Former Prime Minister Tony Blair claims he was not offended at being omitted from the guest list for the Royal Wedding. Just as he wasn’t offended at being snubbed for the EU Presidency, presumably.
Friday, 29 April 2011
Thursday, 28 April 2011
Middlesex University has been awarded the prestigious Queen’s Award for Enterprise. According to the Barnet Times, the award was given for “outstanding achievement in international trade and is a reflection of the university’s commercial success”.
In 2004, rent-a-gob Tory councillor Brian Coleman described Middlesex University as “crap”. Middlesex had applied for permission to expand the Trent Park campus in Southgate, leading Coleman to remark: “Why should the people of north London suffer in order to attract hundreds of foreign students? They are such a crap university they only attract foreign ones.”
Four years later, Middlesex awarded Coleman an honorary degree, apparently for his ‘outstanding’ commitment to the community. One can only assume that the University was being ironic. Nevertheless Coleman accepted the award, despite the obvious hypocrisy in so doing. But whilst he is renowned for being obnoxious and outspoken, he is not known for turning down a reception where free canapés are on offer.
Hopefully, Middlesex will continue to win many more such awards in the coming years, proving once again how detached Brian Coleman is from reality.
Nick Clegg has accused Prime Minister David Cameron of lying in the debate over the electoral reform referendum. Would this be the same Nick Clegg who promised to vote against any increase in university tuition fees before the General Election last year, only to agree to triple the cost once his grubby mitts were on the reigns of power?
The LibDems came third in the election, yet now hold the balance of power. Under AV, this nightmare scenario will be repeated at every election, irrespective of whether Labour or the Conservatives win the largest number of seats. Unless you enjoy seeing odious liars like Clegg in office, vote No on May 5th!
Friday, 15 April 2011
Wednesday, 13 April 2011
Prime Minister David Cameron has been widely criticised for his idiotic and erroneous claim that only one black student was admitted to Oxford University in 2009.
Typically, however, the Gruaniad has widened the ensuing debate to include the ‘disproportionate’ number of undergraduates at our leading universities who were educated in the private sector.
Universities must be allowed to set their own admissions criteria. If students from the state sector are not considered to be good enough for the rigour of academic study, then the solution must be to improve the standard of state schools, rather than lower the admissions threshold. It is not the fault of Universities if state schools are not producing enough suitable candidates.
In a civilised society, we no longer discriminate on the grounds of race, religion, gender or sexuality. Unfortunately, the trendy lefties who run this country would like to eliminate discrimination on the grounds of ability as well!
If discrimination (perceived or genuine) is to be eliminated from the university application process, then the simple and obvious solution is for all questions regarding ethnicity and previous schooling to be deleted. Instead, all candidates should be considered anonymously and on their merits alone. How radical!
By the way, Mr Cameron. How many black MPs are there in your Cabinet?
Last week, the press reported the death of Nan Maitland, who took her own life at the Dignitas clinic in Switzerland. Mrs Maitland was 84 years old and suffering from arthritis, but she was not terminally ill.
Her death re-opened the debate on assisted suicide and the ‘right to die’ and the national press has published many letters on both sides of the debate.
One such letter in the Sunday Times is of particular interest to lingusists:
It is, of course, possible that Ms MacLeod meant something entirely different, and perhaps her words were crudely edited by the newspaper. However, the most obvious interpretation of the above letter is rather shocking: “If I was you, I would kill myself.”
Sunday, 10 April 2011
The Icelandic people have sent a very strong message to their government who wanted taxpayers to bail out the private bank Landsbanki: “F**k Off”.
When Landsbanki (operating in the UK as Icesave) collapsed in October 2008, the British and Dutch Governments decided to reimburse depositors, and now expect the Icelandic Government to reimburse them to the tune of £3.4 billion. The only snag was that Icelandic President Olafur Ragnar refused to sign the repayment deal agreed by his Parliament. This triggered an automatic referendum in March 2010. 93% of Icelandic voters supported their President and rejected the proposed repayment deal.
Like the corrupt and undemocratic EU, the Icelandic Government could not accept the will of the people, and another referendum has now been held. Once again, the overwhelming majority of voters have rejected the terms on offer. Icelandic taxpayers have stated clearly and unequivocally that they do not wish to bail out private banks which were badly run.
People who invested in Landsbanki did so at their own risk. The reason Icesave paid much higher rates of interest than traditional banks was because of the greater risk attached. Their economy was going to hell in a handcart, but if depositors were too stupid to check where they placed their money, why should those of us who are more prudent with our finances be expected to bail them out?
In a similar vein, British taxpayers have been forced to bail out Greece, Ireland and now Portugal, whose respective governments were even more profligate than ours under the Brown/Darling regime. The British government has no democratic mandate to give our money away. We are not members of the single currency and it is not our responsibility to rescue basket case economies.
The Government has introduced an austerity package to deal with our crippling budget deficit. Domestic public spending has to be cut, yet at the same time as soldiers in Afghanistan are being made redundant whilst risking their lives, money can still be found to piss away on this failed European project.
The people of Iceland have done a great service to democracy by reminding their politicians who is in charge. To them I say: Ég heilsa hugrekki, styrk þinn og indefatigability þinn (I salute your courage, your strength, and your indefatigability).
Oxford University has conducted extensive research amongst more than 17,000 people which shows that girls who had read books at age 16 had a 39 per cent probability of a professional or managerial post at 33, but only a 25 per cent chance if they had not. For boys who read regularly, the figure went up from 48 per cent to 58 per cent.
The news is likely to be welcomed by Education Secretary Michael Gove, who was mocked recently by trendy lefties following his call for school children to read 50 books a year.
Notwithstanding that this study was carried out by one of our most eminent universities, it begs the question as to the usefulness of such research. For most people, the results will be nothing more than a statement of the bleedin’ obvious. There can be little doubt that reading litereature expands your mind, even if it is only Jane Austen’s Emma rather than a proper sci-fi novel.
Saturday, 9 April 2011
As a Middlesex student, it was somewhat disconcerting to read that the university has been fined £1.4 million for recruiting too many students. This was part of an £8 million package of fines handed out to 19 universities by the Higher Education Funding Council for England.
How will the university pay this fine? Hopefully, the money can be found by reducing bureaucracy - there is no publicly funded institution in the country which does not waste money in one area or another. However, if sufficient savings cannot be made, will Middlesex join the growing ranks of universities proposing to charge the maximum £9,000 a year to new students from next year, or will the existing teaching budgets be cut back?
Business Secretary Vince Cable has now issued a threat of further cutbacks in funding and student places. This is the same Vince Cable who stood for election last year having made a cast iron pledge to vote against any increase in university fees. For all the years the LibDems were in opposition, they argued for an increase in public expenditure for education. Once their grubby mitts were on the reigns of power, they proved themselves to be the lying sanctimonious hypocrites many of us always suspected them to be.
What is particularly unpleasant about this, is that when Labour first introduced university tuition fees, having promised not to do so, the Conservatives bitterly opposed the decision. They too have betrayed their consciences.
Every Member of Parliament who accepted without compunction a university education paid for by the taxpayer, should be required to reimburse the Treasury for the cost of their tuition now that they have voted to deny the same rights and privileges to everyone else.
Friday, 8 April 2011
The internet acronym LOL (laugh out loud) has now entered the Oxford English Dictionary.
Those of us who are able to refrain from laughing out loud, use the same acronym to mean ‘lots of laughs’, notwithstanding that ‘lots’ is a word best avoided amongst language purists.
Writers of a more romantic disposition prefer it to mean ‘lots of love’.
For a history of the meaning of LOL and other internet acronyms, click here and you will find yourself ROFPYL!