The great don deficit

Laurie Taylor's weekly bulletin from the University of Poppleton

May 7, 2015

Source: Getty

Yesterday afternoon, our university formally informed all media outlets that it had exhausted its supply of political scientists.

It seemed that the Head of our Politics Department, Professor D. W. B. Townboy, was fully engaged on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme explaining the constitutional implications of a coalition between the Labour Party and the right wing of Plaid Cymru.

Matters became even more critical when it was revealed that the department’s solitary expert on voting patterns, Dr A. J. P. Marmoset, was unable to accept any more on-screen media invitations after having accidentally impaled himself on the business end of the Channel 4 News swingometer.

Neither was any assistance available from early medieval guild specialist Dr Charlotte Settler, who had been recruited by Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour to talk in rather general terms about women’s things in the election.

At the last minute, however, this deficiency in expert opinion was partially remedied by Janet Tombs, the Politics Department Secretary, who felt able to confide in a reporter from Andrew Neil’s This Week that, in her candid view, political scientists were all as bad as each other and were only in it for themselves and were all more likely to fiddle their travel expenses than to say anything reliable about the likely election result.

(Download the full interview with Janet at our website.)


Student choice: whatever next?

“We are all standing on the edge of a very slippery cliff.”

That was the mixed apocalyptic metaphor chosen by Nancy Harbinger, our Deputy Head of Student Experience, when she responded to a research study by the National Education Opportunities Network that revealed that 40 per cent of current student applicants to university would respond to the Labour Party’s pledge to introduce £6,000 tuition fees by choosing a course that they “would like to do” rather than the one that they had currently chosen.

Ms Harbinger said that this news threatened to undermine our own university’s ethical commitment to promoting those courses with proven economic viability. But it also signalled a possible return to the “bad old days” when students regarded something called “enjoyment” as a more significant component of a course than its occupational outcome.

(Ms Harbinger still has “a soft spot” for David Willetts.)


Your local candidate

All campus eyes this evening will be upon the declaration for Poppleton West, where one of our leading academics, Mr Ted Odgers, is standing as the Smash the Bosses candidate.

Mr Odgers, who has stood in previous elections as a candidate for both the Third International Party and the Single Minded Trotskyist Alliance, is calling, among other things, for the nationalisation of everything, for state-funded higher education and for the public execution of Tony Blair. He is widely expected to make about the same impact on the voters of Poppleton West as he did in the recent research excellence framework exercise.


Thought for the week

(contributed by Jennifer Doubleday, Head of Personal Development)

Although I recognise that the slogan “Liar Liar” has been adopted by the National Union of Students as a way of recalling the Liberal Democrats’ broken pledge on tuition fees, I regret that its scrawled appearance on the side of our ecumenical chapel has inadvertently provided some considerable succour to campus atheists.

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