While papers whine about Oxbridge debauchery, student altruism gets ignored

The Telegraph, 1st March 2017

There’s something quite odd about coming down to breakfast on a Sunday morning, often with a thick head, and glancing at the paper to see that someone else is having a go at the place where you live.

I imagine it’s what it might have felt like to be a spy behind the lines during the war, when newspapers were full of news of your country’s terrible crimes, interspersed with op-eds about how we ought to fight them with all our strength.

I’m not fighting a war, of course, and I might not do any more than have a little chuckle before going back to my fry-up. But there is something oddly obsessive and single-minded about the way news of Oxford, and our fenland counterparts, reaches the press.

From consulting the papers, you might be forgiven for thinking that we spend most of our time celebrating the empire, campaigning against people who celebrate the empire, getting drunk in eighteenth-century period dress and burning money in front of homeless people.

Continue reading While papers whine about Oxbridge debauchery, student altruism gets ignored

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The NUS’ survey boycott is rash and destructive – it should reconsider or risk betraying its members

The Telegraph, 23rd January 2016.

It’s around this time every year when final-year students at British universities are sent a survey to fill in, which measures ‘student satisfaction’ with their education at the end of their degrees. The survey data, which is collected independently by Ipsos Mori, feeds into a number of university rankings, alongside other information such as the cost of courses, graduate employment opportunities and the student-to-staff ratio.

This year, the NUS is running a campaign to encourage students not to fill in their forms, as part of its protest against the Government’s Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF), which will offer some universities the opportunity to raise their tuition fees. The TEF will use the results of the National Student Survey (NSS) as part of an aggregate rating it will give to universities – either gold, silver or bronze – the better universities will be allowed to charge more.

Continue reading The NUS’ survey boycott is rash and destructive – it should reconsider or risk betraying its members

Sorry, Giles, that’s not the Oxford I know

The Telegraph, 19th December 2016

Something was worryingly familiar about the tone of Giles Coren’s column for the Times this weekend, in which he wrote about the hopeless court case of Faiz Siddiqui, who is attempting to sue Oxford University for its substandard teaching and – by extension – his failure to get a first-class degree.

It was the same refrain I hear from some college alumni, who come back to the dining hall for an overpriced reunion dinner and slur romantically about their ‘Oxford days’ over a pancetta-rolled pigeon breast and too many glasses of Pinot Noir. Continue reading Sorry, Giles, that’s not the Oxford I know

Labour is no worse than other parties for anti-Semitism, Shami Chakrabarti claims

The Telegraph, 24th November 2016

Co-bylined with Camilla Turner

Labour is no worse than any other party when it comes to anti-Semitism, Shami Chakrabarti has claimed, adding that her report is more respected within the Party because she is an “insider”.

The Shadow Attorney General said the debate on anti-Semitism has been “weaponised”, which she suggested was part of a wider “civil war” within Labour.

Baroness Chakrabarti, whose report was branded a “whitewash” by critics after clearing the Party of anti-Semitism, said she had no regrets about announcing her affiliation to Labour while presiding over the review. Continue reading Labour is no worse than other parties for anti-Semitism, Shami Chakrabarti claims

Moffat doesn’t think he’ll write any more Doctor Who: “This is probably it for me”

Radio Times, 17th November 2016

He’s headed up the Doctor Who creative team since taking over from Russell T Davies in 2010, but when lead writer Steven Moffat departs the show after series 10 next spring, he reckons it will be for good.

Speaking to students at the Oxford Union last week, Moffat said, “I think as much as I hate to concede it and I’d like to have Russell write for me, this is probably it for me – once I’m done, I’m done.” Continue reading Moffat doesn’t think he’ll write any more Doctor Who: “This is probably it for me”

Steven Moffat reveals how he came up with the weeping angels

Radio Times, 17th November 2016

Our readers once voted them their favourite monsters ever and, for many, they’re certainly the scariest.

But although the Weeping Angels are almost as old as the universe itself and appear in the Doctor’s adventures all across space and time, Steven Moffat has revealed that the inspiration for them came from a holiday in Dorset.  Continue reading Steven Moffat reveals how he came up with the weeping angels

Sajid Javid “should have been out on his ear”, says Lord Patten

Cherwell, 6th November 2016

Cabinet minister Sajid Javid should have been sacked by Theresa May for his criticism of the High Court ruling on Brexit, Lord Patten has said.

Patten’s comments came on Peston on Sunday, in which he sharply criticised the Communities Secretary for his public view that the court was wrong for its ruling that the UK Parliament should be consulted before Brexit. Continue reading Sajid Javid “should have been out on his ear”, says Lord Patten

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