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ISSUE No 92 ESTABLISHED 1993 14 June 1995
LANCASTER - LONDON - PARIS - VIENNA - NEW YORK - TORONTO - MELBOURNE - TOKYO
Vancouver Oxford Cambridge Bristol Nottingham Brighton Sheffield Leeds Berkeley
Keele Loughborough Port-Moresby Blackburn Marburg Casuarina Bangkok Olympia(Wa)
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Please address all correspondence to InkyText@lancaster.ac.uk
| ADMINISTRATOR OF THE YEAR AND SHIRTS |
| Listen, puhleeze... feminist readers are begged to note that clean gar- |
| ments of any sort satisfy the entry requirements for the contest. |
| Shirts are unisex. Or is it only American women who refer to blouses |
| and tops as 'shirts'? In any case rugby shirts, for example, look far |
| better on women than on the likes of Will Carling. This is a strictly non|
| sexist journal. In 1969 a French gf borrowed a shirt of mine to use as |
| a nightdress. Never got it back. The nomination of female administrators|
| is POSITIVELY ENCOURAGED, though so far there have been only males nomin-|
| -ated, all but one proposed by women.... Let the protests cease. |
Minutes, Amendments and Matters arising
1. News: Bloomsday, New VC, Library, Management School, Catering, CVCP
2. Information Systems Committee Minutes: Lightning, Registration, Rooms
3. What is Lancaster University,III: Where Do Baby Universities Come From?
4. Readers' Letters: Educational Research, SCAN, Body-piercing, Shirts,
Health, Scientists for Labour, Administrators,
Catering, Colour printers, Free Speech.
MINUTES, AMENDMENTS AND MATTERS ARISING:
Usual crop of typos in early editions last time. Worst for a while.
All easily corrected by alert readers like yourself. Apologies.
Professor Shepherd did indeed wish to stand as a candidate for Pro-VC
but his nomination was found to be unacceptable. Not sure if he was the
only such case. This seems partly to conflict with earlier reports that
the VC hoped the post would be contested. Or he retains the power
effectively to select the contestants.
TODAY IS BLOOMSDAY, anniversary of the date in 1904 on which the
events of James Joyce's Ulysses take place. Dublin-based Joyceans can
celebrate at the Martello Tower by having a gorgonzola sandwich and a
glass of burgundy, followed by a visit to a whorehouse. Guinness is not
compulsory and we have no subscribers in Ireland anyhow.
Last Sunday was Trinity Sunday, 6 weeks after Easter. Catholic readers
who haven't confessed and taken communion since Easter 1994 are
reminded that they are now, like the rest of us, in a state of mortal
LATEST LIBRARY EXTENSION DISASTERS: Signs of movement on site at last
but unconvincing noises about where the money to finish off the thing
is to come from. The Director of Finance formally asked for his belief
that the project's management was financially out of control to be
minuted. How on earth did we manage to borrow 35 million without being
able to pay to complete the first major new buildings properly.
No one seems to refer to the thing as LISP any longer. That stood for
LIBRARY AND INFORMATION PROJECT. The scandal is that the
computing money, needed to future-proof the whole concept of a library,
was first moved from the building cost into furnishing to make the
thing look cheaper. Since then it seems to have disappeared.
At least the whole place (old and new Library) is being re-wired and
there will now be carpets, lighting, tables and chairs. NB: Memo to
Professor Aberdcrombie: if the VAT wheeze is successful *information
technology must have first call on it*. Please try not to let the
project group forget it.
PROFESSOR ABERCROMBIE'S ELEVATION meanwhile creates a vacancy for a
new Dean (Undergraduate Studies). Professors Whitaker and Quainton have
again been mentioned and further suggestions from a wider field are
PROFESSOR RITCHIE, our next Vice-Chancellor, was visiting campus on
Tuesday and Wednesday. The VC hosted a meal for him on Tuesday to which
the University good and not so good were invited. On Wednesday several
of the "great" were seen besuited and heading in the direction of
GRADUATE MANAGEMENT SCHOOL: Major under-used resource scandal here.
The 'School', complete with a view of the photogenic spiral staircase,
was featured in The Times' piece on graduate schools on Wednesday. Went
to inspect yesterday. Silent and empty except for cleaners (scarcely
needed, two receptionists, 3 students chatting in a 40 seater Syndicate
Room and a set of John Crooke lecture hand-outs. Meanwhile the
malodorous and ill-ventilated ASH refectory was full of examinees as
The glorious top-floor open-plan graduate work room mentioned by The
Times now has 20 desks and 20 top-quality Health & Safety-approved
swivel computer chairs. Still only 7 visible phone/data points though,
all miles away from the desks. The room next door has half-a-dozen
semi-ready new PCs. The lecture theatres are plush and superbly
equipped. The building was completed at Christmas and will be opened by
Princess A. in a month. Steer clear of the unused toilets: the door
lock jams. A great place to work in total peace and quiet.
DR DW ALLAN is puzzling over the choice of a partner to accompany him
to a graduation lunch with the Chancellor. He hasn't asked for help but
suggestions are invited.
RALPH GIBSON should be online from this afternoon (Friday), but still
needs a crash course in e-mail. His username is hiaerbg and mail should
be addressed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
ALL BEST WISHES TO JOYCE HENDERSON, Press and Public Relations, who
leaves today to become head of the Information and Press Office at
Strathclyde University, which seems not even to have email.
TEACHING FACILITIES: Don't forget to return the suggestions and
complaints form about lecture and seminar rooms just sent out by Oliver
Westall's Truss Committee, TSSC (Teaching Support Services). Plenty of
moans about insufficient computer teaching labs, please, plus lack of
dimmer switches and furnishings vastly inferior to those of the unused
Grad School's empty lecture theatres.
COLLECT YOUR COPY OF CVCP NEWS from the foyer of University House. The
usual kind of press release stuff. A fairly typical piece of PR,
attractively designed as always but with the tediously self-indulgent
content one expects from free self-promotional house journals.
The cartoon is appalling and the piece on IT by the Strathclyde VC is
feeble and pointless. Nice set of ready-punched filing card briefing
points for anyone wishing to argue for more public funding. Report on
John Wakford's 'Civic impact' conference held at the hotel.
Extraordinary note about the 'we are a charity' warning that must
appear in all advertisements if we are to claim exemption from paying
VAT on them.
BARS: Professor Shennan and Gay Webb met this week to consider
suggestions for organisational reform submitted by various parties. The
proposal they plan to put to Council is thought to involve a new-style
Bars Committee and the appointment of a manager located somewhere in
University House. Mewanwhile an old-style Bars Committee working party
is looking at later opening hours.
CATERING TRAINING: News of a training test which the catering staff
have to fill in when the prices are changed. e.g.: "How much is a half
portion of chips" - answer - we don't do them and other questions about
prices, portion control etc.
"We feel like we're back at school" one commented, "if they're not
careful they're going to lose more customers". Complaints that water is
officially not served with meals in Penn's Restaurant (George Fox
Building) from a reader who asks if this is lawful.
2. INFORMATION SYSTEMS COMMITTEE MINUTES
Worries that we don't have a back-up computer network. It would cost
about 350K. VC concerned about lack of adequate lightning protection
for the existing network. (Building in 100% redundancy is sound
planning if you can afford it. The Navy do it in war, which is why the
loss of the Atlantic Conveyor didn't prove fatal to the Falklands
operation. Universities try to maximize use of everything they've got -
otherwise equipment committees say we don't need any more.)
Peter Fielding (Finance) is to develop a Prophecy user system.
Student record problems attributed to departments tolerating endless
exceptional schemes, but still expecting that Student Services would hit
on and follow up the intolerable ones. Professor Davies highlighted:
"the relatively low levels of awareness in academic staff of
regulation detail pertaining to these schemes, a significant degree of
inconsistency between scheme regulations, and the common ad-hoc
relaxation of these regulations within schemes".
A large number (over 1200) of course registration changes are notified
to Student Services only at the time of examination registration. These
affect the department that does not receive the fte credit associated
with each registration.
The replacement Assistant Director to implement MIS may not be in
place before October.
Three people left and there was no time to discuss the rest of the
agenda properly. The Librarian's paper on Integrated Information
Systems is to be left in abeyance (despite criticisms) pending a pilot
project involving Geography, Educational Research and Sociology.
Plans to network all future student residences and include the cost in
buildings estimates, plus a company bid to supply phone lines to all
student rooms at no cost to the university.
A working group on Computer Security (Jeremy Boreham, the Internal
Auditor, the SIGS coordinator, Stephen Breuer, chair: the University
Secretary) is to bring forward an agreed Policy document to the next
Congratulations to minute-taker John Gallagher on his wholesome and
lucid Ulster prose.
A more exciting group, chaired by Dean of Research John Urry and
infused with inspiration by Tam Rodden, (secretary the Academic
Registrar) has met to consider how to exploit being in a European pilot
area for online networked applications. It has considered establishing
an 'Applied Computing Centre'. Full report plus loads of ideas next
3. WHAT IS THE UNIVERSITY OF LANCASTER?: A Guide for Council Members
PART III: Where do baby universities come from?
The oldest universities (Salerno, Bologna, Montpellier, Paris) were
seminaries started by religious orders. We have all become less
monastic since then. Some of our newest are limited companies, their
governors having decided they should become so when they were liberated
from local authority tutelage in 1992.
Lancaster is a university established by Royal Charter. A charter is a
special kind of legal enactment by which a state confers on an
independent body exclusive rights, powers and obligations. The East
India company had one, so do many learned societies, some open-air
markets and the odd toll-bridge owner. The Hanseatic League used to be
keen on them, so was the Papacy.
Our Royal Charter is dated 1964. We indirectly owe our existence to
the 1963 Robbins Report, which advocated that Higher Education be made
available to everyone with the ability to benefit from it. Like Sussex,
York, Kent and Warwick we were conceived in the dying months of
Macmillan's government, gestated during the brief reign of Alec Douglas
Home, and launched into the dawn of the first Labour government for 13
years, which seemed a long time in those days.
E II R apposed her Seal and Sign manual to our Charter on 'the
fourteenth day of September in the thirteenth year of Our Reign'
(1964). Ask the University Secretary if you can see it sometime. You
can also find the text in the little-publicised work called 'The
University of Lancaster Calendar 1994-95', a copy of which is with the
prospectuses in the Library. Even some very senior staff have never
heard of it.
Our Charter is a very up-market kind of mission statement, but worlds
away from the vainglorious and cliche-ridden trivia which masquerade
under that tawdry title.
'Mission statements', like their name, are borrowed from the fatuous
world of business management and inspired by the American military (cf
terms like 'task force', 'situation report', 'target' or even
'strategic plan'). They are written in biz-speak, a mish-mash of
ill-digested epistemological abstractions, expressed in an obscurantist
semi-literate jargon. It is fairly safe to assume that people who speak
like that have never had a clear or original thought either.
Recent gullible governments, together with the inferior civil servants
they have promoted to high office, see such pretentious nonsense as an
organisational requirement. Even universities have kow-towed to their
silliness, often with less detached scepticism than they should.
Our Charter, however, is couched in the rhetoric of old-style
parliamentary diplomacy, sonorous and solemn, transparent yet legally
precise. It declares that We, Elizabeth, binding our heirs and
successors, have established a university in our City and County
Palatine of Lancaster, and that henceforth forever hereafter it shall
be 'one Body Politic and Corporate with perpetual succession and a
Common Seal by the name and style of 'The University of Lancaster'".
The Charter declares that our purpose is 'to advance knowledge, wisdom
and understanding by teaching and research, and by the example and
influence of our corporate life'. Pretty good stuff, eh? Quite noble
really. Very hard to disagree. Definite improvement on the windily
pretentious waffle and lies about alleged 'excellence' that you find in
the average cheapo mission statement.
It declares we shall be both a teaching and an examining body and
empowers us to do all manner of lawful things, especially providing
instruction, preserving, advancing and disseminating knowledge,
awarding degrees and making rules to govern our members.
It names all the first senior officers, of whom only the first (the
Chancellor) is still in post. It ensures we shall have bicameral (two
chamber) government, with a Senate handling all academic matters and a
Council responsible for the money and giving the local community a say
in our affairs.
It also says, for example, that we shall have Colleges, and that they
shall each have a Syndicate which shall be a committee of the Senate.
We have stretched that bit to the limit and certainly defeat at least
the spirit of the clause. Senate has now effectively delegated
collegiate matters to the College and Student Support Board, which is a
joint committee of Senate and Council. Ratification of its decisions,
e.g. on bars, seems invariably to come from Council alone. Dodgy.
All just words, of course, since Parliament can amend or repeal any
law. Not for nothing is Albion called 'perfidious'. Indeed we ourselves
can ignore the lot if no one is going to complain or make a fuss, as
with changing our name and turning Boards of Study into Faculties. And
a Special Resolution of Council can even invite HM to change it.
Still - Charters are a wee bit more embarrassing for governments to
tamper with. Maybe. Repealing a Charter even involves ceremonially
destroying the Royal Seal with a silver hammer kept specially for this
purpose by (I think) the Clerk to the Privy Council. Or possibly the
Lord Chancellor. (Must ask him next time we meet in Church).
Americans sometimes enquire whether we are a 'private' or a 'state'
'school'. The answer is neither: we are British and the Charter makes
us INDEPENDENT. In a very British way of course. This doesn't oblige
any government to fund us however, and clearly there is always the
matter of paying pipers and calling tunes.
Traditionally the University Grants Committee was the buffer which
kept us at arm's length from government. Its successors, the UFC and
the HEFC(E), are a different sort of funding council, specially
designed to give central control and to ensure that some wishes of the
Secretary of State of the day are implemented. The same thing has
happened to schools, the NHS and the BBC as Britain becomes ever more
At least we are still marginally more independent than, for example,
French universities, which, like French schools and their curriculum,
the Department for Education admires so much and understands so little.
They are striving to acquire some of the freedom and collegiality they
have long envied in their British counterparts.
From 1806 until the 'Loi Edgar Faure' of 1969 there was really only
one French university, called l'Universite'. It was a branch of the
Ministry of Education, which determined degree schemes, syllabus and
examinations. Its teaching establishments in Paris and the provinces
were all merely 'Faculties' and French students in those days always
referred to going to university as "entrer en faculte'". Hence the
perfectly accurate 1968 Canard Enchai^ne' headline "Le gouvernement a
perdu contro^le de ses faculte's".
Still... another vestige of true independence is embedded in our
Charter, which provides that within limits we shall be SELF-GOVERNING,
and endows us with Statutes for that purpose. These lay down some
constitutional rules governing all members of the institution and
determine how we must conduct our affairs.
The Statutes were granted by the Privy Council at the same time as the
Charter was signed. They were drafted on behalf of the Privy Council by
the late Lord Ashby, FRS (then Sir Eric Ashby), Master of Clare
College, Cambridge and prior to that VC of Queen's Belfast. Shortly
afterwards he became Vice-Chancellor of Cambridge.
Eric Ashby was a polymathic botanist who had been one kind or another
of scientific advisor to every government from Churchill's wartime
cabinet onwards. He was educated at Imperial College and Chicago,
became a Reader at Bristol, held chairs at Sidney and Manchester,
chaired more national committees and received more honorary doctorates
than most people have fingers and toes. He had also written about
universities as well as Botany and even compiled a German dictionary.
On his retirement, Cornell appointed him Professor-at-large (everyone's
He knew a thing or two about universities and was very wise. Unlike
many of his eminence he also thought before he wrote. He died two years
ago. One of his sons, Professor Michael Farries Ashby, holds the Royal
Society research chair in Engineering at Cambridge.
Thanks to Lord Ashby's wisdom and vast experience of universities
and public life, our Statutes clearly establish and delimit the
functions and powers of all our major officers and committees. They
are, as President De Gaulle said about the constitution of the Fifth
Republic, a bit like the Paris Opera: a bizarre construction but one
admirably suited to its purpose. Some of the apparently pedantic
clauses have often revealed their value in times of crisis.
Unlike the Charter, the Statutes can be modified, on our submission or
by government edict. This has happened. A few years ago legal
Commissioners were appointed and asked to revise all statutes with the
intention, inter alia, of making it easier to dismiss redundant staff.
Fairly unanimous comments on their draft proposals were totally ignored
without reply and amendments were enacted.
The result of these, some believe, has often been to make it even
harder to dismiss redundant staff. The main visible change was the
introduction of a procedure for the dismissal of Vice-Chancellors.
[PART IV: 'What the Statutes say' appears shortly.]
4. READERS' LETTERS
Inkytext 91 contains, for the second time, your suggestion that
Educational Research is unwilling to be moved into the Faculty of
Education for reasons of "intellectual snobbery". I am less than clear
just what this phrase is meant to convey - I haven't heard anyone use
it for at least twenty years.
Your readers should know that the Department was specifically asked by
the University to address the question of its relationship to the
Faculty of Education in its "self-assessment". We made it clear that
our reasons for wishing to remain in the Faculty of Social Sciences
are positive ones.
We have numerous close links - in research and teaching, undergraduate
and postgraduate - with other Social Science departments, which both we
and they, so we understand, greatly value. Many of these would be far
harder, if not impossible, to sustain from a base in a different
Faculty. At the same time we are also happily involved in a growing
number of collaborative activities with Faculty of Education
departments. Nothing snobbish about that, I think.
For the record, as they say, the Academic Review Panel "saw no good
reason to think that the Department would be better situated in the new
Faculty" (page 10, para 28), and the report strongly recommends that we
should stay put for the foreseeable future. It also encourages us to
continue developing our mutual interests with the Faculty of Education
- as we will.
And finally, it suggests that other departments might well follow our
example in finding ways of collaborating with the new Faculty. How about
the School of Modern Languages, to take an example entirely at random? Or -
in another phrase from my youth - does it take an intellectual snob to know
[NOTE: Aow! :-) Guilty. Afraid that may well be true. However the
reasons you adduce correspond exactly to what I had in mind and I don't
find them remotely convincing. No one need ask you to move physically,
and the role of our fledgling faculties, essentially a way of devolving
financial and administrative controls, don't prevent you pursuing
whatever inter-faculty interests you wish - as indeed you announce your
intention to do.
The Review Committee and APB no doubt share your department's
attitude, though maybe a bit of intellectual snobbery would be a virtue
in such bodies. I did however hear a whisper that some thought you had
sought reassurances on the matter with too much zeal for the honest
among them to feel entirely happy. Surely you'd agree that many people
outside the university might find it a little... unusual. Notice you
don't mention funding at all.... (Ed.)]
I am glad that the story about Peter Elliott and the County piano is
beginning to emerge as more than a rumour. The Scan tradition of
investigative reporting may well be slightly sub-Insight (circa Harold
Evans' editorship of the Sunset Times), but I can assure everyone that,
next year, all misdemeanours will be pursued with the speed of a rat up
a drainpipe as soon as we know of them. A journalist is only as good as
As it stands, the whole piano epsiode just goes to prove my theory
that Union hacks aren't as much fun as they used to be.
SCAN Editor elect.
Thought you might wish to make one of your (in)famous comments on
the following quote which appeared today in the Globe and Mail, Canada's
national newspaper, under the whimsical section called Social Studies with
a sub-title, 'Scholastic Notes'......
"Subjects taught to British students in certain courses: body
piercing, every day language (Lancaster University);"
Tell me it isn't so.
It was a mild relief to see the juxtaposition with the following,
"watching television, shopping (University of East London); kite
history (Thames Valley University); knitting skills (Nottingham Trent
[NOTE: Yes, the story did the rounds. Interesting options. The
body-piercing came from Culture and Communication. What's the problem?
At least the Canadian version allows for these to be units and 1/2
units rather than degree schemes (which is what the Daily Mail seemed
to imagine). The historico-culturo-psycho-socio-anthropological study
of body piercing seems a big enough topic to me, even if you leave out
the aesthetics, linguistics and surgery. (Ed.)]
Take slight exception to one of the criteria being 'clean shirts' as
it seems to indicate unusual and unexpected gender bias on the part of
InkyText! Would like to make a nomination however - the Administrator
of the Year 1995 HAS to be Dr David Allan without a shadow of a doubt.
He fulfills all the criteria and more. Admin's loss is IS's gain.
It is not only a question of whether one arrives more promptly by car,
commuting almost 20 miles by bus may seem crazy to some, but the
journey from S, Lakeland to Lancaster bus station takes approx an hour,
the second leg up to the university can take 35 minutes! (All that car
traffic in the city!). BUT - the journey is relaxing, travelling
through glorious countryside most of the way, plenty of time for
thinking and planning PROVIDED you decide not to be frustrated by
traffic holdups - it's all down to the driver to get you there. Except
for the univ leg of the journey the bus it not usually crowded, you get
to know fellow passengers in that largely detached British manner: i.e.
you acknowledge, then retreat into your own reverie. The really healthy
bit is that it's stress-free.
[NOTE: I think some temperaments would find the reverse. (Ed.)]
Exercise possibilities: why doesn't the Sports Centre put on some
gentle activities for 'older' or less fit members of staff? I'm past
aerobics (of any variety), and dislike swimming, especially as my
modest speed frustrates all those who count lengths in the 20+ league.
But some pleasant gentle exercise, stretching etc, would do a lot for
my longterm fitness as I come up to retirement!
Mo Boots, KTR UNit
I will dutifully fill in my Health Action Form, but wonder how my
contribution to promoting a HEATHY environment will be monitored.
Presumably as I will not be cycling to work (too far), nor bussing (no
buses) but using my little but polluting mini, the noxious gases will
destroy the trees and I will win Newsview's gold star of the week.
PIERRE VICTOIRE has 'vegetarian Pierre Lapin and a Chez Jules
Is it just me or is there an allusion to Beatrix Potter here?
(Always quick on the uptake:-))
Talking of Healthy Living/Eating, I have been asking about fortnightly
for the last six months for Child-size chips at Cartmel canteen, when
I take my three year old in there. The kitchen staff are not allowed
to sell me a half portion of chips at half price, even though they'd
be happy to.
They even had that question on a recent written test. (something like:
"How much are child-size chips" - correct answer: "this is a trick
question - we don't supply them"). The large portions of chips served
yesterday were ridiculous and hardly left room on Anna's plate for a
small spoonful of beans. I'm sure grownups would like smaller portions
of chips too, especially Healthy Eating grownups.
[NOTE: The answer is always to travel in twos and share. The 19th
Century French utopians approved of that kind of social engineering.
The Saint-Simoniens even had clothes buttoning down the back so they
would always need a friend. It's a problem for us misanthropists of
course (I speak for myself). (Ed.)]
I very much agree with the letter from Geoffrey Sampson of Sussex
University in Inkytext 91, which stands up for free speech and against
Interesting that nowadays it is only the likes of Prof Sampson, a
right-wing libertarian, who we hear standing up for free speech, while
just about everyone else is in favour of some kind of censorship or
control over our lives.
Let's have some opposition to the status quo that is unequivocally
about free speech and freedom from state control, and let's not let
right-wingers like Sampson take centre stage!
[NOTE: Geoff is however rare in being a terribly intelligent and
consistent right-winger with whom you can have an intelligible
conversation that doesn't drive you doolally. (Ed.)]
Although the reference to`clean shirts' (however metaphorical) is
ultimately a sexist one, I would nonetheless like to propose a man for
this award: Andrew Okey. Apart from actually fulfilling the clean shirt
requirement (if my memory serves me well), he is certainly one of the
most cheerful and sanest administrators I have had the pleasure to deal
with this year. Can't comment on his potential `scepticism towards
managerial practices', but anybody as sane and cheerful as Andrew must
fit the bill...
Mhm..., the debate is hotting up regarding a suitable name for the new
Tower complex. So far we seem to be getting either too PC, or perhaps
too irrelevant? Why an American activitist, or does the idea of paying
tribute to a home-grown candidate really seem too strange? Let's not
forget some of the more "active" and likely candidates: what about the
following for starters:
Cleese Court, or even the
Tower of Silly Walks
Also, viz-a-viz "silly walks", if the new complex deserves a rights
activitist's stamp, then it must first put its money where its mouth is
and provide full access on the parallel spine - this, from my knowledge
to date, is decidedly not to be the case, as funding will prevent the
privilege (?) of being allowed to stay dry if one commutes by
wheelchair, buggy or other perambulation on the "new" spine going
southwards from said tower - mhm....
Information Systems Services provide A4 inkjet colour printout
(300dpi) at 10p a sheet. A4 acetate (sp?) costs 80p a sheet.
These printers are identical to the one owned by Engineering and are
available to all staff/students, either from their own network connected
desktop machines or from ISS laboratories.
I assume the 2.50 being quoted is for a higher print quality.
Windows NT System Support Manager
Tony Worgan (spelling could be wrong) wants information about a new
organisation called "Scientists for Labour". If anyone is a member of
it, or can talk about it, he would appreciate a call at Radio
Lancashire on 01-254-262411.
[NOTE: All part of the Total Quality InkyText Service. A Westminster
subscriber to whom your query was forwarded, possibly the only reader
ever to have seen Norman Lamont's testicles, writes:
"One phone call has revealed that Scientists for Labour was
officially launched today, although it has been in existence for a few
months. The Secretary is Robin Walters from the University of
Sheffield. He is contactable via e-mail: R.G.Walters@Shef.ac.uk
Such speed, helpfulness and efficiency from New Labour. We still
haven't been let into the secrets of our mission statement (which has
now taken some months to evolve - too many committees to go through
[...]), but I am sure speed, helpfulness and efficiency will be key
I continue to enjoy Inkytexts - particularly when they make reference
to rock bands fronted by a graduate residing in Blackburn!
PS Our Spokesperson (hate that word) on Science is John Battle MP
who can be contacted at the House of Commons 0171 219 4201 if more
info is needed."
Amazing, huh? Vive l'Internet, Vive le New Labour. (Ed)]
What better administrator could there be than Alex Thorley - he meets
all your criteria. He has retained his sanity under the influence of
the Associated Colleges, surely a mind blowing experience, and to cope
with SEJC he has to maintain his cheerfulness in the face of
complexities that boggle the mind. He always has a clean shirt -
characteristic of all Thorleys past and present - and you only have to
witness his wry smile to detect an entirely proper degree of