Sunday, 27 March 2011

Not. Enough. Expletives...

What the FUCK!!!???!?!?!?!?!?!?!



Ok, let's take the caps-lock off for a minute, and look at this a little more sanely.

Academics are said to be furious (YOU'RE DAMN RIGHT THEY'RE FURIOUS - THEY HAVE BLOODY GOOD REASON TO BE!!) over the fact that the AHRC funding - which any PhD student will tell you is like gold-dust made from hen's teeth at the best of times - is now only contingent on academics researching what the government wants - ie this Big Society BULLSHIT to try and give it some sense of legitimacy. THAT'S FUCKING BLACKMAIL!!
Seriously, Camoron (BASTARD, FUCKING BASTARD) and his cronies have "clarified" - yes, the Guardian are using scare-quotes here - a major piece of principle (The Haldane Principle) which says that they aren't allowed to dictate what research money is spent on. And by "clarified" we mean "trashed".

In the words of one Cambridge Academic (professor Peter Mandler):

"The government says they have rewritten the Haldane principle but they have junked it, basically. They say it is now their right to set the priorities for how this funding [is] distributed. They have got the AHRC over a barrel and basically told these guys that they cannot have their money unless they incorporate [these] research priorities. Willetts was negotiating nominally, but the word is that it has come down from the secretary of state for business, innovation and skills, Vince Cable. Almost everyone who hears the story is upset about it."

And in the words of another (A principal at an Oxford college, who did not want to be named) :

"With breathtaking speed, a slogan for one political party has become translated into a central intellectual agenda for the academy."

I just... I'm so angry I can't even speak coherently.
This is not, as one individual who is not going to be named, has said "the government's money" - if it were, I would have less of a problem with this. I would be happy to see David arsewipebastardshitforbrains Thatcher Camoron digging into his own overly-deep pockets and providing funding for whatever research he likes, thus keeping people in much needed employment, but that's never going to happen. This is taxpayer's money he's wielding like the sword of Damocles. And how DARE he. He - and this government, quite frankly - is wreaking havoc upon our society, with no fucking mandate to do so. How long before he starts attacking democracy itself, so he can stay in power? It would be a supreme irony to have helped out in Libya, all the while not noticing our own little home-grown fascist bastard of a leader.

Wednesday, 16 March 2011

Ethnic Minorities Can Wear Wellies as Well...

I was going to do a big old post about this debacle - but I think most of what's wrong with True-May's statement has already been adequately covered by the article.

I just want to add one little thing.

Culture and "the media" plays a massive role in, not just reflecting societal norms but creating and enforcing them. The images we see around us every day help to form our attitudes and prejudices. If we see a sleepy little English village on TV, and the Kumars on the corner and Mr Smith the (black) GP, are an integral part of it, then we are going to start seeing this as normal - and crucialy as acceptable. And can't we all agree that this is a good thing? Ethnic minorities are, and have been for a long time, part of England, and valuable contributers to this country. They have as much right to be a representative part of it as closeted, bigoted, middle-class, white dudes.
I don't care if the countryside is still mainly white* and MM is "just" a reflection of this - The Media has the opportunity to challenge social norms and the duty to be inclusive.

It all comes down to this: Do we want to challenge racism in our society? Yes? Then include non-white people in our culture to the extent that we want them included in society.

*Actually, I do care; I would love it if rural England was seen as welcoming to people of all colours and creeds, but that wasn't my point...