Peep's Diary

December 7, 2007


Old trade union colleagues of Lord Treisman, the Minister for Students, were delighted at his appearance at The Times Higher 2007 Awards at the Grosvenor House Hotel in Mayfair. They recalled that it was just next door at Grosvenor Square where Lord Treisman, then known simply as Dave, had one of the formative experiences of his career. He was among the 8,000 or so anti-Vietnam War protesters who made such an impact one day in 1968 that the event was immortalised in the Rolling Stones' song Street Fighting Man .


Could Wes Streeting, vice-president of the National Union of Students, be considering a new career in beer? At a 1994 Group conference, Miles Templeman, former boss of both Threshers and Whitbread, commended his co- panellist on his "employability". Mr Streeting later bemoaned his failure to learn languages, but added: "After Miles's comments, I don't think I'll be worse off for it."


Watch out, X Factor finalists: a Durham University student will take on TV talent-show contestants for the festive number one slot in the pop charts. Singer/songwriter Tom Rosenthal, an anthropology student, sings his composition Smells Like Christmas Time with his band Anarchy Xmas. The song will be available via iTunes from December 10; proceeds will go to Oxfam, the NSPCC, Cancer Research UK, Shelter and Friends of the Earth. Good luck to him.


Simon Lee, the vice-chancellor of Leeds Metropolitan University, railed against "Russell Group attitudes" last week at The Times Higher's conference on market competition. He recalled how the only thing one local bigwig could find to say about Leeds Met, after waxing lyrical about Leeds University, was that it "used to be a polytechnic". Professor Lee noted that although Leeds trumps Leeds Met in sporting league tables, "in fact we've always been better than them at sport". League tables reflect "how good you are at dressage and clay-pigeon shooting", he explained, before pointing out that Leeds Met had thrashed Leeds 23-0 in a recent rugby union match.

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