Playing away

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The jury's out on Jury's Inn
The jury’s out on Jury’s Inn

As if life wasn’t hard enough for Sussex University’s senior managers with their six-figure salaries and expenses running into the tens of thousands, they also have to spend their time on arduous “Vice-Chancellor’s Executive Group away days” on which the University has lavished a mere £2,000 over the last couple of years.

A Sussex institution since January 2012, most have been at Brighton’s Jury’s Inn hotel, described by one reviewer on TripAdvisor as “lovely [but] the bar was very expensive, £5 for a flavoured cider.”

Rather tragically, however, three of these so-called away days have been at Bramber House – an occupation by any other name would smell as sweet – and I can’t help thinking that our poor senior managers must be rather miffed and expecting something more opulent for their our money.

Gabrielquotes is fortunate enough to have obtained a leaked recording of miffed managers fantasising at one of these away days, a truly remarkable verbatim record of what goes on behind VCEG’s closed doors:

the farthing's masterplanIn other Sussex news, the “Campus Masterplan” to build accommodation for 3,000 new students and (by coincidence I’m sure) demolish the Students’ Union’s greatest financial asset, East Slope Bar, has been rejected by a planning committee of the local council. Councillors were concerned that the peaceful, communal green campus would become “a dense urban environment”.

Amusingly it is not the first time that these concerns have been aired. A 1981 episode of Yes Minister involved an Oxford don stating, “We can’t expand further: there’d be dormitories everywhere, it would be like Wormwood Scrubs… or the University of Sussex!”

The University has said it will consider appealing – absolutely obsessed with suing people – and that the rejection will not affect their plan to increase student numbers by a third within the next four years.

Just a pity that they’ll now have, erm, nowhere to put them. Still, nice to know they’ve thought this through.

cameron hacking trial response andy coulsonWhen the Labour Party criticised the Prime Minister for trusting Andy ‘PIN number’ Coulson with unfettered access to Downing Street, the Prime Minister responded rather predictably with the traditional line, “I’ll take no lessons on ethics from the party that employed Damian McBride.”

Other famous uses of this line throughout history include:

  • Pharaoh: “I’ll take no lessons on ethics from a man who illegally entered this country in an improvised maritime basket.”
  • Dr Shipman: “I’ll take no lessons on ethics from the society that let me practice medicine.”
  • Binyamin Netanyahu: “I’ll take no lessons on how to conduct peace negotiations from the United Nations!”
  • Michael Farthing: “I’ll take no lessons on how to run a university from academics and students’ unions!”
  • Katy Bour (That’s enough brass necks. -Ed.)



The Duke and Duchess of IKEA Brochures
The Duke and Duchess of IKEA Brochures

The royal family released their annual accounts last week. The Keeper of the Privy Purse (which sounds like someone who collects money from people using public toilets but is in fact the senior royal bookkeeper) reminded us that the monarchy actually only costs the country 56p per person per year: so less than a pack of Pringles.

Big news is that William and Kate have had their royal apartment in Kensington Palace refurbished. It now resembles, an aide told journalists, “an ordinary family home”.

The renovations ran to £4.8million – almost frighteningly ordinary – though even this seems modest compared to Prince Charles’ 10.8 housekeepers (the 0.8 represents the person he had beheaded) and Prince Harry’s return flight to the USA, which despite being on a regular scheduled flight somehow came to £11,000.

The 21st century, eh: you can’t beat it.


C you later

Subtlety: the spy's greatest asset
Subtlety: the spy’s greatest asset

MI6 chief Sir John Sawyers – better known as C – is stepping down after five years in post. According to The Guardian, “Sawyers tried to lift the veil of secrecy surrounding MI6.”

His successor will be drawn from the following shortlist:

  • ███████ ██████████████
  • ████ ████████
  • ███████████ ████████
  • ███ ██████ ███████
  • Andy Coulson
  • ██████ █████████████

Five of the best

And in my penultimate blog post as a graduand…
In tonight’s episode, Oom Pah Pah was performed by Nancy on behalf of Duff, Farth, Mack etc. David Cameron got caught by the short and curlies; and the convict was played by Andy Coulson. The ordinary young couple was played by Their Royal Highnesses the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. This was an Gabrielquotes production!

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