Thursday, 26 October 2017

University Social Media Salaries

We're watching a 2 part programme on iPlayer about the Reformation, each part being about 3 hours long. I thought it was going to be a documentary, but it's a drama about Luther in German with English subtitles - which means, unlike Hay, I can at least stay with the plot while making tea. 

It's strange to think that it all came about due to the argument as to whether salvation could be achieved through faith alone, as Luther believed, or through faith and works, as the Catholic church staunchly maintained and had it's logical conclusion in the sale of indulgences - the ultimate get out of jail card for Purgatory. However, the returns from the sale of indulgences weren't exactly going on good causes, wherein lay the problem. I say strange, as there are as almost as many extracts in the bible for each argument. Both claims can be supported - which goes to show how the bible can be cherry-picked for whatever argument you care to put forward.

What is remarkable is that Luther succeeded - but that was only due to Luther harnessing new technology in the form of printing, which, fortuitously, had been invented around that time. He was using the internet of the day and social media to promulgate his ideas, which had catastrophic consequences. Without printing, Luther would have been merely one of many heretics, with a very small audience, who would have become just another Roman candle.

Social media can be a boon and a curse. Disinformation can be spread just as fast as genuine news - as we know, with equally catastrophic results.

The Chancellor of Bath's salary of £450k came up in the local news the other day. I'm in two minds about this; universities have to fund teaching from student fees and, in this manner, are no different from any other business (government money goes only to research, not teaching). We may rant against footballers' salaries, but willing spectators pay these. When all's said and done, no-one is forced to go to Bath University except, perhaps, students from low-income families in Bath who want to live at home for financial reasons.

Tory MP Chris Heaton-Harris is now back peddling furiously about his letter asking to know the names of lecturers and course contents of university Brexit courses and claiming if was information for a book. The fact the letter was on House of Commons letter headed paper is a bit suspicious - you don't use House of Commons paper for personal use, and writing a book for commercial gain is certainly not parliamentary business. "Modest" use of House of Commons stationery is permitted under parliamentary rules, but I smell a McCarthyist rat. A Labour MP was censured for using Commons paper for personal use a few years back.

This YouGov poll result on the matter isn't exactly surprising:

Accusations of left-wing bias in universities and in education in general abound. If true, the corollary of this is that right wingers don't go into the education sector. Now there can only be three answers to this conundrum - they don't like public service, the pay is not enough, or they can't get the qualifications.


  1. I can only think of England in much same way as I see all religions that they belong to the dinosauric age.