Wednesday, 13 October 2010


Sir Menzies Campbell joins Lib Dem revolt against rising tuition fees

Former Lib Dem leader to vote against rise in tuition fees after Vince Cable reneged on party's election pledge to abolish them

Menzies Campbell signs NUS tuition fees pledge 
 I can dance, too, says silly old duffer.

Sir Menzies Campbell signs an NUS pledge to vote against any increase in tuition fees prior to the general election. Photograph: NUS press office.

The coalition faces a challenge from a former leader of the Liberal Democrats after the business secretary, Vince Foxtrotter, reneged on an election pledge to abolish tuition fees and committed the government to raising the cost of a degree.

Sir Menzies Campbell, the chancellor of the University of St Andrews,bless,  said he would vote against a rise in fees after Lord Browne's review of university finance said universities should be allowed to decide what they charge students.

"My credibility would be shot to pieces if I did anything other than to stick to the promise I made," he told the BBC.  "Even if I wasn't wearing a necktie, which I didn't used to do at weekends, when, briefly and ignominiously, I was Party leader. Thankfully, thanks to Noddy Clegg,  I don't, these days,  have to not wear a necktie, bastard. Fucking Tory bastard."

Cable, the Foxtrotting Nitwit,  is seeking to contain a Lib Dem revolt -as  fucking if - with the suggestion that tuition fees should be capped at about £7,000.

In a letter to all Lib Dem MPs, Nick Noddy  yesterday stressed that no decision had yet been taken but suggested he was likely to break the election pledge, just like all the other ones. He called it "one of the most difficult political decisions I have ever had to make. It's almost as bad as going into coalition with this gang. But then, if you are me, you'll do anything to get back in the Tory Party".

He said: "It means doing something that no one likes to do in politics – acknowledging that the assumptions we made at election time simply don't work out in practice. With the benefit of hindsight, I signed a pledge at a time when we could not have anticipated the full scale of the financial situation the country faces now. Planet Hindsight is where I come from. It is a place where everyone stunbles around, fucking things up and then saying, Ah, well, with hindsight I wouldn't have fucked this up or fucked that up but since I can only see that with hindsight you can't hold me responsible. Foresight?   Nah, we don't do that, hindsight's the thing.  Its a kind of Get Out Of The Toilet Free card. Not that LibDems want to get out of the toilet. Get Into The Toilet Free Card, that's what they want, as  a rule."

He emphasised three ways in which he thought Browne's proposals better: " Well, first of all, he's gay, so that helps. Part-time students will have their fees paid up front and will be treated for the first time like their full-time counterparts. Poorer students will pay less, while wealthier students will pay more. And a much more progressive system than the current one both makes more generous maintenance arrangements for those on low incomes and raises the threshold at which repayments start to be made. See, it's brilliant, being a Tory. Just make shit up."

Another former Lib Dem leader, Charles Kennedy, tabled a question asking what Cable's plans were for a cap on fees. Many unhappy Lib Dem backbenchers will look to him for guidance as he has described the party's stance on tuition fees as a "defining feature, hic, burp, just let me go asleep for a wee while".

Government sources suggested Cable's idea of a £7,000 cap would be vetoed. Lib Dem backbenchers including Greg Mulholland and John Leech have warned they will vote against a rise. Julian Huppert, the Lib Dem MP for Cambridge, tweeted yesterday that he had again signed the NUS pledge to oppose a rise. All the party's MPs signed this pledge during the election.

In a statement published on his website Huppert said: "There is pressure to properly fund universities, but forcing students to take on huge amounts of debt is not the way. Not when they can earn good money as rent boys,  the pretty ones. Some of them can even work in the Foreign Office" The MP said he would work with Cable to find a "better solution than that which Labour adopted and which the Tories would like."  Slow, slow, quick-quick slow. Cunts.

The party's deputy leader, Straight Simon Hughes, said yesterday there was time to modify Lord Browne's proposals. "We have to seek to honour the pledges we gave to our constituents, just not the ones about the Tories, or, thinking about it, any of them" he told the BBC. " You can trust me. I am a true, complete, unspeakable, simpering hypocrite."

Hughes reaffirmed the party's manifesto commitment to phasing out tuition fees. "Vince was anticipating that there may have to be a change of policy but we are not there yet – the policy of the Liberal Democrats as of today is to still make sure we don't increase tuition fees and that's where we start from. And if you believe that, you'll believe anything. And most of you will"

Under Lord Browne's proposals, institutions that charged the highest fees would have to show they were doing more to widen access to the poorest teenagers. Graduates would start repaying when they earned £21,000. They would pay 9% of their income above this thresholdLord Browne, the former head of BP, revealed last night that he had started sponsoring Cambridge students from disadvantaged backgrounds through their undergraduate degrees. "I do believe Charity should be a modest and anonymous thing, only not when I do it," said the disgraced former head of BP, forced to resign even though he hadn't done anything wrong, apart from some gay stuff, which doesn't count.

Answering questions on The Student Room, an online forum, he defended proposals to make graduates pay more.

"I was fortunate enough to grow up in an era where very few people received an education for free. Now there are lots more students who rightly want to benefit from a degree, and in order to pay for that, graduates who get private benefits from their higher education should contribute to the cost."

(our Ishmaelian correspondent writes: "I was fortunate enough to grow up in an era where very few people received an education for free ( properly: freely)" Does anyone know what this shit is supposed to mean? Does he mean very many people? Are they all fucking barking mad, these bastards, can't even express whatever it is they think they think?)


PT Barnum said...

The MediaWhores are twisting the truth, changing one set of unpalatable probabilities with a phony set of 'concerns'. Whatever their intentions, these scummy politicians with their elitist agendas, there will still operate the law of unintended consequences.

Currently a non-laboratory degree actually costs about £7,500 per year to deliver, while lab subjects can cost anything up to £30k+ for medicine. So a 7k cap is being proposed for all non-lab degrees (with fine art and drama to be treated as non-lab while they are currently lab subjects) with a continuing but undisclosed subsidy on science and medicine which may remain at £3500 or be set at 7k. With one proviso. A university may request the ability to charge much higher fees so long as there are 'good reasons' to do so.

So, on the one hand we have the Russell Group, the self-described 20 best UK universities who actually only share one feature - they all have medical schools. Then we have the '94 group, the redbricks of the 60s and 70s. And finally the post-94 grouping of converted polys and CHEs. The Russell Group will be looking to charge Harvard-scale fees of £45k a year to maintain their amour propre. The post-94 group contains many institutions which are likely to fold completely given their recruitment base. The '94 group will come to a collective agreement about what to charge for what (a process already begun).

And the losers will be, of course the students from lower income backgrounds, but also the Russell Group. Because, you see, in every league table, from student satisfaction to employment of graduates to research value, it is the '94 group which tops the tables that parents and teachers study. But the Russellites don't realise this. Their names count for everything in their arrogant Etonian-styled minds. Bristol, Durham, Warwick, Nottingham, Leeds, and even Oxbridge will find they are recruiting students from a very tiny population, while the universities who are worthy of the name will have the pick of the best, not CallMeDave clones, not royal sprogs.

Sorry. Too long. Been getting irked by the way this has all been reported.

call me ishmael said...

No, long enough, I didn't know any of that, thanks, mr ptb, although I was at Warwick.

I have walked around the graduation parties in the quads of Oxford, raging at the frocks, the champagne and the string quartets, too. Burn 'em down, is what I'd do.

OT but relevant to your belief in the benign potential of the web, I found something at Comment Is Not Free which will interest you. It's another post, further on up the road, the medium enables the message, i think.

mongoose said...

There we have the truth, Mr PTB! It is not where but what. I learned engineering at Exeter. It looks not as good as learning engineering at Cambridge but it was just as good. Without, true, the contact with absolutely loony geniuses. But when I was there, in the time of the Old King, we had wonderful people, survivors of the Holocaust even, who had built stuff in Warsaw and reused stuff in Treblinka. That, my babies, is fucking engineering at the edge. Heroes.

In truth I could have learned the same technical stuff at Lanchester Poly - now Coventry Uni - but without the cachet, such as it was. What I maybe wouldn't have learned is how to look into the eyes of an old Polish Prof whose life weighed twenty times mine as he gently taught me aerodynamics.

I return again to the point of education. Curiosity, learning for its own sake, for civilisation, for knowing, and for being able to tell your babies. For this betrayal, this treason, Cable should be hanged from the highest tree. And Prof Z, now long dead, a glass to thee I'll raise.

call me ishmael said...

I always said it, mr mongoose, fuck the pre Rapaelite Brotherhood, you engineers are the true Romantics.

Good that Jitterbugging Vince has made the gallows list. He serves a useful purpose though, his vivid revelation of how very seer, how threadbare the cloak of principle in which politicians present themselves; daily, it seems, he twists and turns, abandoning those thing which so recently were his touchstones, discarding every last idea on which he stood for election, it is one of the great, dark joys of my life to see this wretch expose himself so, it really is nightmarish. Yoi know as well as I, can imagine, as well as I, Cable promoting the Workhouse, Capital Punishment, Slavery, Segregation, Disenfranchising women, and doing it all in his weary, hurts me more than it hurts you but it's for the best voice, whining his mantra of tough but fair, doing anything, enduring any public degradation, just as long as he can stand at the despatch box. And govern. It is truly glorious. More moving than Mozart's Requiem, horribler than Breughel's Triumph of the Dead; Cable, a grisly vision of relentless, terrifying irresistible, self-humiliation, an impossible and doomed attempt to reconcile shuddering cataclysmic internal contradiction; madness, ladeezangennulmen, Right Before Your Very Eyes.

I never liked him. Mr Bean made Mr Grotesque.

mongoose said...

Everything you can see, Mr Ishmael, which isn't breathing or growing out of the ground was made possible by what passed in his or her day for an engineer. It is little enough.

call me ishmael said...

Yes, mr mongoose, I learned it in my late thirties, better late than not at all. You'd be amazed at the tools I now own and use. An associate and I used to look at the then miraculous, three-litre, vee-six, fuel-injection, automatic transmission, power steering, air-conned lump under the bonnet of my fabulous Volvo 760 GLE Estate, all the parts, all the wires and pipes and servos, pumps, belts and filters, we looked at it as dabblers in wood, furniture-makers and restorers, knowing enough of how things are made to be amazed and beguiled at all this stuff, crammed-in, smoothly potent and terrifyingly reliable. Yes, said Tony, often, and they just start with a pencil and a piece of paper. And then, they probably did.

PT Barnum said...

I'm relieved my comment was not over long and contained something of interest.

These days what active contact I have are with a university pre-eminent in science and engineering, Loughborough. And I can only admire their successful combination of pragmatism, innovation and education for its own sake. It sometimes looks a little unpleasantly like Education Inc but actually serves to provide a robust balwark for those departments who might be deemed 'frivolous'. So while Business Studies is given every means of prospering, they were able, recently, to bring back the previously abolished History department.

mongoose said...

Engines, eh? Ah, bless. One day long ago, the old man and I stood in the garage with a Japanese Something Estate and a Ford 1600cc engine. We had a car without an engine and an engine without a car. How the fuck we got the damn thing in there I do not know but we did. Madness, of course, but you do learn not to be afraid of that stuff. Of course, you can also blame some bastard retard engineer for your abortion of a chimney.

And, Mr PTB, I know loads of folk from Loughborough. Sporty types mostly. Rowers or cricketers? I cannot recall. Anyway. Once ate a ghastly "Sunday Lunch" in a pub with them - the coaching inn in the centre - and the roast beef came as roast beef does - hideous radioactive gravy, Yorks pud, veg, roast potatoes and.... chips too. Very odd behaviour. Never went back.

PT Barnum said...

Mr Mongoose, you were unlucky not to also receive mashed potato and potato salad. Leicestershire folk are a little strange about spuds. It is not the crisp centre of the universe for no reason.

Dick the Prick said...

Engineering seems to have shifted from manufacturing to design. I guess that's because technology is so much better. When 90% of your job is electronic then it's bleedin' obvious, really. It's a bit hilly round here and yet still, employment seems alright. There are pockets of depreeevation but, by sounds of it, there everywhere!

Nah, don't burn down Univeristies Mr Ishmael, just dust folk down with house bricks. I went to a shithole - Scumberside Uni. Really wanted to go to Hull but never got my head round biology and went off the range for other 2 so bagged bogies. 17 wasn't my best year to say the fucking least.