Thursday, December 10, 2009

Go Home Boys Or You're Going To Jail

As I am sure many of the readers of this blog are aware, reforms which HEFCE is currently proposing to its formula for distributing funds to British universities involve making 25% of the relevant funding depend on the demonstrable contribution of research produced by the relevant department to the general economic and social well-being of the country in the last five years. For various, quite obvious, reasons, not least of which is that it is an open invitation to bullshiting, I have signed petitions urging HEFCE not to do this. I suspect this is why I got an unsolicited email from a strange body called 'Educators for Reform' today, asking me to sign their petition opposing it. Initially, I thought this was just one of those things that happens when you sign petitions, but then I saw who it was from - Luke Tryl. That would be the same Luke Tryl who invited David "not saluting but drowning" Irving and Nick "let's deport Londoners too" Griffin to the Oxford Union as a piece of self-congratulatory, self-publicising, and frankly downright vile contrarianism, presumably. It turns out now he's working for Reform, a Tory think-tank, who are apparently trying to astro-turf support of the back of trade union sponsored petitions. The reference to crowding out private research should have given it away, I suppose, just as it shouldn't be a surprise that that's where you end up if you're a prick with the right connections. Well, they and he can both piss right off.


Sarah said...

Hi - I also got this email and sent this response. I then googled the group and found your blog ...

I might not have bothered to send the email if I'd know about the Irving/Griffin link!

"I find aspects of your manifesto very congenial but am a little less certain about others. I respond to it rather as I did to Frank Furedi's 'Where Have All The Intellectuals Gone' - which made some good and important points but took them just a bit too far from my point of view.

For example I fully support this statement:

A desire to make the
economy more productive has weakened
the intellectual content of curricula and
put into question the value of learning
for its own sake.

But I'm unsure about this one:

A wish to
make society more equal has
undermined the teaching of knowledge,
fixed syllabuses and assessment by

I'm not saying that there is no truth at all in this assertion but it somehow suggests that there's a kind of zero sum game relationship between equality and good education. I want both - I've been a little involved, for example, in the Iris Project which promotes the teaching of Latin and Greek in the state sector.

Similarly I'm not entirely sure about your use of the word 'elitist' - in a way I'm quite attracted to the statement *because* the use of the word is a bit provocative. I am reminded of the exchange in Frasier:

Frasier: 'Niles, do you think I'm elitist?'
Niles: 'Of course I do - you needn't worry about that'.

However I'm not sure what it means in practice. For example, as someone who works in a post 92 university in a very research active department, I'm concerned that research funding shouldn't be focused simply in the very top performing institutions and that universities such as mine might not be allowed to take on PhD students. Such a move would encourage many of the best staff to move away from new universities and thus compromise the experience of the students (typically from a lower socio-economic background but often bright and eager to learn) who study in such departments.

I'd be interested to hear your response.

Best wishes


badconscience said...

This is a really, really good post.

That's all I have to say.

Eloise said...

Did he also try to establish a white history month like our resident racist twat did? (incidentally a lad whose friends called him Nazi [name redacted] as a term of affection)

Rob Jubb said...

Tryl was never the resident contrarian fuck: that would imply there was only one of them. And I'm not sure he's actually a racist: he's just an over-entitled prick, who thinks the rest of the world is set up for his amusement. Whether he's as bad as OUCA, for example, I don't know.