This forum is about wrong numbers in science, politics and the media. It respects good science and good English.
Getting close, Dave, but your aim is still a little high.
Although the University of Sussex is rightly caricatured for famous examples of “liberal” extremism, it actually houses some excellent centres of research. This happens to include my own field of sensor technology, as I discovered when acting as a PhD external examiner there. They are quite distinct from the publicity seekers at the arty end.
Perhaps another example from my own history will give a further clue. I stood in for one of my research students, who helped maintain himself with part-time lecturing at a local technical college, but was indisposed. For an hour I struggled to teach a class of apprentices about Ohm’s law. Heaven knows what a mess I would have got into if I had revealed that it is not actually true. If you want a literary model for that experience, you would be best advised to go to the Tom Sharpe “Wilt” novels. That college is now a Metropolitan University, lately of some notoriety.
Incidentally, I also served for a few years as external examiner to the electronics department at Lancaster, which I would also put in the excellent class: not that anyone outside the field would get to hear of it.
In my youth, when I was a victim of the education system, my journey to technical college was on a bus occupied largely by "Art Students", there being an "Art College" en route to my technical college which has now miraculously become part of the University of the South Bank or something similar. Not sure by what means they were able to levitate to the heady heights of University status other than by simply changing the name.
These days the aspirations of doting parents for some form of qualification for their less than illustrious offspring seem to be catered for by "Media Studies".
I was surprised to discover that Media studies could lead to gainful employment, other than in MacDonalds, when one of these people appeared on the Eurovision Song Contest. He had achieved a Doctorate for his studies of the Contest. He didn't have anything interesting to say of course, but evidently the BEEB had taken pity and flown him out to Baku, interviewed him and in the process squandered yet more of the license payers money.
Then I learn that our exemplary PM has a PPE from Oxford.
Since the man is an obvious moron, I assume that these nonsense degrees are now a stock in trade for most educational establishments.
I fondly imagine that establishments like Eton, and the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge have long enjoyed the munificence of the aristocracy by beating into their offspring some semblance of education. Thus making them at first contact not too obviously mentally challenged.
The old ways of learning by rote (accompanied by a severe beating at regular intervals) were well up to the task of imprinting the Classics into their bird like brains.
However it seems that with the loss of corporal punishment they have given up on such ambitions with the modern ne'r do wells and simply hand out nonsense degrees.
Even so, usually he system can manage these chumps quite well. It is what civil servants are for, to make sure they don't do too much damage to themselves or the country.
However I also suspect that Blair has a lot to answer for.
Someone who has made an art form of religious fanaticism, complete with voices in the head, it seems, telling him it is OK to lie to the electorate and even to fellow parliamentarians, and who has completely destroyed the civil service.
It was he, was it not? or his government, that decided on the awards for all styles of dumbed down education, multiple choice questions as challenging as those phone in contests and a bit of paper handed out like lollipops to all who and sundry.
So I suppose we should also credit him with creating all these pretend scientists who, with the memories of their primary school education, are encouraged to take even the slenderest idea and turn it into something for which some one somewhere will award a grant (using taxpayers money).
In other words, even science has its modern day equivalents of the "Media Studies" educational lollipops to hand out.
It makes it really difficult for the poor lay public to sort out from the lollipop science reported by all those media studies correspondents, the difference between lollipop science and the real thing.
Yes, Blair is responsible for many of the present ills of our society, but it was the Major administration that turned our polytechnics, some of which were excellent at what they did and an important national resource, into Mickey Mouse universities.
Thanks to Dave for that information on Keele.
Coincidentally I have been wondering of late what had happened to Jonathan Porritt. He seems to have gone very quite, perhaps like the father of the Gaia concept, he has had an epiphany that coincides with proposals for a wind farm in within yards of his garden fence?
Nil nisi etc.
Princess Margaret was the first Chancellor.