Peep's Diary

December 21, 2007

Simplicity itself

So the Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills has released a "simplification plan" setting out what it is doing to "lift the burden" of unnecessary bureaucracy across its portfolio. As stated in the 35-page plan: "The first part of the simplification plan sets out some background information, together with some information on specific measures. The second part, the simplification grid, includes a progress report on the measures and commitments that were included in the simplification plans of the two former departments, and identifies a number of new measures." Unfortunately, the new measures don't contain any commitments to simplify the simplification plan. That, it would appear, is not so simple.

Last post for tradition?

The head of Salford University's School of Computing, Science and Engineering research interests range from traffic routing algorithms to firewall security. But could Nigel Linge's latest study uncover a worrying threat to the British way of life?

He fears that the Christmas card could be in danger of extinction and is carrying out a survey to ask whether "e-cards" are killing off the traditional yuletide greeting.

Professor Linge said: "I want to know whether e-cards are going to change the face of Christmas or simply fizzle out."

What's not to like?

It was an emotional sendoff last week for Paul Mackney, the former general secretary of lecturers' union Natfhe, now part of the University and College Union. It is widely accepted that he would now be leading the UCU were it not for a serious heart condition that prevented him from standing as head of the merged new union, so it was a particularly sad event to mark his departure.

But, as usual when it comes to Mr Mackney, the event was not without its humour. A This Is Your Life-style presentation recalled the tale of how he famously uncovered a husband-and-wife college management team running a pub while claiming sick pay - by trawling the pubs of Wales during a weekend trip.

But he was paid perhaps the ultimate accolade for a trade unionist by one colleague, who noted: "Unlike many union officials, he actually likes the members."

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