of liberal imperialism. John Pilger, incidentally, has an excellent article on the truly virulent and murderous intolerance of those who drive this project for global govenance.

  • nuid

    If you want to disagree with someone, you might have the decency to say “I believe so-and-so is mistaken”. There is absolutely no need to accuse them of lying. It’s rude and arrogant on your part.

  • technicolour

    “The nation of Europe” is it, now.

    Anyone who can use the word ‘genocide’ to describe peaceful immigration is singing from exactly the same hymn-sheet as ‘far-right wing extremists’ – whether, as so many of them do, they perform Nazi salutes or not.

    How pusillanimous to tackle Jon’s perspicacious comments, rather than the evidence of the BBC documentary.

  • Mochyn69

    Re the Saad al Hilli tragedy and Sylvain Mollier.

    More about the Areva group company Cezus here:

    CEZUS has its own R&D center (“CRC”) located in Ugine, France. This center is dedicated to R&D on Zirconium alloys, focusing on process and metallurgy. It is the cornerstore of innovation and is known worldwide.

    Zirconium is currently the reference material for nuclear fuel assemblies, for pressurized water reactors (PWRs) and boiling water reactors (BWRs),. This is due to their exceptional transparency to neutrons and corrosion-resistant properties.

    Curiouser and curiouser.

  • Anon

    This is a little strange as well – If the car doors were apparently locked, how did the 8 year old girl come to be found outside the car with a gunshot wound and multiple blows to the head? Did the parents really lock the door with her outside? Could the attackers have had a remote door locker and locked the doors before leaving to slow down any attempt at entry?

    Just wondering.

  • CS

    “I also could cite examples of people who attended meticulously and learnt bugger all.”
    Surely, no one attends lectures to learn the facts. That’s what the books are for. That’s why people “read” for a degree. Or at least they used to. If they no longer do so, it would explain the abysmal ignorance of what Kingsley Amis referred to as the great untapped talent for which mass higher education was then, in the sixties, about to become universally available.

  • CS

    Nuid said:
    If you want to disagree with someone, you might have the decency to say “I believe so-and-so is mistaken”. There is absolutely no need to accuse them of lying.”
    If you’re addressing me, I was not disagreeing with Techie, I was pointing out that he was lying again.
    I say lying again because previously he lied about me and then lied about lying about me as I conclusively proved.
    Calling a lie an opinion doesn’t alter the fact that it’s a lie.

  • technicolour

    Why don’t you address the evidence in the BBC documentary, Alfred/CS? I’ll spare you the need to answer: it is because it is a public confession that the far right are lying in an attempt to get their real agenda through.

    I suggest that we do not recycle your bizarre and unpleasant arguments on this thread.

  • CS

    The fact that none of the options suggested on GhanaWeb for students affected by LMU’s loss of London Metropolitan University licence to sponsor students relates in any way to further education suggests that many licensed by LMU were more interested in permanent residency in Britain than in further education. If education was their priority, why do they not seek admission to an institution that is licensed to sponsor students?

  • Mary

    News management from the BBC. Nothing to see here. Move along…..

    They led the 10 o’clock news with the European debt crisis.

    Annecy third in list of headlines.

    Interesting coincidence. Hollande is in the UK today meeting Cameron.

    Frank ‘I was there’ Gardner’s comment on the BBC website.

    Frank Gardner

    BBC security correspondent

    With the investigation still in its early stages, there are conflicting theories emerging as to the motive.

    Investigators have been looking at the possibility the family stumbled on an underworld drug deal and were killed to prevent them becoming witnesses. Armed robbery has also been considered.

    But the fact that the murdered man in the car was born in Iraq and worked in Britain in the satellite and aerospace industries has prompted a raft of conspiracy theories, even talk of a covert hit team.

    Neighbours, though, said he had no known enemies and he was hard-working, even “jovial”.

    Experts suspect the perpetrator – or perpetrators – are most likely to be involved in the criminal underworld.

    The location of the crime scene, just 12 miles from the Swiss border, means those who carried out the killings may well be already out of France.


    A very sad day for the two little girls whoever killed their parents and Gran and why.

  • durak

    “Eric Maillaud, the public prosecutor, said: “At the moment we cannot say what happened, except four people were killed, or why. It’s not that we have no idea; we have many ideas, many hypotheses, all of which are being looked at, but there are no real leads at the moment. My worry is that we may never find the killer.”

    “My worry is that we may never find the killer.”.. somewhat disturbing considering the short time-frame.

    As for the “Criminal Underworld” version of events, quite obviously complete bullshit.

  • Dave

    Good to see you sticking up for LMU. It seems that all sorts of reasons are currently being fabricated to undermine the influence and roles of our educational institutions. I see this as just another part of a general assault on the HE sector, except this time you have issues of borders and race thrown into the picture more visibly.

  • CS

    Judging by comments of graduates of London Metropolitan U concerning the ban on foreign student enrollment, the best thing would be to ban LMU from enrolling any students from anywhere.
    “My experience of MA study at London Met has been appalling, and the level of academic and administrative incompetence across the board means I am not at all surprised by this decision.”
    “Having just completed my Masters there this news does not come as a surprise, the level of incompetence of many members of staff has amazed and angered me. I received no supervision throughout my entire dissertation, lecturers did not ‘teach’ or even guide students and the general organization of the university has been terrible.”
    “I completed my LLB Law at London Met recently. … I’m surprised its taken so long for the Government to ‘catch up’ with what is really going on – both the EU/Non EU students and the University alike were just playing the system.!”

  • technicolour

    CE: these are selective comments and have nothing to do with the matter in hand. The one striking point from the comments I read was the distinguishing of the administration from the staff. My own experience (from a different uni) was that individual staff could be excellent, but the dumbing down of the general curriculum went hand in hand with people appointed to rake in a huge salary while administering very little enlightenment. So what point are you trying to prove here?

  • Steve Cook


    When I was at university, some ten years ago or so, I’m not sure I’d have been permitted to continue on the course if I’d only registered 5% attendance. I agree that its a poor measure of learning, but if – in the case of overseas students – we don’t use attendance to check the institution is genuine, what should we use instead?

    I don’t think the immigration authorities should be checking on the learning of overseas students. What the hell has it got to do with the immigration authorities if a student works hard on their course or not? All that the immigration authorities should be concerned with is if the students are working in the UK more than they are allowed to during their stay here as a student and also if they continue to stay and to work after their student visa has ended.

    That is all.

    As for how they measure the above, this could be solved with an ID card for overseas workers such that they must present this to any prospective employer or to any relevant authority that demands to see it. This would indicate whether they were student on a student visa, a standard worker with more visa rights to work and stay etc. Any prospective employer would be required by law to see this ID card and so verify the person in question was bona-fide entitled to work and stay in the UK. If their ID indicated that they were not, then the prospective employer would be legally bound to inform the relevant authorities and would be later held to be liable if it was discovered that they did not.

    Then, instead of trying to track individual students, the immigration authorities should concentrate their efforts on those employers who are illegally employing them instead of indigenous workers or instead of overseas workers who do have the right to work and stay here.

    All of which are just proposals of the top of my head. I guess my central point is that if overseas students have paid for their course, then it is up to them how hard they work on it and it should be no-one else’s business.

  • Douwe Korff

    dear craig, dear friend! i hadnt noticed your comments but was so pleased to see them! it is good to know that you are with us, against this mean government which is punishing innocent, law-abiding students to make political capital!

    yours as always!


    (for those of your readers who dont know me, i am professor of international law at londonmet and an old fellow-fighter with craig for human rights and the rule of law in central asia)

  • Mary

    I was watching a recording of Theresa May answering the Home Affairs Committee on this matter on 6 Sept 2012. She prevaricated rather especially when answering David Winnick. Keith Vaz gave her an easy ride. I will try to find a link when one appears.

    Bt chance I also found myself watching two drippy women from Ofqual, Glenys Stacey the regulator and Amanda Spielman, attempting to justify the English GCSE exam fiasco to the Education Committee and failing IMHO. Stacey was at pains to emphasize that there had been no government interference to make the changes. Oh no? They both used jargon words like ‘suite’, ‘the market’, ‘cohorts’. Completely incomprehensible to the parents and the children affected I should imagine. Again I will try to find the link if and when the proceedings are reported.

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