Kingston joins the PEF

Here’s something we suspect will not be mentioned at any University Open Days or be put in press releases sent out by the Uni’s Comms team. But (big drum roll here) Kingston’s self-annointed ‘Gold Commander’, Admiral Steven ‘Two Jobs’ Spier, can now boast of another world-beating achievement: the University has joined the PEF.

What’s the PEF? You have heard of the REF, TEF and KEF. Now your employer has added a new category to the University’s C.V., although Spiersy will not refer to it in his latest VLOG. Staff union UCU have announced nationally that Kingston has joined the Punitive Employer Framework (PEF). This is a list of Universities that are threatening 100% deduction in pay if any of their staff support the UCU campaign for a marking boycott.

The list (currently) is: Sheffield; University of Leeds: QMUL; Cardiff University; Ulster; UAL; University of Brighton; SOAS and – now – Kingston.

Not only are UCU members in the firing line: non-UCU staff who refuse to mark other colleagues’ work who are participating in the boycott will also be penalised by their line-managers and Deans, even if it’s just one single essay (yes, you read that correctly). It is a classic punitive divide-and-rule tactic, designed to make non-UCU staff turn against their UCU-membered colleagues. It comes straight out of all the grubby Guides to Bad Management so lovingly adored by the latest generation of spineless technocrats who have now hijacked the top managerial levels at many of the post-92 HEIs, including Kingston.

Spiersy’s hardening of tactics should come as no surprise. Ever since he became VC he has refused to deal directly with UCU, regarding them as a pain in his greasy backside, and as a potential road block on his vision to convert the University into no more than a glorified technical college. As Dissenter revealed in a previous blog, Vice-Admiral Spier recently told his admin staff that UCU’s ‘action short of a strike’ policy was ‘damaging to’ Kingston’s public relations (which conveniently ignores all the damage he clearly has done himself). Dissenter also noted how Spiersy gleefully boasted to the local Council’s new Chief Executive, Andreas Kirsch, that UCU staff picketing at PR and KP campuses were ‘small’ in number.

Dissenter has been informed that the ever-miserable VC has also been in secret close discussion with some other VCs, and two zoom meetings have been held in recent weeks to coordinate a common strategy over the UCU marking boycott. Well, well.

Another influence on Spiersy has been his new HR director, Emma Bunton, who was appointed in 2020. Boynton came from Kensington and Chelsea Council, where she developed an unpleasant reputation among her workforce and boasted she had ’embedded new behaviours’ there. Boynton has apparently been egging Spiersy on to take a more hardline stance towards UCU at Kingston (it is worth noting that her confrontational style was also one of the things that impressed the VC when the former Spice Girl was interviewed for the KU HR job).

It gets worse. Another member of the SLT (Senile Leadership Team) has also, according to our sources, been urging Spiersy to ‘break’ UCU. We won’t name the individual concerned (we are saving that juicy bit of info for a rainy day) but the (male) SLTer has a remarkably stupid habit of making mobile phone calls around the back of Holmewood House, where he thinks he’s out of earshot of the admin office. Whoops. What’s even more pathetic is that the individual concerned has also slagged off Spiersy in the past, but in recent SLT meetings has gone all out to massage the VC’s ego and criticise UCU.

As Admiral-Commander ‘tinpot’ Spiersy pilots the S.S. Kingston further on to the rocks, squinting desperately through his contact lenses, he’s obviously persuaded himself that Uni staff are solely to blame for everything, especially those tiresome UCU members. While he lashes out with a new round of punitive measures against UCU, he remains completely unable to face up to the fact that his own pisspoor VC-ship is the real problem. His BOG knows it. His SLT also know it. Many Uni staff have known it all along, including those who once had the misfortune to suffer him as Dean of KSA.

He continues to bore everybody senseless about his pet ‘Future Skills’ campaign, but the overpaid Professor Dimwit simply cannot see he has zero skills himself. He should place himself under PEF, and forgo a few of those nice top-class hotel stays he is so fond of.

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An Easter Message from your favourite VC

Dear peasants staff types,

As I once again take a well-earned break at this very special time of the year I thought I would write to you all personally in the knowledge that you would all appreciate an update from your Gold Commander on how the Polyversity University has forged ahead during the weeks since Christmas, and especially since my last speech to staff in the University’s flagship and award-winning Clown House near the beginning of Semester 2, which (as I am sure you will agree) was a truly memorable highlight in the institution’s 2021-22 academic calendar.

I am sure you will also all agree with me that it has been another world-beating few months in the story of my VC-ship and my strategic mission for the University. I feel truly privileged to remain as your Vice-Admiral and overall senior managerial executive, and I have many more exciting plans in the pipeline for Kingston’s workforce to help push the University’s entrepreneurial and innovative Forward Operational Model (FOM) even further forward than previously, with lots of new initiatives concerning new forms of knowledge exchange and transfer, and plenty of innovative suggestions to enhance our strategic development and meet the changing needs of industry and outside firms and businesses of all shapes and sizes.

Doing in Action

As you all know, or at least those of you who can be bothered to read my messages or watch all my special video talks, I have placed ‘doing things’ and ‘making things’ at the heart of Kingston’s creative skills mission. The SLT (Senile Leadership Team) and BOG (Board of Governors) have all been briefed regularly and completely agree with me that Kingston has developed a growing reputation as the sector leader in making useful things in an innovative, creative, blended and interesting way. The next Away Day for the BOG, for example, will introduce them to the ancient art of origami, the first step being to make little paper hats for the lunch break during the day. This is the kind of positive ‘can do’ attitude I feel should be rolled out across all parts of the University. It is ‘doing in action’, shaped in a strategic ‘make do’ philosophy of which we can all be justly proud. I was also inspired in this by one of my many business trips to Hong Kong on behalf of the University, where I also picked up other skills in picture-framing, decorative pen-writing and self-directed massage.

Looking Ahead

As part of my Big Conversation with the workforce and all staff-types, and at my last speech to you all in the Clown House, I invited all of you earlier this year to send me suggestions about any exciting new ideas you may have had about how we can put even more ‘creative skills’ at the heart of my vision and mission for the University. I am very pleased to announce that we had a fantastic response to this. When my PA had filtered out all the abusive messages from staff (probably from members of that so-called staff union YUKU, the moaning minnies), she was able to show me at least one positive suggestion from Dr.—–, a Senior Lecturer (fixed-term) in Business Studies at Kingston Hill. He made the brilliant point that we need to make more of the University’s two main corporate colours, grey and blue. He suggested that greater use of the two colours at every opportunity and throughout the University’s buildings would enhance Kingston’s sense of common creative identity and cross-interdisciplinarity. I completely agreed with this forward-thinking idea, and he will certainly be promoted asap. It is precisely this kind of genius strategic innovation that I have banged on about endlessly for many months now, as the BOGsters and SLT will confirm. Firm colour schemes with clear identities can also be blended in new synergies, leading to greater collaboration across Faculties and new creative insights.

Grey and Blue

I am happy to announce that, after commissioning a lengthy 2-page report from my favourite outside consultants PwC, they have recommended that I adopt a brand new initiative. Based on their findings, I will set up three Workforce Taskforces on this colour-themed idea, which will devote time to identifying all the ways where the University’s two colours can be better utilised in an innovative and blended, er, way to forge a much greater sense of corporate identity and, er, wayness, and instil the necessary business skills and creativity that are so important for the success of my Future Skills vision/mission in the next planning round.

The Workforce Innovation Taskforce 1 (TWIT1) will look at and consider the greater use of the colour grey. The Workforce Taskforce 2 (TWIT2) will look at and consider the use of the colour blue. And the Workforce Taskforce 3 (TWIT3) will explore how the two colours can be combined and blended together in a more creative and innovative way. Each TWIT will be chaired by a member of the SLT and will report directly back to me. A paper advocating action and a phased implementation plan will then be tabled at a future SLT working-party, and a Business Case will then be considered in more detail by the new pro-VC for Innovation, Doing Things and Knowledge Transfer, who will then write a report with a series of Action points for my approval. Capital for this exciting new project will be redirected away from Faculty teaching budgets and made available via an internal competition, with bids invited from any member of staff at Professor level and above who can demonstrate 40+ years of service. It is anticipated that the new approach will be put in place during the summer of 2022 and I will monitor all bids from my beach sunbed while abroad.

Some great ideas have already burst forth from preliminary meetings of all 3 TWITs, such as having nice little new staff I.D. cards in an interesting grey-blue colour scheme, painting all corridors in either grey or blue, and having all University letterheads rendered in either grey or blue shades, or in a pre-tested mix of the two to help convey to all external contacts what a creative, shady and dynamic place the University has become.

As you all know, our academic gowns at all graduation ceremonies already embody our grey-blue colour scheme, but I would like us all to think of even more creative ways that we can make innovative and best use of the two colours throughout the Degree ceremonies and at all such events. One idea from Dean Dave ‘the knife’ Mac, which I am particularly enthusiastic about, is to have all staff ushers at the Degree ceremonies wear smart gloves in either grey or blue, with shoes also in either grey or blue, or one shoe of each colour. To push things to even greater levels of creative innovation, all Degree scrolls, instead of being in standard parchment yellow, could be produced in a variety of grey-blue colours. Instead of red ribbons around the scrolls, they could be in grey or blue, or even a checked pattern of the two shades, perhaps with grey or blue polka dots. This is precisely the kind of make-do creativity I am keen to encourage throughout the University and at all levels of our strategic operation; it can be an invaluable part of the KU ‘story’ that I wish to convey to all potential employers, to our strategic partnerships, to all stakeholders and outside businesses in our drive for innovative knowledge transfer and exchange.

If the right colours are in place, the rest will follow: market-leading and world-beating creativity delivered directly from the very heart of Kingston, in glorious greys and blues, all driven and shaped through the sheer brilliance of my leadership.

Finally, a last piece of exciting news for you: as you all know, at my behest, the Polyversity University adopted a new mascot in 2021, Polly the grey parrott, whose image will soon appear on all University mastheads, signs, cups and cutlery. As part of our drive for a singular grey-blue corporate image, I have decided to purchase a partner for Polly – a blue parrott. His new blue companion will help keep him company at SLT strategy meetings and at the Degree ceremonies. It has also been agreed by BOG that both parrotts will be taught to sing a new Kingston University song, which will be composed over the coming months by yours truly, with advice from our Music dept (what’s left of it). The words ‘grey’ and ‘blue’ will be part of the lyrics. This song will be premiered in time for the 2022-23 academic year. I am really looking forward to sharing this innovative and brand new initiative with you all.

Enjoy your Easter eggs. I know I will.



Vice-Admiral and Professor Steven ‘Two Jobs’ Spier, top architect and a leading expert on Swiss cheeses.


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Your Pay vs Their Pay: the reality

This image has been a big hit on social media, so Dissenter felt duty-bound to share it. While KU staff made huge sacrifices during the pandemic and kept the place going, the Silver failures on the SLT (Senile Leadership Team) were rewarded handsomely by their so-called Gold Commander. And, remember, one of the VC’s close mates on the SLT was given a secret extra financial bung recently for taking on a new Deanship. You couldn’t make it up. Trebles all round.

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Why the long face? KU’s VC is not happy

Vice-Admiral Steven ‘Two Jobs’ Spier is not a happy man. But then, was he ever a happy man? According to reliable sources, Spiersy has been getting the hump over the actions of the local UCU branch at Kingston, and regards the ‘action short of a strike’ policy adopted by UCU as ‘damaging to’ (his words) the University’s public reputation.

Yes, ironic, isn’t it? The man who has done more than any other previous VC to undermine and wreck the University’s reputation through his savage cuts to courses (which led to big front-page headlines in the local press), his piss-poor management, his extravagant spending on useless outside consultants, his embarrassingly bland video blogs, his inept performance in front of a Minister of State, his special favours for close mates on the SLT, and a host of other questionable decisions, has had the gall to turn round and blame the workforce for KU’s poor public relations.

We should not be too surprised. This is a man who gloated to the newly-appointed head of the local Council (his new best friend) that the numbers of staff picketing at PR and KP campuses recently had been ‘small’ in number. This is the man who is so arrogant that he refuses to meet Union reps face to face, and always sends his favourite bagman, Dave ‘Mac the Knife’ Mackintosh, to confront UCU reps and negotiate, which in KU speak really means ‘relay the latest decisions from on high’.

Remember, too, that the so-called Gold Commander is the man who also gave ‘Mac the Knife’ a special financial bonus for taking on a shiny new Deanship, but without telling the rest of the SLT about this secret bung. This is the man who trousers more than £329,000 a year for being VC, but also has another secret job on the side (which he does on the University’s own time). This is the man who has used University money to enjoy a series of ‘business’ trips abroad, defending this as necessary for ‘income generation’ (oh yeah?). This is the man who also seems intent on reinventing the University as a hybrid ‘Polyversity’, a kind of glorified and dumbed down technical college, where more and more of the teaching will be delivered online, with less and less staff. He is also now floating the idea, as part of his future ‘vision’ (his FOM – ‘Future Operational Model’), of radically cutting down on staff office space – the ultimate logic of this being to have, at some stage in the future, no staff offices with p.c.s but, instead, a highly mobile ‘taskforce’ of cheap lecturers all working from laptops. Yes – that’s the plan. You heard it here first. Don’t say you were not warned.

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Stevie ‘Bobby’ Spiersy sings

Splish splash I was takin’ a bath
When I shoulda been runnin’ the show, yeah
A rub a dub, feet wet in the flood
Hoping everything was all right

Well I opened the door, the water poured out
Eadweard wasn’t happy
And started to shout, and then
A-splish splash, another pipe burst
How was I to know my management was crap

We was a-splishin’ and a-splashin’, failin’ with the bailin’
Lovin’ the logrollin’, staff were disapprovin’, yeah

Bing-bang, the SLT gang
Payin’ them over the top, yeah
Flip flop, should be in for the chop
Get away with it all of the time

There was little Big Mack soaking wet through
Good Golly, the Polly in swimming trunks too
A-well-a, splish splash, I forgot about the job
And gave myself a salary rise, yeah

Yes, I was a-splishin’ and a-splashin’
I was a-stallin’ and appallin’
Yeah, I was a-failin’ and a-wailin’, whoo
We was a-clownin’ at the townin’, ha
We was a-shockin’ and a-cockin’, foolin’ and a-toolin’
A-splish and a-splash, yeah


With acknowledgements

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Floody Hell: KU has that sinking feeling again

What is cold, wet and very unwelcome? Your first answer will no doubt be the VC and self-annointed Gold Commander Steven ‘two jobs’ Spier. But it might also be the news that there has been another flood in the EM Building at Pen Rd, much to the disgust and anger of staff. It happened late on the evening of 9th January, and staff returning to their offices and labs on the morning of 10th January found a soggy mess waiting for them and their access to rooms and offices, in a number of cases, completely barred.

So successful have KU managers been in keeping quiet and covering up the incident that many staff across the University have remained blissfully unaware of it, and do not even know it happened. But for those staff and students who were affected by it at Pen Rd, it has had very serious consequences. Not only were various staff offices flooded and books and other equipment ruined, but sports science facilities and forensics work were also seriously damaged. Some of the lab work had to be junked (and some of the forensics work, by the way, was being carried out for outside contracts held by Kingston). So this latest embarrassment has cost the Uni a considerable sum of money.

What has been so shocking for staff in the EM Building is that this is the second serious flooding in 3 years. The previous incident (linked to the JG Building right next to the EM block) occurred over a Christmas break and was not discovered for a long while because there was nobody in the building at the time and, for some reason, security staff seemed to be asleep on the job. Predictably, lots of big promises were made at that time by KU’s Senior Lack-of-Leadership Team (‘it won’t happen again’, ‘it’s a one-off’, and so on). Yet here we are again. And, remember, this has also had serious consequences for the work of students, especially final year ones, who have just entered their vital second semester.

So, the next time you hear Vice-Admiral Spier boasting yet gain about all the millions that was lavishly spent on the Clown House, and what a great achievement it has all been, winning awards and meeting his ‘vision’ etc, etc (yawn), just remember how that building has sucked up mountains of money while other parts of the Pen Rd campus were crying out for repairs, crucial maintenance and renewal. The latest flooding in the EM Building illustrates this perfectly, and is a tragedy that could so easily have been avoided. As ever, though, KU’s senior managers have been caught out again, utterly failing to anticipate maintenance issues that could have been dealt with had they been doing their jobs properly. The current Estates team are clearly inadequate, but ultimately the buck stops at the top.

And if you want to ask Spiersy any questions about this or other matters and put him on the spot, you are out of luck. His latest meeting with staff, to be held in his personal cathedral to extravagance, the Clown House (where else?), will see him take questions from staff – but only ones that have been submitted and vetted beforehand. The Gold Commander is so frightened of being thrown a difficult question that he is ensuring, yet again, complete control over the meeting. A free and frank discussion? No chance. What do you think Kingston is – a University?

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