Saturday, 10 November 2007

Unconvincingly serious

UCU leadership has become more critical of government initiatives. The elite caste of union leaders has suddenly become critical of the man who has given them the real reason for their own existence: a belief that all they do is in the interests of the British people because what really matters to them is for the good of the British people.

Brown has been recently quite convincingly telling us that Britain is at it's top but that this is not enough. New targets for quality education, housing and skilled labour force should be met. The unions, at least UCU, have nodded and welcomed such initiatives with limited reservations and few words of dissent which are anyway punctually forgotten or left to float free in the air or buried.

If Britain is at its top for education, the opposite should also hold true: cases of the worst examples of education in Britain should be found at the top end of the scale. That is, where unions are not present because they are not engaged with the government in the discourse for class domination and for the exercising of economic power. Such examples are to be searched for within recent scandalistic news, which has moved few hearts and only of those who are then classed as too sensitive to the problems of the oppressed.

Weekly education papers have recently been filled with cases of repression and expulsion of academics from the RAE system, because apparently their research does not fit the system. The so much revered catalogue of the cream-of-the-crop of British intellectualism and pragmatism, as if the RAE is now treated like an infrasructue of human knowledge with well determined borders and definitions. Such infrastructure, not transparent to everybody, should tell us more about how people and communities meet it.

Shouldn't we also able to identify the barriers for some? And shouldn't we be able to identify the systems which operate silently and invisibly behind the classification system of the RAE? This would definitely be a golden opportunity for UCU to highlight how some jobs are made and others are lost. And it is particularly for this last point that UCU should be worried, at least just for the sake of keeping face with its members.

Many laughs can be heard on the road in the uk. The British spirit is always alive. Grey skies on blue horizons. The economy is still at full speed according to the government. As such, the laughs are, yes, symbols of immortality and opulence. All is good and the servants are on the streets laughing loud for such a sense of immortality. It will take away the shadows of suicides by university professors, bullying in the departments, deans cheating with research papers and now even the purge of researchers from league tables of research.

Loud laughs can be heards in university corridors. They are the symbol of the immortality and opulence of the RAE system. If only UCU could reveal to the world its infrastructure of oppression and classification of university workers, its leadership could be relegated to the role of leading European unionism. As such a good laugh is enough to keep such ideas at bay because immortality is not European.

The impact of the RAE system will, however,be felt soon as the caste of VCs, PRO VCs and Deans will be challenged along with the elite caste of union leaders in addressing the issues. Or perhaps, in the last extreme attempt to save British education's reputation, UCU will rush to repair the ripping of relations amongst the intellectual elite, because these are critical times.
Sally Hunt, on lecturers' states of mind said "I think that what we are facing now is a period of time which is critical, not just to students and their immediate future, not just to academic and related staff or the support staff that work in the university system, but how this country views education as part of itself, as part of its soul. As such we have to take this very, very seriously". In this respect, the laugh is definitely a symbol of immortality of the Educational 'soul' of Britain.

Indeed, Brown has taken education very seriously, although recent announcements have upset the UCU leadership. It has not been the first time that the British government has called to monarchic powers and appealed to the pomp of monarchic events, in order to release unconfortable bills and policies.

The throne of a monarch and the magnificent displays, can become symbols to enforce authoritative connotations to government words and propositions. If a monarch refers to the current government in power as "his/her government", the unions of that country will be better seen as not "her/his unions" but as the unions of the people who are ostracised, controlled, drowned in debts and unable to cope with a government sucking blood like leeches from vulnerable people. For this, Hunt has very recently, well interpreted the role of the radical union leader, caring for everybody except for those who are in real need now.

In this case, a loud laugh is not a symbol of immortality, but one of challenge; the challenging of customs and traditions: ridendo castigat mores. The manifestations of all the defects of the current elite caste is sealed with a loud laugh. And it is precisely in this that the laugh can be effective in challenging the elite caste of government ministers, members of parliament and union servants.

However, even if only false consciousness will cause a person to search in the colours of a flag and in the notes of an anthem, for his or her freedom, many still look to a throne to search for certainty that tomorrow the sun will still rise. Don't laugh about it, you've got be serious.

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