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Dr Alistair Brown | Associate lecturer in English Literature; researching video games and literature

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Through exploring the psychopathology of Capgras syndrome, in which a patient mistakes a loved one for an imposter, The Echo Maker offers a sustained meditation on the ways in which we project our own problems onto other people. As a reflection on the mysteries of consciousness, the novel offers some interesting if not especially new insights into the fuzzy boundaries between scientific and literary interpretations of the mind. Read more

No Easy Way to Say This

Thursday, September 20, 2012

So Nick Clegg has apologised for promising not to introduce tuition fees, and then promptly doing just that. Not that he is sorry for the fees themselves, just sorry for having broken the original much-trumpeted promise. The video below says it all pretty well, I think.

But I am almost as cynical about Labour's snide remarks about Clegg shedding "crocodile tears." Let's not forget that it was Labour who introduced tuition fees in the first place. And let's not forget that Labour was re-elected in 2001 on a manifesto pledge stating that it "will not introduce top-up fees and has legislated against them." By 2004, it had legislated for, in effect, the opposite. Universities were not allowed to charge what they wanted for Higher Education, but the fees cap rose from £1000 to £3000. In most people's understanding, this was a "top up" fee. The government also claimed that although the legislation was passed in 2004, the fees would not take effect until after the next election, thus sticking to the letter of the previous election manifesto, if not to its spirit.

Those within Higher Education, whether teachers or students, have lived through a decade of mendacity. The Liberal Democrats may be worse than others because their pledge was designed solely to energise the student vote, which it then cast away when they caught the whiff of power that they hadn't expected. However, it would be wrong to see Labour as the shining alternative. If there were an election tomorrow I would certainly vote Labour over Liberal Democrats, breaking the habit of a lifetime over this one vital issue. However, I would do so with my fingers crossed, and without any great trust.

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Posted by Alistair at 8:17 am


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