Under the influence

A shortened blog-post this week I’m afraid as I’ve been working almost full-time to organise the Students’ Union elections. (No, not ‘organise’ in that sense.) If you’re a Sussex student you have until 5pm tomorrow to vote! Your email address is stowed in the box to the right.

The National Student Survey opened last week, with third-year students at Sussex being paid £5 in food vouchers to complete it.

In the University’s guidance to staff, it is noted that:

sussex-nssThis particular explicit link between the NSS, league tables and the perceived value of students’ degrees is proudly displayed, in writing, for all to see, on the National Student Survey section of the University website. Thank goodness there’s no inappropriate influence going on!

It’s curtains time

Curtains: between Windows and desktop
Curtains: between Windows and desktop

I don’t know why it took me several months of living here to notice this, but the other day I suddenly realised that my Brighton bedroom curtains are covered in writing in some strange language that I didn’t recognise.

I Googled some of the words. And found… a bunch of people asking, “I found this writing on my curtains, what language is this?”

Glad to have got that sorted out.


Is it a bird? Is it a bagel?
Is it a bird? Is it a bagel?

In 2006, Chuck Hagel spoke of an “intimidating Jewish lobby” that is relentlessly focussed on promoting Israel’s interests.

Now Hagel will be regretting having spread this pernicious, untrue conspiracy theory. Because now he’s being blocked from becoming US Defence Secretary by, erm, a cartel of pro-Israel senators.

Sounds like a pernicious, untrue conspiracy theory to me.

And now a bumper edition of:

Sussexballs: £9000 per annum paid for contributions“My presentation partner hasn’t prepared anything because he was at a demonstration all weekend… It’s not his fault!”

“When White wrote this, she… White is a female, isn’t she?” / Tutor: “Yes: Barbara.” / “Exactly.”

“The members of the European Commission don’t come from Mars. Obviously.”

“What are the main tennants of intergovernmentalism?”

“From a Marxist perspective, which is where I’m coming from…” [Big surprise.]

“I saw this really nice car with my son, and I said, ‘That probably belongs to some trader.’ And now whenever anyone asks him what he wants to be when he grows up, he says, ‘A trader.’ And I don’t know what that means.”

“JFK was very laid-back.” [Erm…]

“In the House of Representatives you only have a two-year term so you’re constantly preparing for election. Senators have six-year terms so they can… chill a bit.”

“Now, Nixon: let’s forget the Watergate thing for a minute.”


michael farthing sussex security

“Gracia oum elegni recaant.” (by My Curtains)
In tonight’s episode, Sussex University was under the influence. Chuck Hagel fell victim to a nonexistent lobby; and curtains spoke louder than words. This was an Gabrielquotes production.


  1. No idea what a Returning Officer is, but I assume it doesn’t entail forfeiting your right as a human being to have your own opinion on a matter or are you that much of a humanoid politico? All the SU officers have come out in support of the occupation, so I’m sure you’re allowed to express your view on it.

    1. I’m afraid not actually: unlike the elected officers, the Returning Officer is an employee who has the role of ensuring a fair election and is therefore required to act impartially on any issue which divides the candidates: since some candidates were in favour of the occupation, and some opposed, it would be inappropriate of me to favour any particular viewpoint.

  2. Yeah but the election is over now, so you may speak freely. Are you a Zionist imperialist and an apologist for corporate tyranny?

    1. Thanks for your question.

      However, I’m afraid that the electoral process is not yet over: I am still in-role as Returning Officer and there are several post-election issues to be dealt with. There will also be several referenda at the end of this term.

      As I’m sure you understand, I need to remain impartial; just as you would expect the Returning Officer of David Cameron’s constituency not to come out in support of the Lib Dems (say), I cannot come out in support of any particular candidate, viewpoint or ideology.

    1. I do understand, but I’m sure that Students’ Union members (possibly including you, if you are one) would complain were I to espouse a particular political viewpoint.

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