The chickens are beginning to come home to roost. Although the blog is new, my feelings on the shifting political sands are well established. I always maintained that allowing a plebiscite that would engage the elderly, the bigoted and the racist and ignore the generation that would be most affected by the impact of that idiocy was almost certainly doomed to end in a spectacular country scuttling Armageddon. And lo, so it has come to pass.
Well maybe not quite, but certainly the first fissures of hell are beginning to reveal themselves as economic magma begins to bubble and spit around the education sector. Ideology aside there will be an entirely predictable impact on education from Brexit. Of course partnering and joint research across the continent has been largely and willingly assisted by EU grants and funding. The free movement of people has been key to the free exchange of ideas but as we revealed ourselves to be an intolerant and inhospitable people, greater minds have decided to base themselves in countries with a greater capacity for love and mutual respect. So as respected academics return to their countries of origin, I won’t say home because this was their home until we started boarding up the windows. As they go they take that all important funding with them, leaving in their wake empty labs, research hubs and so on that are forced to support themselves by trying to attract the highest paying cohorts available from international backgrounds or further screw any would be British students with yet more price hikes on their tuition fees. When you have a system that demands ever more cash to stay afloat and fill the vacuum left by the departing academics you enter into a Faustian pact of diminishing returns of quality. International students from China, Russia and from every other corner of the globe flocked here because our universities were once upon a time the envy of the world. They paid their money in order to study with the elite, now we are reliant on their paying the money to study with elite adjacent in many cases. How long before they take that money and go elsewhere, the where being the environment in which they get the most bang for their buck?
Manchester University announced 171 job losses this week, they deny it has anything to do with Brexit or changing economic circumstances but the UCU (University and College Union) level the claim it was the inevitable and predictable result of the financial uncertainty brought about by Brexit.
MU is one of the richer universities in the UK with a healthy bank balance of around £1.5 Billion and if they are in a position of having to make cost savings in order to secure future growth, as is their contention, then that does not auger well for smaller universities. Quite how losing academic posts in areas as key as science, medicine and business could be considered a necessary step to ensuring the betterment of the institution is beyond me, unless there is a bewildering lack of quality in their ranks and this is just an unrelated cull.
Anyway for good or ill we are on this path and from the current vantage point it becomes increasingly hard to see how a confused and duped (generously) public could have allowed their fears and insecurities to be played upon so effectively as to rob future generations of the great social and political freedoms granted by being part of the EU. Selah.