Month: October 2011

Countdown to 2113; or, Peace, Politics, Pinner and and Plagim

General note—there’s a box on the right where you can put in your email address to get an automatic message whenever I update this blog. Even if you were subscribed to my Indian one, you’ll need to do it separately for this one I’m afraid.

Activism on-campus is very inclusive

Industrialisation brings about trade. Trade brings about liberal democracy. Liberal democracy brings about peace. Therefore, concludes Professor Michael W Doyle (generously described by my lecturer as “not a nincompoop”), we can mathematically calculate the point at which industrialisation will bring about total and permanent world peace.

So everyone, I’d advise that you stop investing in arms dealers by 2109 at the latest, because the year 2113 will finally see perpetual peace descend upon humanity. Isn’t that nice.

And if I might suggest an alternative investment opportunity: the automatic gates in the library here could really do with some improvement. This week, I arrived and scanned my card, only to be denied entry because, “User is already insisde.” Which is interesting, because I’m 90% sure I wasn’t.

Too much Sussex and violence


Northwood & Pinner Liberal Synagogue uses an intriguing system of library classification.

In other news, I spent the weekend leading a weekend camp for 8-11-year-olds, the age-group known as Plagim (‘streams’) – acting as Rosh/senior leader for the first time. This produced much hysterically funny material, one particular albeit tasteless highlight being… Boy 1: What do you think’s more emotional, Titanic or The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas? / Boy 2: Does the boy in the striped pyjamas die? / Boy 1: No, he sort of gets burnt.

Another once-in-a-lifetime moment was when a boy stared fixedly at my hoodie before calling out, “Oh my God, I’m not allowed to learn about sex!” I could probably have predicted that a ‘Sussex University’ top would cause trouble. (This person spent the rest of the event muttering about “people having sussex,” , while someone else offered up the helpful factoid, “Sussex is, like, High Barnet.”)

For Fox sake

Doctoral student Liam Fox has withdrawn from his course at the University of Sussex after it was revealed that he had been smuggling his friend Adam Qwerty into lectures. Mr Qwerty, who is known to have shared Fox’s Lewes Court residence rent-free for several months last year, has also been accused of carrying a library card identifying him as a student at Sussex despite the fact that he has never been formally registered as such.

In a statement, Fox said, “I accept the findings of the University Registrar, Sir Gus O’God, that my actions in allowing Adam access to my lectures were in breach of the Code on Student Discipline, and I regret any embarassment this may have caused to the university. However, I do resent the vindictive and evil press coverage of this affair – sorry, did I say ‘affair’? – which has, for some reason, focussed on the fact that what I did was completely and obviously wrong, whereas I think it should have focussed on other aspects of the case.”

Sussex’s Vice-Chancellor David Camembert commented, “I would like to thank Liam for his many years of dedicated study. I am sorry that he has chosen to withdraw but understand his reasons, but hope that now we can all move on from this incident before anybody notices that Adam Qwerty was employed as a lobbyist for Cambridge University at the time.”

Sussexballs: £9000 per annum paid for contributions“Classical realism has basically been around for hundreds of years, since some of the classical realists.”

[girl walks into the wrong seminar; realises; leaves; then the tutor observes…] “There are some people you should just drop in acid.”

“There was political equality in ancient Athens – except for women and slaves.” [This one came from a wonderfully-named Chileo-German lecturer, Dr Cristóbal Rovira Kaltwasser]

“Lancashire. America. Africa. India. [long pause] Very important in the cotton industry in the 18th century.”

If anyone would like to read me making myself unpopular in The Badger with my opinions about Tzipi Livni not being arrested for war crimes, click here.
All the Liam Fox stuff isn’t true. But it might have been. Mightn’t it.

Sussex graduate becomes Vice-President


Dr Guy Scott, centre, is the most senior white politician in Africa since the fall of apartheid in 1994.

An alumnus of Sussex University, Dr Guy Scott, has been appointed the first ever white Vice-President of Zambia after an election carried out with meticulous fairness and transparency. Born to a family of working-class colonists, Dr Scott’s father was a Glaswegian and his mother hailed from Watford.

In a completely made up statement, the minister commented, “I wouldn’t be where I am today without the help and support of the Sussex Careers and Employability Centre. It was undoubtedly the work experience they arranged for me earlier this year in the Zambian Electoral Commission which bagged me the job of Vice-President.”

Textbook controversy

Slandering entire continents?

Meanwhile, a diplomatic row has flared up over a textbook used in the Global Studies department at Dr Scott’s alma mater, the University of Sussex. The Oxford-published volume, Introduction to International Relations by Robert Jackson and Georg Sørensen, described the whole of “Africa, Asia, the Caribbean and the Pacific,” as, “insubstantial quasi-states.”

Responding to the allegation, Somalian Prime Minister Abdiweli Mohamed Ali said, “My nation is incensed at the suggestion that we are an insubstantial quasi-state. Unless the authors immediately retract their claims, we will have no option but to dispatch a ragged, disorganised band of warlords, pirates and mercenaries to defend our dignity.”

A press release from the publishers late yesterday evening read, “We did not intend to cause any offence to Africa, Asia, the Caribbean and the Pacific. We are confident that the writers of the textbook simply used the term ‘insubstantial quasi-states’ in the sense that those nations aren’t proper countries and are utterly unimportant.”

Most of this is entirely fictional, apart from Dr Guy Scott’s appointment and family background, and the original quote from the textbook. Image courtesy of The Guardian.