AUT early birds were out in force 2

March 5, 2004

For those of us who have long admired your Whistleblower reports on the "lower depths" of academia, the account of AUT picketing betrayed a lack of awareness of how universities function.

The Billy Elliot "blazing braziers" model of picketing may be the way for firefighters but does not fit the "postmodernist" reality of striking at an academic institution. The purpose is not so much to deter staff and student picket-line crossers - they can stay at home - but deliveries.

Most students at fee-heavy institutions such as the London School of Economics are hostile or cluelessly indifferent to the whole proceedings, as your student interviewees showed. Deliveries tend to arrive early. Had your reporter turned up at 8am, he would have seen numerous pickets turning back postal workers and other deliveries. But then, he might have been stuck on a train.

Christopher T. Husbands
London School of Economics AUT

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