Thursday, March 5, 2015

Scotland’s unpopular First Minister Nicola Sturgeon launches a power grab so that the SNP can take political control of Scottish universities; SNP wants a new definition of “academic freedom”, academics start a rebellion, join the fight against fascism, join the fight against Sturgeon

Dear All

Recently you couldn’t have failed to notice the building of a fascist state in Scotland by unpopular Nicola Sturgeon and her chorts; whether it be; children having state approved named persons to watch their development or the proposal of political interfering with the running of Scottish universities to the NHS data being available to other agencies to create a backdoor ID card system.

It’s all designed for one thing and one thing only, to create a climate of fear that ‘big brother’ is watching you from birth to death.

And it is all sinister!

Some time ago, I commented on what I called ‘cuddly fascism’ which is another analogy for what the Scottish National Party term ‘civic nationalism’. Civic Nationalism is a construct that is sheer rubbish, Sturgeon says it is based around ‘social justice’ but it is really about making ‘non Scots’ into ‘Scots’ to try and build around herself a power base.

This concept as anyone with a reasonable IQ is bullshit, if you have to buy loyalty like an ice cream lolly at the supermarket, you run the risk of someone making them a better offer.

Another target for the SNP is universities, the analogy there is ‘first they came for’; well you get the picture I am sure. The SNP want to centralise control of everything in Scotland so that they can exert power into bodies under normal circumstances wouldn’t have anything to do with them. It is all about the SNP putting their place men and women into positions of power and earning a coin at the same time.

These people, the less than gifted will be telling institutions how they should think in the new order devised by a handful of people in the SNP.  Sturgeon never stops banging on about putting people in positions merely because they are the correct gender (her gender) or if they fit a certain ethnic profile or sexuality.

You may remember my famous quote of:

“If you are white working class and heterosexual you are shit out of luck dealing with the Sturgeon Empire”.

George Laird right again.

Unsurprisingly, some people don’t want ‘cuddly fascism’ some of Scotland’s most eminent universities have rebelled against SNP plans which would give ministers unprecedented political control.

Kind of like the NKVD ‘Thought Police’ which operated in Stalin’s Russia. What universities are looking at is losing their independence and losing academic freedom, when that goes, they also lose their international reputations. This makes it harder to attract top academics in their various fields who probably don’t want to end up in the equivalent of a North Korean ‘gulagesque’ environment.

You can have your perks and money as long as you obey the new order of the Sturgeon Empire.

The University of St Andrews which isn’t noted for letting the poorest in society into its hallowed halls has decided to be ‘point’ University in leading a concerted attack on the proposed legislation to overhaul the membership and appointment of governing bodies.

In the Sturgeon Empire, academics will learn a new definition of “academic freedom” and principals will be renamed as chief executive officers.

Although St Andrews says principals renamed as chief executive officers is a
“relatively trivial matter” in itself, I don’t think they grasp the scale of the problem, chief executive officers possibly won’t have to be academics.

Get the picture, a Sturgeon crony or one of the SNP power cliques could see one of their number elevated straight into academia without having any experience of running a major public institution.   

The SNP’s claim the new legislation aims to protect universities’ independence, which is rubbish, let’s face it, this is another power grab to exert Nationalist influence in Scotland which will have a detrimental effect on universities and how they are governed. It will  bring politicians very close to the governance of institutions which they declare to be autonomous, with place men and women sitting making notes about who is disloyal to the regime and when and where.

St Andrews says the plans will hinder Scottish universities’ ability to compete globally, “diminish their international strength and should be resisted”, I guess that means they won’t be getting a Xmas card from Nicola Sturgeon this year, but hey, maybe they might get a cut in their grant.

The university has decided to challenge ministers and asked them to provide evidence there are problems with how it is currently run. This isn’t about evidence, this is about dogma presented as evidence, they say it and so it must be true. Like the independence referendum, delusions are presented as facts in the hope that the gullible will take it on board.

In writing this, I am cloudy by my past experience of how I was treated at university as someone from a working class background, basically I was held in contempt, my rights weren’t respected because despite being in receipt of public money, these university management people get to lie, cheat and rob with impunity, then they go to ‘drinks’ with the politicians.

Just like tactical voting, I am choosing the lesser evil and support academic right to freedom without political interference. In the Nationalist proposals in the Higher Education Governance Bill, they want open elections for chairs of governing bodies and forcing them to appoint more women, alumni and trade unionists to make them “fully representative”.

Universities by their nature do not represent society, anyone who says otherwise needs their head examined. However, it is clear, the Sturgeon bill is all about dogma, should women be appointed solely on the basis they are women? Surely the acid test is and must always be, is the person the best candidate.
To let others in who bring with them an agenda is counter-productive and self defeating to any institution.

St Andrews in response to the plans said:

“Governmental legislation on university procedures and values risks making universities into a ‘political football’ by successive governments, which becomes itself a serious threat to responsible autonomy and academic freedom.”

They also made the point that the chair of its court is already selected by representatives of “stakeholder groups” such as students, staff and alumni, as I saw at Glasgow University, the chair can sometimes be not up to the task.

That said, in my opinion, Johnny Ball, the TV presenter was the best Rector that Glasgow University ever had, it was a great pity when he left and a loss to the students. 

Another sinister proposal is that SNP ministers want to transfer the role of the Privy Council in considering amendments to the statutes of the four ancient universities to a new “Scottish Committee”.

St Andrews straightaway objected to that bunny saying again no evidence had been supplied to demonstrate the need for the change and warned the plan “does nothing to offer increased independence from political influence.”

Joining in the list of unhappy, Aberdeen University said several of the measures “appear not to respect the autonomy of universities” and propose “highly specific” and “inappropriate interventions” in how they are run.

Glasgow University’s court say the legislation was not needed and improvements could be made using changes to an existing code of good governance. At Glasgow University, the power rests with the university management which for years has been involved in wrestling power away from the Senate body.

University of Edinburgh opposed the academic freedom definition and “strongly” backed keeping the title of “principal”.

So, unpopular Nicola Surgeon will no doubt press on with the higher education bill and it will be bad for Scottish education.

Liz Smith, Scottish Tory young people spokesman, said:

“There’s no evidence whatsoever that this Bill is needed. The Scottish Government are doing this because they want more control.”

Quite so ma’am!

The Scottish Government response to the backlash was pretty standard, they want to deliver academic ‘milk and honey’, they said it “wants to enable our universities to embrace more transparent and democratic governance principles” and it would take into account the views expressed in the submissions.

Take into account the views expressed in the submissions, that is a load of dick, the SNP don’t listen to anyone, if they agree with someone it is because they also hold the same view.

That is what the Nationalists mean by listening.

There are worrying signs of a police state developing rapidly in Scotland, I am sure there must be a grant proposal in there somewhere.

Time for a quote used earlier in the article:

“If you are white working class and heterosexual you are shit out of luck dealing with the Sturgeon Empire”.

Yours sincerely

George Laird

The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University 


Freddy said...

Like anyone else with a modicum of braincells i find the thought of more government control over a fairly independent sector alarming and nauseating.

Anonymous said...

Sturgeon is certainly not a good looking woman, how can anyone do that without the lights out

Anonymous said...

Have you got a brain. Scotland is being screwed by other parties no matter who is in. If you don't like it tough If it was the other way you would be saying this to me. Try emigrating. If they do get in (SNP) good luck to them. What says they are no better than what we have got.

Anonymous said...

Nicola really is an ugly woman up close,makes you shudder that anyone could do that one.

JF said...

Anonymous - the SNP are already 'in' as you say. 8 years now of Holyrood rule.

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