Archive for May 19th, 2010

Olympic mascots Wenlock and Mandeville branded ‘patronising rubbish’

Telegraph... they are not that different from the pic above… astonishing

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Producing the highest-quality MBAs is the unabashed aim of ‘sausage factory’ BPP. Katie Best is proud to see it deliver

My employer, BPP Business School, has been characterised by a number of critics as a “sausage factory”. It is believed that BPP represents the ultimate expression of the industrialisation of higher education. We are treated by critics as a smear on the face of UK higher education, encouraging the rationalisation of degree-level education and framing the student as merely a consumer. We are thought to make the student journey a little bit poorer because of it.

Actually, I take the “BPP is a sausage factory” criticism as a compliment – and not just because it reveals the nervousness of the establishment about the shake-ups in the sector we may prompt. Last time I looked, sausage factories were highly efficient, rational places that make money by providing consumers with a product they desire. Only a very small proportion of sausage factories make their money from churning out products of dubious quality; the rest focus their attention on making affordable, high-quality products that ensure repeat purchase.”

Times Higher Education supplement.

Do, please, read this wonderful parody.  I won’t be doing a parody – no need to… the article by Katie Best and the Poppleton University pastiche does it for me.
Our Sausage is better than yours

I spent 30 years in legal education.  I even managed to play a part in founding BPP Law School and was the first CEO  – which probably irritates the hell out of them now, given my present re-incarnation. BPP Law School and BPP Business Business School are run by the same team and owned, now, by US education firm Apollo who run the very large University of Phoenix in the States.

I am all for law schools using well produced course materials, multi-media;  even bringing some structure into teaching and deploying modern technology.  The last thing we need is students being churned through a professional course like sausages because that gives rise to minced brains and in these days minced brains are not going to do the work needed to the standards demanded.  Education is more than process.  Education is about learning, thinking, reflecting and taking responsibility oneself – owning the material being covered,  and using it to lay the foundation of a successful (and happy) career thereafter.

Let us just hope that Ms Best’s sausage machine thinking hasn’t escaped and jumped over the wall into BPP Law School – or has it…?  Anyone studying at BPP Law School who would like to tell me what it is like these days only needs to email me!  (Email)  Confidentiality guaranteed…. good or bad.

Why am I thinking of Pink Floyd.. We don’t need no EDUKASHEN… Teacher.. leave the kids alone ?

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The speech by Nick Clegg this morning is remarkable for two reasons – firstly, if he can pull it off with Coalition support and not be blocked by disenfranchised and disenchanted right wing elements in the Conservative party,  it will be a truly remarkable achievement and, secondly, that it took a Liberal-Conservative government to achieve it.

The text of  the speech promises many things, including – the scrapping of the ID and biometric passport requirement, a tightening of DNA rules, the proper regulation of CCTV and use of terror legislation and a wholesale revision and repeal of oppressive and unnecessary terror legislation.

Nick Clegg made a very pertinent point – that many of the more repressive laws brought in over the last 13 years have not, in fact, made us safer on the streets.

The text of this excellent speech, if you have not read it, is here.

‘Al-Qaeda operative’ can stay in UK despite posing threat, judge rules

The Times reports: The leader of an al-Qaeda terrorist cell that plotted a bomb atrocity in Britain will not be deported after a tribunal ruled that his human rights would be breached if he were ill treated by Pakistan’s security services. Mr Justice Mitting said that although it was “conducive to the public good that he should be deported” this was not possible because of the risk that he would suffer torture at the hands of Pakistan’s notorious Inter-Services Intelligence Agency (ISI).

In his first major set-piece speech to launch the Liberal-Conservative programme of political reform, Mr Clegg said, “The law is very clear that it is wrong to deport people where there is risk that they will be seriously mistreated, tortured or even killed.”  (Times)  Nick Clegg is certainly sticking to his principles – and I have no difficulty at all in applauding him for that.

Far from being a blight on on our law, the Human Rights Act is law of which we can all be proud providing, as it does, a clear legal structure that to protect the individual from the state. It is ironic that some  right wing Tories want a wholesale revision of this into some form of British Bill of Rights – a proposal described by the now Lord Chancellor, Ken Clarke, as ‘xenophobic and legal nonsense’.  The European Convention on Human Rights is  a largely British construct – some say, part of Churchill’s legacy.  Perhaps some hard line Tories are unaware of this history?

It may well be that the Human Rights can be improved and it is right that a Commission be appointed to examine how the law could be improved.  Unfortunately, a failure to prosecute the ‘Al-Qaeda operatives’ before a jury has resulted in a rather curious situation where a High Court judge – doing the job he is appointed to do – applies the law and while admitting that the man is a danger to society he could not deport him because of the risk that he would suffer torture at the hands of Pakistan’s notorious Inter-Services Intelligence Agency (ISI).  Theresa May will have to find another way of dealing with this – and she shows every intention, in a measured way as far as I can see from reports, of doing so.

While judges do, occasionally, get the law wrong and may well give out sentences which do not suit the crime or, possibly, the bloodlust of the extreme right, they don’t make that many mistakes and it is hardly fair to criticise a judge for applying the law correctly as it presently stands.  That is what judges do.  They decide cases according to the law of England & Wales.  Would that it were otherwise?  Mr Justice Mitting is not ‘shredding our human rights at the expense of a terrorist’ as Andy Hayman, a former Assistant Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police,  seemed to be suggesting in the Times this morning – Mr Justice Mitting is applying the law as it stands.   If we want to change the law – at the risk of stating the bleeding obvious (but it does seem to be necessary given the nonsense in some papers this morning) the proper place is our elected Parliament – as our MPs and most  well know.

Shami Chakrabarti, Director of Liberty, rightly (in my view) said the proper course of action in the case of these students would be to put them on trial before a jury for terrorist offences and if the evidence supports a guilty verdict, convict them according to law,  and  punish according to law.

The hearing yesterday in the SIAC court was to hear an appeal against deportation. The students were not prosecuted for terrorism offences because there was no evidence of explosives or bomb making equipment.   The Times states that ‘The court ruled that it was not safe to send them back to Pakistan – even though on the basis of the evidence, not disclosed, both men were a threat to national security.”

Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights prohibits inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, and British courts have ruled that this means that Britain cannot deport people to places where this might happen.  the men will now be subject to control orders.

The whole issue of secret evidence, intercept evidence and terrorism prosecutions needs to be examined.  For the present we have a situation where rare anomalies of this nature can occur.  That is no reason for throwing the baby out of or with the bath water.

I was talking to @thegreatignored this morning – a man of wisdom. He told me that some people’s knees jerked so violently they end up kicking themselves in the head.  I could not put it more eloquently



This analysis by Pragmatist is well worth a read

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Podcast: Big Society 9.05 am – William Hague is in The Diary room

Download the podcast


(7.08 minutes)

The part of Big Society was played by Charon.  The part of William Hague was played by @thegreatignored

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And Parliament opens with the very best of Nick n Dave

nuff said guvnor edition….  or as they might say… given that Gertcha means bugger off / get out of here…… “Bugger orf….”

I do approve of OddbinsDirect… they say that caffeine halts Alzheimer.  I never forget where my red wine is.  I am delighted that Luke Skywalker and Data from Startrek are running the country and that my local off licence is but a short walk away…

And as the Chas & Dave song goes….


Rabbit, rabbit …..(repeat)

You got a beautiful chin,
You got beautiful skin,
You got a beautiful face,
You got taste

You got beautiful eyes,
You got beautiful thighs,
You got a lot, without a doubt,
But I’m thinkin’ bout blowin you out,

With apologies to Chas & Dave

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