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.