How did KU’s so-called Gold Commander Steven ‘Two Jobs’ Spier view the recent strike action by UCU members? With contempt, of course. On the very first day of UCU’s action, Spier gloated to a local Kingston Councillor that Kingston University had seen ‘a small number of staff picketing on Penryhn Road and Knights Park campus’. That tells you all you need to know about the man. Spiersy has had a long history of ignoring the Union, dislikes the current chair, and has not directly met any UCU reps for over two long years. Instead, he sends his ever-faithful lapdog, SEC Dean Dave ‘Mac the Knife’ Mackintosh, to any meetings held with UCU reps.
Mackintosh is one of the only members of the Senior Lack-of-Leadership Team who does not slag Spiersy off behind his back (well, most of the time). Known in SEC as the Oldest Man in the World (possibly because he struggles to stay awake in meetings), the always loyal Mackintosh has built up quite a reputation for carrying out Spiersy’s dirty work, such as implementing major course cuts based on meaningless ‘consultations’. On top of all this, given the disastrous decision by St. George’s to effectively split from Kingston Uni due to Spiersy’s useless leadership, Mack the Knife has also agreed to oversee the dissolution of the joint Faculty.
Why did Mackintosh agree to this nasty little task? Simple: a new job was dangled in front of his eyes. Frightened that Mackintosh was thinking of retiring, and keen to keep him in the fold, the Gold Commandant decided to give old Macky a brand new Dean role – in January 2022 he will become Dean of Health, Social Care and Education, propped up by a ‘co-Dean’, Prof Rachel Allen. This ‘reward’ appears to have worked and held off (for now, anyway) Mackintosh’s growing desire to go. He obviously views his new role as a nice little earner to see out his final years at KU. According to sources in SEC, the devious VC has also secretly smoothed the path for this new role by ensuring that the Uni’s Remuneration Committee will give Mackintosh a substantial one-off bonus on top of his normal Dean’s salary. Talk about rewarding your mates! But this is Kingston remember, where sleaze and spin are essential weapons in Spier’s toolkit. We wonder if Rachel Allen knows about this grubby little deal, and realises what it will lead to (as, no doubt, she will end up doing much of the real work)?
And who was the local Borough Councillor on the receiving end of Spier’s latest dose of nasty spin about UCU? None other than the new leader of Kingston Council, Lib Dem Councillor Andreas Kirsch. Well, well, well. Spier apparently briefed Kirsch on all the latest wonderful plans he has for KU, including the repositioning of the Uni as a Polyversity that will ‘champion’ creative education and ‘innovative’ business skills, instead of all those useless ‘traditional’ subjects such as Politics, English Lit, Mathematics etc, etc. According to sources at the Guildhall, the Gold Commandant laid on huge dollops of spin to the new RBK leader and all the usual Spier favourites were on full and tedious display again: how the Clown House has won a prize, how the VC appeared on a Radio-4 programme, how the Uni has played a ‘crucial’ role in the Borough’s pandemic response (we kid you not), and how a new ‘Strategic Partnership’ has been agreed with the South Thames Colleges group (Spier’s pisspoor replacement deal to try and make up for the hugely embarrassing loss of St. Georges). Kirsch is said to have listened to it all ‘politely’. Spier should surely know by now that seasoned politicians quickly see through his spin. But Professor Dimwit will never learn.
Apart from him having a secret second job on the side, and his obvious loathing of many of his own employees, one of the most shocking things about all this is the lack of accountability. Who holds him to account? I reckon he is abusing his position.