Sir Chris Bryant Misses Out on Oxford University Job

Sir Chris Bryant has sadly missed out on the Rectorship of Exeter College, Oxford. As Guido reported last month, Bryant was on the final shortlist of candidates for the £105,000-a-year role, and was hoping to take up the post after stepping down from Parliament next year. Instead, one of the other three candidates, Major General Dr Andrew Roe CB, has been selected. Roe is Chief Executive of the UK Defence Academy. Guido hears Bryant was seen as “too controversial” a figure, so the Governing Body voted for Roe instead. There are plenty of other Oxford rejects walking around SW1, Chris…

mdi-timer 27 June 2023 @ 16:46 27 Jun 2023 @ 16:46 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Chris Bryant Standing Down, Eyeing Oxford University Rectorship

Yesterday a learned co-conspirator got in touch with a tip-off about Chris Bryant. According to Guido’s scholarly source, the Labour MP is on the final shortlist of candidates to become the new Rector of Exeter College at Oxford University, and apparently interviewed all day Monday for the position. Bryant hasn’t announced any plans to stand down, so this would come as a surprise…

Guido decided to ask Chris how the weather was in Oxford yesterday. Bryant, never typically lost for words, clammed up and has since been dodging Guido’s calls. After agreeing to talk yesterday evening, he changed his mind. Today he was otherwise engaged in Windsor for his investiture as a knight bachelor of the realm. A bauble traditionally dangled at the end of one’s career…

Exeter College has confirmed the current Rector, Professor Sir Rick Trainor, is standing down and his replacement will take up post in September 2024. They told Guido they are interviewing candidates this week, though they wouldn’t comment on whether Sir Chris is of interest. September 2024 would be an ideal jumping off point for an MP who doesn’t fancy another gruelling election campaign…

Chris and Guido have been sparring partners for two decades. We were once even neighbours. He had a cancer scare recently, and no one would blame him if he has decided that next year, at the age of 62, there might be more to life than politics. If it is true that he is standing down, we wish Sir Chris well…

mdi-timer 23 May 2023 @ 14:44 23 May 2023 @ 14:44 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Oxford Statue Campaign Erhodes

On Wednesday night Guido reported that 150 Oxford dons were planning a boycott of Oriel college, over their refusal to topple Rhodes’s statue. Guido now questions how effective their boycott will be…

In the subsequent Telegraph article, one of the main professors interviewed was Professor Danny Dorling of St. Peter’s College – a lecturer of geography. Also participating in the boycott is Dr Sneha Krishnan, an associate professor in human geography. Guido has since been informed that Oriel has not taught undergraduates geography for around two decades. That may undermine the effectiveness of their protests somewhat…

Furthermore, Dorling has been the Halford Mackinder Professor of Geography since 2013. Not only was Mackinder an imperialist adventurer, he coined the patriarchal term “manpower”. Guido must ask when Professor Mackinder plans on boycotting himself…

mdi-timer 11 June 2021 @ 16:40 11 Jun 2021 @ 16:40 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Minister Says Lecturers Should “Get On With Their Actual Job” Over Oxford Statue Row

As Guido first reported last night that 150 Oxford dons are threatening strike action over Oriel College’s refusal to remove the statue of Cecil Rhodes, trade minister Greg Hands made the media round this morning to condemn the boycott and advise the woke academics to just get on with their teaching. Speaking to LBC’s Nick Ferrari, Hands said:

“I would just hope that universities get on with their actual job, which is teaching students and making sure that students get the best possible degrees […] it’s a very very difficult time for students, and a lot of them are paying a lot of money for the tuition fees […] so I would just hope that universities focus on their core mission.”

As Guido said yesterday, this woke posturing will ultimately only damage students. 

UPDATE: Universities minister Michelle Donelan has also chimed in, tweeting: 

We fully believe in protecting academic freedom, but this apparent boycott is a ridiculous threat, given universities have a duty to prioritise access to good quality tuition – especially due to the pandemic.”

mdi-timer 10 June 2021 @ 08:54 10 Jun 2021 @ 08:54 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Now Woke Oxford Dons Threaten “Work To Rule” Over Rhodes Statue

The long-running drama over the statue of Cecil Rhodes, the benefactor of Oxford University’s Oriel College, takes a new turn. After the college authorities stood their ground against the student led Rhodes Must Fall protest things have moved on to the academics taking protest action. Now 150 Oxford academics have signed up to a genteel “work to rule” industrial action over the college’s refusal to topple Rhodes:

A Statement of a Boycott of Oriel College

The Collegiate University can only effectively and credibly work to eradicate racism and address the ongoing effects of colonialism today if all the Colleges do so. Oriel College’s decision not to remove the statue of Cecil Rhodes undermines us all.

Despite votes in favour from its student common rooms and despite an earlier vote of the Governing Body expressing their wish to remove it, Oriel has now decided not to. There have been many letters sent and protests made, most recently in the Rhodes Must Fall movement but, as noted in a letter signed by over 300 Oxford academics, these began in 1899. In 2016, Oriel reneged on a listening exercise and now it has ignored the recommendation of a Commission of Enquiry that included academics, journalists, Oxford city councillors, university administrators, and the College’s own alumni.

Faced with Oriel’s stubborn attachment to a statue that glorifies colonialism and the wealth it produced for the College, we feel we have no choice but to withdraw all discretionary work and goodwill collaborations. With regret, then, we, the undersigned, agree that until Oriel makes a credible public commitment to remove the statue, we shall:

  • refuse requests from Oriel to give tutorials to
  • refuse requests from Oriel to give tutorials to Oriel undergraduates;
  • refuse to assist Oriel in its outreach and access work, including undergraduate admissions interviewing;
  • refuse to participate in recruitment and assessment processes for Fellowships at Oriel and other Oriel College appointments;
  • refuse to attend or speak at talks, seminars, and conferences sponsored by Oriel.

Our action does not involve the following work for Oriel which is not discretionary:

    • graduate supervision of Oriel students, whether at Masters or DPhil level;
    • examination of candidates who are Oriel students for University degrees;
    • delivering University lectures at which Oriel students may be present;
    • any duties specified in your contract with your employer.

If the dons follow through on their “work to rule” plan they will basically only damage students by denying them tutorials. To coin a phrase “Tutorials Must Fall”…

mdi-timer 9 June 2021 @ 20:32 9 Jun 2021 @ 20:32 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
MPs Compete to Show Most Loyalty to the Queen

Since Guido’s exclusive, monarchists have been tripping over themselves to defend Her Majesty. As Robert Jenrick declared on the BBC this morning, he proudly hangs a picture of the Queen in his office. Jenrick isn’t the only patriotic parliamentarian to show their love for Liz today, though. Other members of Her Majesty’s government have also taken to Twitter to declare their loyalty to the crown… 

Andrea Jenkyns told her followers that she is “sick of this woke nonsense”, and posted a photo of her home shrine to Queen Elizabeth with the hashtag “GodSaveTheQueen”.

Not to be outdone, Joy Morrissey told her followers that she’s “ordered another portrait of the Queen” for her office, and that she plans to send one to Oxford’s Magdalen College. Guido’s sure they’ll be delighted. 

Andrea Leadsome, who told Politics Live that the students who voted to take the portrait down were “utterly pathetic”, also showed off her photo:

Andrew Rosindell has a picture of Her Majesty in his office. Rumour has it that for the 2012 Jubilee he bought thousands of portraits of the Queen and sent them to friends and colleagues all over the world. You can never have too much of a good thing… 

mdi-timer 9 June 2021 @ 16:58 9 Jun 2021 @ 16:58 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
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