Wednesday 26 January 2005

Why not Glasgow?

Simon Jenkins is always worth reading even when he is maddeningly wrong. Today, he is spot-on:
The top universities should call the Government’s bluff and set their own fees
And which top university does he have in mind?
FOR GOODNESS’ sake, Oxford, stop complaining. Behave like a grown-up university and go independent.
No surprise there then: guess where Simon studied! On reading this piece my thoughts turned to Scotland where similar arguments have been made in favour of freeing some of our own universities. The names usually mentioned are St Andrews and Edinburgh, perhaps the "Oxbridges" of the north. But I have a better idea. Why not start with Glasgow?

Our largest city has an unemployment rate of thirty percent. Thanks a lot, Labour. Instead of seeing untold sums wasted on ludicrous "social inclusion" projects what Glasgow needs is a modern equivalent of the dredging of the Clyde that brought industry and prosperity to the city. The University should lead the way. The Weegies should get one over on Edinburgh (and Oxford) by setting up a world-class, independent university. That would benefit Glasgow far more than further endless welfare spending.


David Farrer said...

Comments made on previous template:

Issue with Mr Dickson I take
Oh Mr Dickson really! Well I can't force you to answer, but I am quite amused by your attempts at evasion. 
If you don't want to answer then just say so. These are not trick questions, I am not trying to catch you out. But the fact is that I have continually asked you a serious question and you have continually refused to give me a serious answer, and that is quite curious. 
It sadly confirms what I already have suspicious about, namely that the SNP are just not ready yet to partake in grown up politics, and therefore are not fit for power. 
For the voters of Scotland that is a shame, because it means the Labour Lib Dim hegemony will continue for many years to come.  
Proportional representation demands that parties co-operate with each other. It is interesting that the SNP campaigned for devolution but have proved themselves unworthy of the challenges devolution has provided. 
But what can you do?

2 February 2005, 20:17:02 GMT
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Stuart Dickson
Dear Miss Issue, 
You are a tad tetchy this afternoon. 
I'll play with the grumpy toddlers once you have all had a wee nap. Sleep tight.

2 February 2005, 15:45:56 GMT
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Issue with Mr Dickson I take
I am asking you specific questions, and you are not answering them, why not?

1 February 2005, 18:40:52 GMT
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Stuart Dickson
-"institutional anti Tory prejudices" poor wee souls. I almost feel sorry for you. 
Of course the SNP don't face any institutional prejudices at all: the press, BBC, monarchy, civil service, teaching unions, church and Establishment are all working tirelessly, 24/7, to re-achieve Scottish self-government. 
Why are you so keen to have a relationship with the SNP? I would have thought that you would far prefer a good snog with the other Union-lovers. We don't just hop into bed with any old waif or stray you know - we have our standards.

31 January 2005, 16:10:05 GMT
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Issue with Mr Dickson I take
The point is Mr Dickson, if Labour are failing (and they are), why vote SNP to continue the same failing policies? 
I think you are avoiding my 2nd last para above, "low taxes, high economic growth, excellence in education etc" not something around which SNP & Con could build an alliance? 
It just seems to me like the SNP are facing an existential crisis, its there for the taking, but they refuse to denf institutional anti Tory prejudices in Scotland and act.  
Its almost like deep down they want to find reasons to continue with the union (could that explain Salmonds 1st resignation?).

30 January 2005, 22:03:48 GMT
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Stuart Dickson
-"The question is, why the heck should anyone who wants an independent Scotland vote SNP?" 
Because it is the only parliamentary party with Scottish independence as its primary, clear and constant objective. 
If you think that the Tories will implement Scottish independence you are a little loopy. 
Aye, its guy cauld in auld Aberdein toun. So cold in fact that its gone for your brain. Councillors: 
LD 20 
Lab 14 
SNP 6 
Con 3 
Administration: LD and Con

30 January 2005, 21:28:01 GMT
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David Farrer said...

Issue with Mr Dickson I take
Where I live the Tories are in coalition with the Liberal Democrats in the local council (where Labour are the biggest party). 
Yes Mr Dickson indeed they must ask, but with the SNP offering nothing better than Old Labour in a kilt, is there really any room for mockery? 
Just to recap, the SNP are champions of the Scottish social democratic consensus: high public spending, pseudo-egalitarianism, state control (health service & education) etc.  
This consensus has given us poor economic growth, poor health and poor education. And yet the SNP still champion it. 
The question is, why the heck should anyone who wants an independent Scotland vote SNP? 
Surely if you want an independent Scotland you should be advocating low taxes, high economic growth, excellence in education etc; basically all the things you would probably find a Tory agreeing with? 
Is it not a case that with devolution the SNP find an open goal, but they are just to scared to kick the ball into the net?

30 January 2005, 19:02:50 GMT
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Stuart Dickson
It has not gone unnoticed that the Tories are whining: "Nobody loves me; everybody hates me; I'm going to go and eat worms." 
While this is highly entertaining for the rest of us, the Tories must ask themselves: Why?  
It seems that the only party willing to go into coalition with them is the Labour Party.

30 January 2005, 14:47:09 GMT
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David Vance
Yes, For once I can agree with Jenkins. It is TIME to cast aside the apron-strings of Government.

29 January 2005, 20:36:32 GMT
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Neil Craig
By normal usage Federalist should be a subset of Unionist in that they want to maintain a federation (like the US). On the other hand SNP want European Union (most of them, currently) so that UKIP could accurately call them Unionists. Then we get into whether a separatist Scotland should stay united in the Commonwealth. 
In reality complete separation is no longer an option on this planet & hardly anybody believes in pre-devolution union. This is getting a bit like debating theology - would it not be possible to get on with making the country work until the optimum solution becomes obvious (& ok I think the optimum will be some sort of federation but I can imagine events proving me wrong).

29 January 2005, 19:52:42 GMT
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David Farrer said...

Issue with Mr Dickson, I take
But the Tories (some of them) have things in common with the SNP, fiscal freedom for one thing. They want it for different reasons, but there is still common ground there. The SNP campaigned with Labour for devolution and they wanted different things from it. Given that a referendum and not a coalition government would decide independence, then the problems are far from insurmountable. 
But if the SNP are simply going to say "Tories? We can't be seen agreeing with them!", then it does imply that they prefer childish opposition to grown up politics. And if the party activists agree with this sentiment then I am afraid it doesn't say much for them either.

29 January 2005, 11:27:47 GMT
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Stuart Dickson
Dear Mr Issue, 
The problem is that the Tories are the only Unionist party on principle alone. Yes, Labour are Unionist, but only as a pragmatic tool to cling on to power. Only 60% of Labour voters support the Union - a statistic which mostly explains why the SNP campaigns from the centre-left. 
The LibDems are not really Unionists, they are Federalists. True British Federalism is less unpalatable to many nationalists than outright Unionist subservience. 
Hence the problem with the Tories - they hold the diametric opposite outlook on the constitution. We cannot go in to a coalition with them because they have their principles, and we have ours. Many people in the SNP grudgingly respect true Tories; you would not find many SNP activists who have any respect for the Labour Party at all.

28 January 2005, 21:51:52 GMT
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I take issue with Mr Dickson f
""-"Stuart do you think there is a chance that the SNP will give up their objection in principle to working with Tories." 
No, not a chance. It has been party policy for so long it is embedded in the soul of the entire movement. Any hint of giving it up and the membership would kick out the entire leadership - end of story." 
Well you see that is the trouble with the SNP is it not? They are much happier playing "Tories? Boo Hiss!" than at engaging in grown up politics. 
Until they can actually start acting like a grown up party they will remain merely an opposition party, and frankly they will deserve nothing better.

28 January 2005, 20:50:39 GMT
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David Farrer said...

David Malloch
I would like to think John McTavish (post #2) is having a joke, it certainly sounds like it. But in Scotland you will often find people who hold such dinosaur views and are deadly serious about them. I mean nationalising things to improve them, oh dear! 
Its is because of the nationalisation of education that Scotland has been turned from an intellectual wheatfield into a dustbowl in the space of a few generations.  
Glasgow University once had a very high international reputation, but its been turned into a complete joke. It simply doesn't have the reputation to go charging even modest fees. The best hope is that elite English universities will lead the way, and hopefully their Scottish sisters will be galvanised into action. 
But there is every reason to be pessimistic, Scottish education is in the hands of Holyroods socialist Taliban, a group of people most conspicuous for having had an education bypass.  
You don't need a degree in anything to realise that educational excellence will not be delivered by knuckle trailing socialists like that lot.

28 January 2005, 19:48:08 GMT
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Stuart Dickson
-"Stuart do you think there is a chance that the SNP will give up their objection in principle to working with Tories." 
No, not a chance. It has been party policy for so long it is embedded in the soul of the entire movement. Any hint of giving it up and the membership would kick out the entire leadership - end of story. 
-"The only conceivable non-Labour government here would be a Lib/SNP/Tory pact of some sort." 
You are a hell of a pessimist young Neil. Just because Labour have been ominpotent for 40 plus years, does not mean it will last forever. They only got 26% of the Scottish vote at the last Euro elections. All bad things must come to an end. 
Personally, I can't realistically see the SNP in coalition with anyone except the LibDems and the Greens. And only if the Lib Dems get rid of Wallace, and allow the Scots a referendum on independence.

27 January 2005, 12:57:45 GMT