Tuesday, July 21, 2009

SNP's David Kerr slams Glasgow universities

One of the things about being a by-election candidate is that everything you have ever said in public comes under scrutiny and, in some cases, reappears to bite you on the bum.

We know that the SNP's selection process for Glasgow North East has been a bit of a living hell for them to go through and a complete farce for the rest of us to watch. We now discover that new, bright and shiny candidate David Kerr's cupboard is not devoid of skeletons with their feet in their mouths.

Apparently, a couple of years ago, he told a seminar in St Andrews that universities such as Glasgow Caledonian "did not have a reputation to tarnish."

This is just the worst sort of unfounded academic snobbery and to be honest I'm more angry about these comments than I ever was about the former SNP candidate's problems. To have slated quality institutions, which provide excellent research and learning facilities, is unforgivable. I know students and academics alike at G-Cal who rightly feel insulted at having their institution trashed like this.

It's really important that local politicians do what they can to support the local universities their constituents might attend or work at. How can places like G-Cal and Paisley feel that they will ever have anything other than lip service from David Kerr?

Kerr himself has tried to defend his comments by saying that they were meant to be light hearted. Why would you make such a joke if you didn't mean the sentiments behind it, though?

Lib Dem MP Willie Rennie, who is himself a proud graduate of Paisley University, had this to say on the subject.

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9 comments:

Anonymous said...

So, that's Willie Rennie, Stephen Glenn and now you all posted the same thing.

Almost as if the Libs have sent out an email to their bloggers or something...

If you keep your deposit this time, I hope you spend it on something nice...

subrosa said...

Auch Caron, you do surprise me posting this.

Of course the likes of Glasgow Caledonian university doesn't have a reputation to tarnish - it's only been operational as universities for a few years. It has yet to provide figures which could stand scrutiny over at a couple of generations.

If the likes of Glasgow Cale and say Dundee Abertay want to rely upon their reputations as technical colleges of excellence that's fine - but they should have stayed Technical Colleges and not taken the title of universities.

Strathclyde University had to do its 'time' to acquire a reputation in various subjects. Why should newer ones not do the same.

It's not snobbery, it's common sense. No matter who had said it, from whatever party, I would say exactly the same.

Unfounded academic snobbery? In what way unfounded? Because there are no records of achievement for a generation or two?

The dirty tricks of labour knows no bounds and they continue to use negative campaigning I see. Will they never learn?

Wardog said...

LOL 'David Kerr 'SLAMS"

Could you get any more tabloid?

Jim said...

"Why would you make such a joke if you didn't mean the sentiments behind it, though? "

Em, to raise a laugh?

Have you ever seen Al Murray, pub landlord? Do you think Al Murray believes the things that he says in his guise as a light entertainment satirist?

Ever attended a sports club dinner with a speaker? I listened to John Jeffries mercilessly ripping the pish out of several of his grand slam team mates. Do you think he actually didn't like them that much?

Ever laughed at an Irish joke?

What a stupid idea that an after dinner joke could mean that David Kerr couldn't be trusted to take the needs of Caley university seriously.

Caron said...

Anon and Subrosa - the reason I'm really fizzing mad about this is because good friends of mine work at G-Cal and I see the effort they put in to doing high quality research in their fields and in providing excellent quality tuition to their students. The idea that their work could be rubbished by someone making an offhand joke annoys me intensely.

Wardog, what's your point?:-)

Jim, David Kerr has been caught out saying something he very clearly shouldn't. He's intimating that he doesn't hold the valuable work going on in these newer universities in any sort of regard. He deserves to be taken to task for such ill advised comments.

subrosa said...

Caron, don't you think you're over-egging the pudding in a desperate bid to besmirch David Kerr?

He said 'they didn't have a reputation to tarnish' some years ago. I've explained perhaps his reason.

I'm sure your friends who work at G-Cal realise their efforts won't be fully recognised for some years yet, when such universities have achievement tables going back a couple of generations.

If not, are you saying without your friends doing their good work, G-Cal wouldn't be as good?

We're going to have to agree to disagree on this one I think. :)

Jim said...

Caron, I too have a mate who lectures at G-Cal. He's big enough to laugh it off for what it is.

Caron said...

I also have a husband who is a Heriot-Watt graduate so this is a bit of a long standing annoyance.

Jim said...

"I also have a husband who is a Heriot-Watt graduate so this is a bit of a long standing annoyance."

Yes, I think it does say more about the people that have taken 'offence' than it does about David Kerr.

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