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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  • technicolour

    From a BBC documentary: BNP leader addressing an American Friends of the BNP meeting in 2000 (hosted by David Duke of the KKK). In the meeting, he sets out the BNP’s media policy:

    “We are determined now to sell. That means basically to use the saleable words – freedom, security, identity, democracy. Nobody can criticise them.”

    He adds:

    “Once by being rather more subtle we get ourselves in a position where we control the British broadcasting media then perhaps one day the British people will change their minds and say, yes, every last one must go…But if you hold that out as your sole aim to start with you’re going to get absolutely nowhere. So instead of talking about racial purity we talk about identity”.

    The video clip is here:

    [Mod/Jon: link fixed]

  • John Goss

    Einstein never attended any lectures at Zurich Polytechnic. He borrowed the notes of someone else, Marcel Broeckman I think, and he got a first. A former schoolteacher watching Einstein staring out of the window (probably working out his theory of relativity) said “This boy will make nothing of his life”. I might be paraphrasing and embellishing but the story is along those lines.

  • technicolour

    David Duke is a former former Grand Wizard of the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan an American activist and writer, and former Republican Louisiana State Representative. He was a candidate in the Democratic presidential primaries in 1988 and the Republican presidential primaries in 1992. Duke has unsuccessfully run for the Louisiana State Senate, U.S. Senate, U.S. House of Representatives, and Governor of Louisiana.

  • craig Post author

    I have no idea how you lot drifted into discussing weird BNP types but please don’t, I am eating my lunch.

  • anon

    Shooting in France of Iraqi man and his family. More to this or not?

    Victims killed by bullets to middle of head just said at press conference. Ex RAF British cyclist found bodies. Another cyclist also shot execution style.

  • Mary

    Nicholas Soames (more vast than ever) is opening a back bench debate on immigration. Now. Ch 81 Freeview.

  • nevermind

    France sounds similar to an assassination.
    How can there be so many British nationals in one place at the same time? Quiet likely during holiday season, but also a possibility.

    That poor little girl wasn’t spotted for ten hours, hiding, in fear and shocked, under her parents bodies. Despite the cyclist reporting a girl running towards him, confused and distraught, the police did not take notice or found her, I thought that would be the first thing you do.

  • Anon


    There were two little girls apparently. One 7 or 8 year old ran towards the ex RAF cyclist. She had been shot but was alive – now in medically induced coma. The four year old was apparently hiding under the legs of one of the dead women. It does seem incredible they didn’t look closely enough to see her.

    Engine was running. All doors closed. RAF cyclist smashed a side window to gain access according to press conference.

    Iraqi man named in UK as Saad Al-Hilli settled in Britain from Iraq in 2002 according to press conference although they would not confirm name.

  • evgueni

    This reminded me of how one of my lecturers (EEE) justified his inadequate presentation. “We come to university to read a degree”, he said, “not to be taught one. School is over. Visit the library and the book shop.” Or words to that effect. He was right, during lectures there was rarely time to get answers to why-questions, emphasis was on how-questions.

    100% attendance was made difficult by strategically positioned pubs between the student residences and the campus.

  • nuid

    “It does seem incredible they didn’t look closely enough to see her.”

    She was hiding under her mother’s skirt (long?) in the footwell of the car. They were very cautious about not ID-ing anyone, but I’m pretty sure they said both Swedish and Iraqi passports were found. At least one of each anyway.

  • Anon

    Saad Al-Hilli was a former Iraqi nuclear scientist according to new twwets
    Have no idea opf accuracy of this but just found this (claims The Mossad did it)

    The UK failed to protect Saad al Hilli

    spook watcher | 06.09.2012 12:47

    The failure of the British government to protect Saad al Hilli and his family was thrown into stark focus this week when they were gunned down by agents of the Israeli security services while on holiday in Chevaline near Lake Annecy in South West France

    al Hilli’s work with the Iraqi nuclear program was under duress as a result of Saddam’s Husseins threats against his family, there is no evidence he did it willingly.
    Once he fled to the UK he had a right to expect protection from Israel and yet his trip was without any from UK or French police despite his repeated requests for some. He knew he had been targeted for assassination by Israel to prevent his knowledge reaching Iran and yet there was no evidence that he had continued his work or that he was working with Iran, his trip to Tehran was for religious reasons to visit the city of Qom.

    Britain has once again stood by while agents of Israel kill.

  • Anon

    And this comment also at above link . Can Craig look into this? Nonsense or not?

    British Embassy sends twenty person team to crime scene

    06.09.2012 14:05
    In an unprecedented action the British Embassy in Paris has sent a twenty person team to the crime scene headed by Kara Owen the deputy British ambassador. According to local TV station ‘Demain’ people describe the British Embassy staff as being “military type”.

  • mochyn69

    Just curious about something.

    Today’s Guardian continues reporting on the CIA Save the Children link with regard to the assassination of Bin Laden in Abbottabad, Pakistan, as Pakistan has now ordered the remaining Save the Children workers to leave.

    The curious thing I noticed is that Save the Children has recently reorganised its structure and unified its US,UK and Sweden operations.

    What is it with this US, UK and Sweden thing? Is there really some other narrative going on here too?

    As for the UK government and London Met, I am appalled and speechless at such crass stupidity on the part of the government. Higher education,despite all the carping, is still one of the few things the UK does well, but the message is going out the UK is not friendly to foreign students.

    In the key university I work at in China, hordes oftalented, smart students have their hearts set on going to the US, Austalia, Ireland, France, Finland and so on for further study. Britain now, it seems is at the bottom of the pile.

    Nice work, idiotic Westminster government.

  • Anon

    Is this true??

    Defence Advisory Notice is in effect here

    06.09.2012 14:41
    Today at 0750 we received information that a Defence Advisory Notice or ‘D Notice’ was in effect with regard to certain facts about this story.

    No mention of his links to the Security Services
    No mention of his links to Iran
    No mention of his links to nuclear weapons research
    No speculation regarding Israel involvement in the killing

    The only place you are going to read about the real facts of this story are on sites like Indymedia.

    Manchester based Journalist

  • Anapa

    “Durak: What puzzles me is how they pay 9K+ a year for tuition and then work?

    Surely the fees imply that they actually participate on the course!

    So they come over here – hand over 9K – and then work?

    Something not quite right here.”

    -They pay some part in the beginning (let’s say 2000) and provide a bank statement from their country banks stating they have monies to cover their tution fees. Or, someone from their relatives, usually a father or mother, gives a letter of guarantee to pay the remaining part of tuttion fees. This (along with IELTS scores and home country education certificate) is enough for colleges to issue CAS confirmation. Then, UKBA verifies the actual cas reference number. So, a candidate receives the cas letter from a college, takes the cas and copies of bank statements, etc. and goes to the UK embassy where he or she gets the visa for minimum of 1 year. He/She arrives in the UK and immediately starts looking for work. Usually, smn from his/her country meets them here and assists in finding a job and cheap accomodation. Most of the time they work 2-3 jobs and end up working 60 or more hours a week. Now, in at least 5 pounds per hour calculation this is a considerable money. (I saw some brazilian students working 10pounds per hour). By Christmas time they will have enough money to pay off the rest of tuition fees and look forward to working more hours during the rest of the year. It’s simples. Been there, only in America. However, i have never dropped from my studies or lectures and I completed my two-year master’s degree programm on time. Here, you see students extending their programms again and again. I don’t blame them, because most of these students are from war torn or corrupt dictators ruled countries where freedom of speech or freedom of work is severely abused. And in many/all cases, these dictators are supported by the wetsern countries. Most of these students would love to go back to their parents, but they want to make some money so that they can live a bit better life. Therefore, it is a co-related issue here. DO NOT SUPPORT BLOODY DICTATORS, HELP THIRD WORLD ECONOMIES GROW – then you will not see so many immigrants to this country.

  • Anon

    British Ambassador to France, Sir Peter Ricketts, just interviewed by BBC near murder scene. Did his best to say nothing. I did notice an involuntary gulp when asked about speculation this could have been an “arranged killing”.

    He was also asked if anything should be read into his presence at scene. He didn’t answer that.

  • friendly phil

    The bank balance thing is stupid. When I went to University I had to show that I had enough money to cover all my expenses for the duration of the course, according to some arbitrary determination of how much I would spend. The figure was far more than I planned to spend or did spend. Some people faked bank statements to get around it.

  • Nextus

    From the Press Association:

    Jack Saltman, whose house backs on to the [al-Hilli] family home in Claygate, said Saad al-Hilli said something to him before he went on holiday that he would tell police about.

    Speaking to Sam Walker on the Richard Bacon Show on Radio 5 Live, he said: “I know one little thing which I am not prepared to speak (about) at the moment. I will tell the police about it.

    “It was something Saad said to me before he went but at this stage I do not feel I can disclose that but I will tell the police exactly what he told me before he left.”

    This guy is probably gonna get “handled” by the police. I’d recommend he pass the information on to an independent trustee before approaching the rozzers. And maybe then retreat to safe house.

  • anon seems “down” at the moment from here.

    A Google search shows some activity such as:

    The UK failed to protect Saad al Hilli – UK Indymedia – The failure of the British government to protect Saad al Hilli and his family was thrown into stark focus this week when they were gunned down …

    But the pages themselves aren’t cached so cannot read them.

    I reckon the site has been blocked.

  • Mary

    It’s rather surreal having two topics running here.

    Anon I saw Ricketts too and agree about him staying schtum. Well placed and equipped for a cover up if one is needed that is. All the speculation reminds me of what went on after Princess Diana was killed in the car crash.

    His Wikipedia entry
    The UK Ambassador to France.

  • durak

    indymedia site seems blocked???

    Some indymedia fragments in google search but not cached.

    the fragments from the indymedia site that can be viewed imply the British Government was at fault for not protecting him and that he was a former Iraqi Nuclear Scientist.

    Looks like total blackout.

  • Jon

    I’ve fixed Anon’s [6 Sep, 2012 – 5:10 pm] link, works fine for me. It has been hidden i.e. not available in the newswire, but still readable. It might because it is just a hyperlink elsewhere and a couple of paras, whereas IM usually prefer pieces written specifically for them.

  • Anon

    Dead French cyclist, Sylvian Mollier, worked for Areva in nuclear industry according to some news reports.

  • Anon


    Although some of the text is now readable under the “Hidden” overlay, the most interesting info was in the comments which have all now been removed. Other UK sites which have similar material have also pulled it (“after being contacted by a journalist I have decided to remove some of the comments” was said by one admin).

    The D Notice allegation seemed very specific if it was made up.

  • Mochyn69

    The site isn’t down and it’s not blocked where I am, but the article at has been hidden:

    Hidden Article
    This posting has been hidden because it breaches the Indymedia UK (IMC UK) Editorial Guidelines.

    IMC UK is an interactive site offering inclusive participation. All postings to the open publishing newswire are the responsibility of the individual authors and not of IMC UK. Although IMC UK volunteers attempt to ensure accuracy of the newswire, they take no responsibility legal or otherwise for the contents of the open publishing site. Mention of external web sites or services is for information purposes only and constitutes neither an endorsement nor a recommendation.

  • Captain Cook

    The Annecy affair looks very, very suspicious and I hope Craig will open a new thread on it if developments warrant (some of the elements might be right up his street).

    Re. the possibility of an assasination, well, it’s early to say…but one can also say that some countries have a certain track record in this area (one recalls the shooting of Gerald Bull at the door of his flat in Brussels in the early 80s.

    The interesting thing is that if, say, Iran…or Algeria…or North Korea…or Syria (etc,etc) went in for this sort of thing, they’d be condemned by the ususal people, have sanctions imposed on them and invaded within six months.

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