Students at the University of Bath sent a strong message to their hated vice chancellor last week—let her eat biscuits.
Dame Glynis Breakwell, Britain’s highest paid vice chancellor, was forced to cower indoors as angry protesters threw fig rolls, shortbread and other treats during a protest against her.
As well as grabbing £468,000 a year in salary and benefits, Breakwell had also claimed £2 for biscuits as part of her £20,000 annual expense bill.
Hundreds of students and university workers joined the protest, some chanting, “Biscuits in, Glynis out!”
The scale of the anger has forced Breakwell to announce her retirement next year. But to add insult to injury, she’ll still be receiving her full salary until February 2019 as she’ll be enjoying a six-month long paid sabbatical.
On top of that Breakwell will continue to live in a listed Georgian townhouse and a £31,500 car loan will be written off.
She thinks she’s worth it. “I think that we have a situation where we are in a globally competitive market for talent in higher education and that’s particularly true in terms of the leaders of higher education,” she said, to explain her vast income.
The university has also paid her council tax and utility bills, as well as forking out for a cleaner.
More vice chancellors should come under fire for their pay and privileges over the coming months as universities release their accounts.
It has already emerged that Sir Christopher Snowden, vice chancellor at the University of Southampton, grabs a pay package of £433,000. The university has announced plans to slash 75 jobs while advertising for a chauffeur for Snowden and other bosses to use.
Andrew Corbett-Nolan of the Good Governance Institute warned that not all universities “are in tune with the current mood” on bosses’ pay.
The UCU, Unison and Unite unions at Bath university demanded that Breakwell “must go now”. They said she will grab over £600,000 more from the university before she leaves.
Sometimes politics just isn’t fair. While those who fawn over the Labour leader can buy themselves a cosy Jeremy Corbyn Christmas jumper for the festive season, what about fans—or possibly the fan—of Theresa May?
They’ll have to make do with a Theresa May pin cushion—“ready to stab or squeeze”.
Available for £5.99 on eBay. Pins not provided.
Grayling privatises more rail services
Tory transport secretary Chris Grayling announced his new plan for Britain’s railways last Wednesday—which will surprise no one by increasing the reach of private companies.
The “connecting people: a strategic vision for rail” report calls for “greater collaboration” between state-owned Network Rail and private franchises.
Stagecoach and Virgin Trains jointly operate the East Coast franchise—which had been running up losses.
So the Tories are going to bail them out of their contract three years early.
Stagecoach’s shares rose 13 percent the day after the announcement.
Currently maintenance of train tracks falls to Network Rail—but Grayling’s plans mean private companies will now have to look after the tracks they run on.
And the Tories are going to break up their “super-franchise” of Thameslink, Southern and Great Northern in 2021.
Commons speaker John Bercow has avoided Twitter since his wife said a peer was a paedophile a few years ago.
When news broke about Trump retweeting a Nazi the speaker was bemused.
So was his clerk, who asked Bercow, “It’s not Katie Hopkins again, is it?”
Christmas biscuit prices have rocketed by up to a third on last year.
Asda’s Christmas milk, dark and white chocolate biscuits are up 33 percent to £4.
Sainsbury’s Scottish Shortbread Selection has risen 20 percent to £6. And Tesco’s Novelty Shortbread Tin is 20 percent more at £5.
Morrisons’ Gingerbread Man rose 23 percent to 80p.
Sainsbury’s said, “Prices can fluctuate.”
Former Tory faked vote nomination forms
A former Tory MP tricked elderly and infirm people into signing nomination forms for candidates in local elections.
Voters approached last year by Bob Spink —who defected to Ukip in 2008—believed they were signing petitions, a court was told.
The former Tory MP for Castle Point in Essex was found guilty of submitting false signatures. Spink, from Benfleet, will be sentenced in the New Year, along with James Parkin, 39, who forged signatures from the electoral register.
Judge Ian Graham told them at Southwark Crown Court, “These types of offences are taken very seriously.”
The jury heard that none of the candidates in the deception won a seat on the council.
The Tories are secretly pausing the disastrous roll out of Universal Credit in Theresa May’s constituency.
They are also delaying the benefits shake-up in the constituencies of a string of top Tories, including that of work and pensions secretary David Gauke, under fire first secretary of state Damian Green and UC’s architect Iain Duncan Smith.
Brighton Lord pays back
A senior Labour peer will repay up to £41,000 after admitting that he wrongly claimed travel expenses.
Lord Bassam of Brighton, Labour’s chief whip in the Lords, claimed for taxis and rail fares for journeys between his home in Brighton and London while also receiving an overnight allowance.
The peer receives a salary of £63,537 for the role as well as a Lords office holders’ allowance of £36,366 a year.
Looking to a higher authority
Stressed priests and rabbis, psychologically bruised by their congregations, have been seeking guidance from a higher power.
The Unite union has had a surge in ministers joining its faith workers division. Almost 1,500, including priests, rabbis and a few imams, are members. It’s a rise of almost 200 or 16 percent, on the year before.
The union’s helpline for clerics has received hundreds of calls in the past year.
The Rev Peter Hobson is head of Church of England Clergy Advocates (CECA) within Unite. He said priests were unlikely to walk out on strike.