University Governance 701

I seldom post a reference to somebody else’s article, but I do strongly recommend John O’Dowd in Bella Caledonia on the “Scottish Democratic Intellect”. Long term readers will know that the changing of universities effectively into corporations, and the destruction of the democratic ethos in their governance, is one of my greatest sorrows. Several of O’Dowd’s themes are mirrored in my own Rectorial Address at the University of Dundee. Do read it. It starts with a good deal of knockabout comedy, but then gets serious, which is precisely how life at University should progress.

The University of Dundee refused to place my Installation Address in the University Library, thus ironically proving my entire point. It still is not there, and nor are Murder in Samarkand, The Catholic Orangemen of Togo, nor Sikunder Burnes – all of which proves precisely the point I was making. Long term readers will also be aware that the University Senate, at the urging of the Administration, refused after a debate to give me the honorary Degree routinely given to all Rectors, on the grounds I was “insufficiently distinguished”. They gave Honorary Degrees to Lorraine Kelly and Fred Macaulay, my immediate predecessors, so the yardstick for “distinguished” is somewhat woolly. I think it must mean “acceptable to the Establishment”. I do not crave honours, having turned down a LVO, OBE and CVO from the Queen. But the snub from the university hurt me deeply as I devoted much of my life to it, having been both Rector and President of the students union (twice). I think it is the only one of dozens of snubs from the Establishment to this whistleblower that actually succeeded in hurting.

Finally, I recommend as still very relevant the paper I helped write with Robin McAlpine, Allyson Pollock and Adam Ramsay for the Jimmy Reid Foundation on The Democratic University. I am in fact very hopeful that there is sufficient understanding among Scottish intellectuals of what needs to be done after Independence to root out the neo-liberal model from our universities. In this as in so much else, Independence will not be enough if we do not use it to institute radical government.

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701 thoughts on “University Governance

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  • Doug Scorgie

    February 18, 2017 at 17:19
    “Nicola and her hubby could afford a chauffeur on the £250.000 or so they bring in every month. Would create employment as well.”
    February 18, 2017 at 18:17
    It appears that Ms Nicola Sturgeon’s salary is £144.687 p.a. (expenses not included) and her husband’s salary as the SNP Chief Executive is slightly over £100.000.
    To be fair, Ms Sturgeon foregoes some pf her salary and only takes home £135.605.
    Total earnings for the Sturgeon ménage are therefore around £235.000.

    So Habbabkuk you’ve worked out that a salary is an annual payment divided by 12.

  • RobG

    The latest opinion polls for the forthcoming French presidential election…,_2017#February_2017

    Of the ten candidates only five of them stand a chance in the first round. Once again I’ve averaged various polls:

    Marine Le Pen (far right) 25%
    Emmanuel Macron (neo-con who claims to be a socialist) 20%
    François Fillon (neo-con on the right of French politics) 18%
    Benoît Hamon (‘far left’ but is a neo-con in sheep’s clothing) 15%
    Jean-Luc Mélenchon (independent left candidate and representing the massive protests in France in recent years) 12%

    Hold on to you hat, Folks. This French presidential election will decide the fate of the European Union, and a whole lot more as well.

      • RobG

        Part of what I mean by the term ‘neo-con’ is that they are in the pocket of Washington; ie, bought and paid for traitors.

        Fillon is such, as is Hollande, and Merkel and Cameron/May. All pathetic puppets who have totally betrayed their own people.

        • lysias

          And Charles de Gaulle was anything but in the pocket of Washington.

          I think Marine Le Pen has much more justification in calling herself Gaullist.

  • Sharp Ears

    To the moderator.

    You have removed my comments, some of them intemperate, addressed to the two trolls, ‘Habbabkuk’ and ‘Alcyone’.

    In fairness, you should also remove their little chat on February 18th @ 20.41 and 20.55 when they were jeering at me and the one from ‘Alcyone’ today @ 13.32 when he/she called me a ‘second hand human being’.

    Why are you allowing these ad hominems to stay up? Can’t you see that this constant posting of vitriolic remarks about me and others too does nothing for the integrity of the comments for those who visit the blog. They are puerile, worthless, vicious and spiteful.

    It has gone on for far too long.

    • Resident Dissident

      I really wouldn’t get so worried – he cannot even understand the words of his own guru.

      • Alcyone

        I’ll let you into a little secret RD: The Word is not the Thing. The word apple is not an apple.

        Real understanding is well beyond the level of the word, beyond the verbal. I had no idea that you were such a shallow-thinker. Could explain your embrace of your guru, the murderer Blair.

        This applies to you and your guru:
        “How can a confused man know clarity? He can only know confusion, or think of clarity as the opposite of what is.”

        Read on to know more about what is meant by guru:

        I hope it’s not too much heavy-lifting for you.

        • Resident Dissident

          Pitiful – if I were you I would work on the verbal before trying to move to another level. BTW websites such as this and the one you recommend can only work on the verbal and visual levels.- but i’m sure we will all be happy if you restrict your comments to another level. I hope the apple doesn’t choke you.

          • Alcyone

            “BTW websites such as this and the one you recommend can only work on the verbal and visual levels.”

            Excellent, now you’re getting somewhere. Which is why self-study is not about “understanding the words”. So do you now (before you use the word ‘guru’ again) actually, in action, understand the link I gave you (the meaning of a guru)?

            Neither the apple, nor your leader Blair can choke me. Look after your S.E.L.F. (many meanings, go uncover). I hope you do it.

    • glenn

      If someone wants to denounce themselves with their own words, I say – leave their words stand. Don’t get upset about it. People aren’t blind, they can see things for what they are. It’s not as if anyone takes another’s comments as simply read, so why keep demanding comments be removed?

  • Anon1

    Well it would appear that Trump’s little mistake has got the media talking more about Sweden in the last 12 hours than they have in the previous 12 months.

    Chalk up another to the Donald. 😀

    • michael norton

      Former S. N. P. Dear leader Alex Salmond has suggested an announcement from Ms. Nicola Sturgeon is very, very, very close.
      She could even declare Independence tonight.

      • Alcyone

        Norton, do you see how you can get wires crossed. Please hit the comment button rather than the reply button if you don’t really intend to reply. Thanks.

    • Alcyone

      Maybe the BBC is not that bad/fake after all. Let’s just say she’s been botoxed and had a boob-job.

      “How Sweden became an exporter of jihad”

      “However, Sweden is believed to have the highest number of Islamic State fighters per capita in Europe. About 140 of the 300 who went to Syria and Iraq have since returned, leaving the authorities to grapple with how best to reintegrate them into society.”

      • Alcyone

        An extract from the former BBC article:

        ” It’s one of Sweden’s most diverse cities. A third of the population are from immigrant backgrounds, many of them Muslim, and in the north-eastern suburb of Angered, the proportion rises to more than 70%.”


        • Anon1

          It’s the most screwed up country in Europe. So tolerant, so liberal, they now have grenade warfare on the streets. But you can’t say anything against it or you’re howled down as a racist and the authorities do everything they can to cover it up.

  • Brianfujisan

    Can we Make a difference

    A real “War on Terror” is clearly not being waged. Nothing presented by President Trump before or after his campaign victory in 2016 indicates a real war is about to be waged. In fact, much of what has been done thus far, has simply been the placing of additional bricks on a very predictable path toward the infinite horizon of this “Long War.”

    • Alcyone

      Thak you Brian. From that article, this is worryingly true:

      “Targeting, rather than embracing, even protecting these state sponsors of all aspects of terrorism, from indoctrination and recruitment, to training, arming and financing terrorism on the battlefield, would be another essential step in a real “War on Terror.”

      Yet from President Bush to President Obama and now during the administration of US President Donald Trump, the US and its European allies continue to coddle the regimes in Riyadh and Doha, rather than taking any measures whatsoever to disrupt this terror pipeline.”

      But, on the face of it, it looks like the Deep State does not want Trump to cooperate with Russia. And maybe also not to fix Saudi behaviour. One can only hope Trump has a plan and is keeping his powder dry wrt Saudi. I fear this could just be wishful thinking.

  • Dave

    There is jostling for the “anti-Muslim” narrative that is both pro and anti Russian by the same people. The globalists/neo-cons are using it to attack Russia for obstructing their aims to destroy Middle East and the neo-con/globalists want to, if they can, following Trump’s victory, co-opt Russia in their “anti-Muslim” attack on Syria and Iran. Whereas Trump is using the “anti-Muslim” narrative to Make America Great Again by ending the war promoted by the neo-cons/globalists. And talking about Fake news alerts patriots to the false flag news promoted by the neo-con/globalists who are the true enemies of America and the world.

  • michael norton

    A associate billionaire of The Scottish Donald is Space-X Elon Musk,
    Elon is having the largest factory in the world build near Reno, Nevada, to make Lithium-ion re-chargable cells.
    Some of the Lithium is being quarried/processed in Nevada, all the steel to build this giant is manufactured in the U.S.A. The goods will be shifted by rail.
    The wall-power-packs are being made in the Gigafactory.
    The aim is to reduce the cost of Lithium-ion cells by 1/3,
    thus making an affordable electric car ( less than $35,000).
    Almost all of the car components are manufactured in the U.S.A., eventually they will mostly be made in house.
    The solar roof tiles are made in the U.S.A.
    Tesla has just bought the largest supplier/installer of solar panels in the U.S.A.

    So this part of Trump’s dream is already happening.
    The use /renewal of rail.
    The use/renewal of U.S.A. steel
    The re-building of U.S.A. car manufacture.
    The renewal of quarrying / mining / extraction industries in the U.S.A.
    The creation of jobs in the U.S.A.

    • michael norton

      “Repatriating” jobs from Asia to the U.S.A.
      The reduction of Asian imports into the U.S.A.
      The start of rebalancing the books.
      The start of hope for working people.
      Making things more tax efficient, to manufacture in the U.S.A. instead of ever increasing imports.
      Changing the culture, so entrepreneurs, are encouraged to manufacture in the U.S.S / disencouraged to manufacture elsewhere,
      for sale in the U.S.A.
      Entrepreneurship within the U.S.A. to be assisted to create manufacturing jobs, in the U.S.A.

    • Sally

      And it took an immigrant to achieve all of this on behalf of potus.

      THE IRONY.

      Nice spot Micheal

  • wildcat

    A report by The Guardian’s North of England correspondent Nazia Parveen today shows that more than half the UK’s transport spending is on London. And it’s going to get worse based on current and planned projects according to think tank IPPR North.

    What more proof do you need?

    Scotland lets get independence.

    Wales get yourselves independence.

    Regions of England get yourselves regional assemblies.

  • giyane

    I worked at MTC in Coventry on Saturday. Dazed by the glamour of the erstwhile British Empire your CEOs travel to Birmingham Airport from far and wide to see what Tory UK can offer in terms of manufacturing. An empty barn, the 21st century equivalent of a Victorian museum, with threshing machine, spokeshaved cartwheel and working horse harness scattered around.

    I have seen photos of small Chinese cities with acres of PV cells. Look at Alibaba and see the production capacities of Chinese factories. MTC is going fix UK manufacturing exports like hairspray is going to fix Mrs May’s Brexit strategy.

    What I want to know, like President Trump, is what is exactly going on where UK foreign policy relies not on technology, not on spying technology, not on diplomacy, but on arming terrorists four hours journey away from the UK.

    When are the Universities or Government Thinktanks, or even opposition politicians going to come up with a solution to our problems which does not involve dressing yesterday’s vomit as today’s Cannelloni and serving cow wee as a Herbal remedy.

    If the article by Robert Fisk in the Independent linked to above is the best that independent journalism can come up with against the neo-cons and their world-wide savagery, we are going to stay in the comfortable rut of Decline and Fall for the foreseeable future:

    Why is there a total silence in the presence of disgusting policy of creating madmen and women through torture and psychotic drugs, openly conducted under our noses by revered figures in all three main political parties? Fox, Ashdown and Straw come to mind

    On the domestic front we have the disgusting policy of 1978 on Divorce, which abolished the concept of blame in divorce cases, and allocated the marital house to the mother regardless of her behaviour, now being augmented by a UK politician to the policy that mothers should be protected from any anger as a consequence of their infidelity.

    I get the message clearly. If you are a UK citizen and you abide by the law, your government is actively promoting and financing illegal invasion, murder, rape trafficking and homelessness on an industrial scale. Similarly if you are UK male and you wish to start a family, your government is actively promoting your bankruptcy and financing the sexual abuse of your children by stray males.

    We have Cookies in power. ACCEPT. If you do not accept the use of Cookies you will no longer be able to use this nation as your home.

  • bevin

    They are doing what the dead seem to be telling them, just feeling their way forward towards catastrophe doing what they think that their parents, teachers, mentors, choirmasters, scoutmasters, the grown-ups who used to tell them how pretty they were, would expect them to do (plus, of course, what other bullies do.)
    They incline to violence because they were taught by violence, and dead men tell no tales.
    And they know that they are right because they earn more money, lead more comfortable lives, send their children to more expensive ski resorts, trade in their cars more often and have more diplomas, degrees, club memberships and invitations to the weddings of peers than their critics do.
    They could be got rid of in an afternoon but for the fact that their victims fear and respect them rather more than they hate and despise them.
    And when they have completely wrecked the country, the planet they will waltz off smirking, abroad taking their tired turn with them.
    There is much to be said for what was done-to their peers- in 1917.

  • Republicofscotland

    England’s NHS, is at “Breaking point” according to the British Medical Association (BMA).

    “Analysis by the BMA found the number of overnight beds in English hospitals fell by a fifth between 2006-07 and 2015-16. The report found that in the first week of January this year, almost three-quarters of trusts had a bed occupancy rate of 95% on at least one day.”

    “According to the analysis, in 2000 there were an average of 3.8 beds per 1,000 people, but this had dropped to 2.4 beds by 2015. The report said that in November 2016 14.8% of patients spent more than four hours waiting for a hospital bed, having been seen in an A&E department.”

    The pressure on England’s NHS, will just keep on building and building, until people start dying.

  • Republicofscotland

    Child poverty in Britain, risen to over 200,000 and is expected to become much worse in the wake of Brexit. There are over 3.9 milkion households with “below” average income, that have children living in them.

    The Westminster government, also scrapped its legally binding child poverty target in recent years. It no longer officially recognises, the household income statistics as a measurement of child poverty.

    So the Tories no longer recognise household income as a measurement of child poverty, they no longer recognise that the English NHS either.

    We of course recognise that Brexit will only exacerbate poverty in Britain, whilst it will also undermine what’s left of England’s NHS.

  • Republicofscotland

    More on the Westminster governments attacks, on the good people of England’s NHS.

    The Government will cut the National Health Service’s budget per person in real terms next year.

    “Numbers released by ministers show NHS England will face a sharp reduction of 0.6 per cent in real terms of per head in the financial year 2018-19.”

    “The numbers corroborate claims by NHS chief Simon Stevens earlier this month that “in 2018-19, real-terms NHS spending per person in England is going to go down”.

    The Tory government at Westminster, are hellbent on sinking what’s left of England universal healthcare service.

  • Republicofscotland

    “Is Britain headed for a disastrous “crash landing” out of the European Union? This is the view of some European politicians concerned at the UK’s “divide and rule” tactics ahead of formal Brexit talks.”

    “A leaked European parliament report seen by the Guardian accuses Britain of trying to “move the goalposts and do away with the referee” in the impending negotiations with the EU27 nations.”

    It looks like Britain will be on the end of a severe Brexit beating, is it any wonder then, that Theresa May and her blundering Brexiteers, might deploy a bit of under handedness a Tory trait.

    • michael norton

      She is not “Bluffing”

      if she is not Bluffing, why not call Indyref2 today, why prevaricate?
      Go 4 it.

  • Alcyone

    “Assange also offered a variation on the “truthiness” theory. “Donald Trump lies all the time. All the time. But it’s a particular kind of lie. He lies about facts. Constantly, he lies about fact. But does he emotionally lie? That’s a different question. I think Donald Trump’s lack of an emotional filter means that he’s perceived as being emotionally honest, and an emotional honesty, people think or feel, is more important than factual honesty.” Clinton, by contrast, “was much more honest on the facts, but emotionally I think she was considerably more dishonest.”

    What do Trump and Assange have in common?
    Oversized balls and high levels of testosterone.

  • J

    Some relevant material regarding the original topic:

    “How the universities allow a corporate cult to capture and destroy their best students”

    “Forcing schools into the hands of unelected oligarchs is the latest contradiction of everything the market fetishists claim to stand for.”

    “The funding for academic research has been taken over by business”

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