A good reason to protest?

We are awash with underperforming institutions

So much to protest about!So much to protest about!
More student demonstrations; in a previous post we wrote about some aspects of the background to this, including the ridiculous, and possibly unsustainable, increase in higher education. While it's hard to see a justification for throwing fire extinguishers off the roof of the Tory HQ the fact is the students were lied to. Other people may say "so what, so were we", and then go on to explain about the promise of a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty. It's a fact it was the same government, the coalition, who lied to both students and other voters alike. Perhaps lying is what governments and their servants do; the default state? At the last demonstrations the police were made to look foolish. They claimed they were not ready or prepared for this. Are they telling the truth?

As so many of the reporters and camera crew of the MSM managed to be in the right place at the right time for the forced entry into the Tory HQ you could wonder if such comments come from a 'reliable witness'. We can imagine that both MSM and students knew they 'were up for it'. On that theme the latest is the students claim that unwarranted force was used against them, they were charged by mounted officers, and the police say this was not so. So far the camera evidence is showing horses moving at quite a speed. So we can expect this to be going on for a while yet. We are told Ed Miliband has contemplated speaking to the students. He should tread carefully, what would he say? And how to avoid a 'foot in mouth moment'!?

Fraser Nelson has an interesting post in the Spectator with the title - 'Five things the student unions didn’t protest against in the last 13 years'. It is five graphs showing how spending has doubled but value for money has not followed this trend as other outcomes, for example -

That the attainment gap between private and public schools grew to become the largest of any country except Brazil

Other points have been missed by the students. University life is not just about costs and outcomes but quality and credibility, do they ever complain about the lack of that? Well they should. A little over a year ago not many people would have heard of the University of East Anglia, even fewer of their Climate Research Centre; it's all different now! Thanks to the climategate scandal the CRU is now known across the world. This blog posted several times on the subject, this is typical.

You, and the protesting students might have thought the climategate scandal was all over. Well this is not so, the journalists who wrote critically about the CRU, just like the students, are up for it. James Delingpole writes -

An email reaches me from the office of Sir Edward Acton, Vice Chancellor of the University of East Anglia. Apparently in my blogs I have expressed “inaccurate and vituperative views” about certain members of his hugely distinguished and globally admired seat of learning, and unless I apologise and retract he will report me to the Press Complaints Commission.

I wonder if all journalists who where critical will get an email from Sir Edward? The Delingpole article has 4 headings - FOI-breaching, Email deleting and Scientific-method-abusing, under each he gives clear examples of why the CRU should be criticised. However, it would seem that Sir Edward clings to the notion that the CRU has done no wrong because the CRU and its staff have been -

exonerated and cleared of all malpractice by a series of independent reviews

Delingpole deals with that too, he says -

The problem is that if I had mentioned these “independent” reviews and what I thought of their “independence” and reliability, I’m not sure that this would necessarily have been to the University of East Anglia’s or Phil Jones’s advantage. As I have posted on this blog several times before – obviating, I should have thought, the need to mention them yet again – these hearings have about as much connection with objective reality as the trial of OJ Simpson.

Sustainable is a bit of a buzz-word at the moment, not least with the climate lobby. First we should wonder if universities in their present form are sustainable. The protesting students feel let down by the broken promises of the politicians. If I were a student at the University of East Anglia I'd also be angry at having to pay increased fees to such an organisation with so badly tarnished a reputation.