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Ivory Tower: WhatsApp with the election?


We gain exclusive access to the higher education WhatsApp groups of the political parties

Keith Joseph woz here ConservativeHE

Sat Gav: Looking for policy ideas for the manifesto, any thoughts?

Skid1: Have you looked in the top drawer of the filing cabinet, I think Jo Johnson left a buff folder there.

JoJo: Why am I still on this list?

Skid1: Didn’t you write the last election manifesto?

JoJo: 2015.

Sat Gav: Well, we haven’t really done anything useful since the 2015 election.

JoJo: What about the Higher Education and Research Act and the Teaching Excellence Framework?

Sat Gav: Like I say, we haven’t really done anything useful since the 2015 election.

Unsubscribe: Jo Johnson has left the group

Skid1: Well done Gav, what now? People will ask what our response to Augar is going to be?

The Wolf of Whitehall: I’m working on this.

Skid1: I’m dead against a cut in tuition fees.

Hinds means beans: Me too.

Sat Gav: Are you still here?

Hinds means beans: As a former secretary of state, I was invited to be part of the group.

Sat Gav: Sorry, thought you were one of those who lost the whip.

Green Justine: That was me.

Sat Gav: You’re on here too? Someone really needs to update the list.

Sammy G: Yes, they really do.

The Wolf of Whitehall: Just leave this to the experts. I have a plan.

Skid1: Rather than say we will cut fees, we could freeze them for the duration of the parliament, which will reduce their value while not giving an attack line to vice-chancellors who would have to argue actively for an increase in fees.

The Wolf of Whitehall: Slow hand clap, keep up genius, anything else?

Sat Gav: What about a bill on free speech on campus?

Skid1: Pointless, unnecessary, wolf whistle politics to appeal to the Tory base

The Wolf of Whitehall: Slow handclap, keep up genius, anything else?

Sat Gav: Whose writing this manifesto, Spiked?

The Wolf of Whitehall: Funny you should say that…

Classic Dom: Just make sure my advanced research projects agency is in there.

The Wolf of Whitehall: That’s on the business department list, Dom.

Leadsom A: Oh no it’s not.

Classic Dom: Sort out this shambles or I’ll come over there and cut off your thumbs with a pickling fork.

Leadsom A: Have you ever seen a pickling fork, before? Didn’t know they had them in Russia.

Classic Dom: That’s it, you’re not getting a SpAD after the election.

Sat Gav: The way the campaign has started none of us will have a SpAD after the election.

Classic Dom: Who elected you president of Remainia? Boris wants the manifesto pledges on his desk by the end of the day so he can work on the manifesto this weekend.

Skid1: I thought he was going to a cottage in the New Forest with Carrie.

Leadsom A: That was last weekend when he should have been reading the select committee report on Russian interference in UK elections.

Sat Gav: This weekend, he’s going to a cottage in the Cotswolds.

Classic Dom: There has been no Russian interference in UK votes!

Long awkward silence

Skid1: Where abouts in the Cotswolds, anywhere nice?

Hinds means beans: Do the new fiscal rules announced by Sajid mean that we can hide the cost of student loans in the public accounts again?

The Wolf of Whitehall: Slow handclap, keep up genius, anything else?

Sat Gav: Stow in the Wold

The Wolf of Whitehall: Is that a policy?

Sat Gav: It’s a place in the Cotswolds.

Leadsom A: Where Boris won’t be reading your manifesto this weekend.

Classic Dom: Any more like that and you’ll be given Northern Ireland after the election.

Leadsom A: I thought we were giving it to the EU?

Hinds means beans: I haven’t seen such little grip on the details of higher education policy since Sam Gyimah was minister.

Sammy G: I’m still here, you know.

Skid1: Taunton?

Sammy G: I think it’s called Trolling now.


Viva el 12 Diciembre LabourHE

Angie R: The details of the National Education Service are needed for Monday.

Gordon4Blackpool: That will be tricky, the commission isn’t due to report until the Spring.

Angie R: Well, could you maybe give us a few bullet points?

Gordon4Blackpool: To be honest, I’ve rather got my hands full in Blackpool this weekend.

Angie R: Marginal constituency?

Gordon4Blackpool: No, it’s the switch on of the Xmas lights.

I❤️Jeremy: I think there may be some rough notes from an event in Liverpool

Angie R: A policy seminar, or, a focus group?

I❤️Jeremy: No, a Billy Bragg concert.

Famous Seumas: What’s keeping the higher education pledges?

Angie R: Trying to iron out a few issues, there are red flags everywhere.

Famous Seaumas: That’s how I like it.

Gordon4Blackpool: Education policy is more difficult than it looks; colleges and universities can be hell.

Famous Seaumas: It’s easy comrade Gordon, would you rather be in a neo-liberal capitalist hell or a socialist hell?

Gordon4Blackpool: The socialist hell, obviously.

Angie R: There would more likely be a shortage of coal.

Famous Seaumas: Any more of that and I’ll come up to Manchester and make you regret it.

Angie R: Are you going to deselect me?

Famous Seaumas: No, I’m going to campaign for you.

Gordon4Blackpool: It would help if we had an easy way to explain the National Education Service to the public.

Famous Seaumas: We just want an education service that makes people happy.

Angie R: It would help if you could forward the list of the people we are trying to make happy.

I❤️Jeremy: The University and College Union, Momentum, Len McCluskey…

Famous Seaumas: Look, we’ve only got a paragraph in the manifesto so just keep it vague beyond saying we’ll cut tuition fees.

Gordon4Blackpool: Vaguer than that?

Angie R: How about a picture of some students smiling as they get their degree results?

I❤️Jeremy: A puppy room? We can promise a safe space for everyone on campus.

Gordon4Blackpool: If you do that, I might be the only one without a safe space on campus.

Famous Seaumas: Whatever you come up with, John wants to see costings for your five-year plan.

Angie R: Stalin!

Famous Seaumas: No, he wants it in a hurry.

Liberal Democrats winning here for HE

Swinson PM: It’s great now that we have 21 MPs, there will be many more ideas to contribute to a Liberal Democrat manifesto. First up, they were a big topic in the last election, any thoughts on universities?

Chuka4Change: I used to be the shadow secretary for business when universities were in the brief.

Swinson PM: Great, any ideas?

Chuka4Change: On what?

Swinson PM: Universities

Chuka4Change: They’re a good thing, mostly…

Sammy G: I was voted best universities minister of 2018

Swinson PM: Great, any ideas?

Sammy G: On what?

Swinson PM: Universities

Sammy G: Not really, Jo Johnson left a buff folder in the top drawer of a filing cabinet in the department for education, whenever we needed an idea we’d look at that.

Swinson PM: Well, what are the big issues in higher education? Who has something to say on tuition fees?

Unsubscribe: Fresh Vince has left the group
Unsubscribe: Minty Lamb has left the group
Unsubscribe: Head Davey has left the group
Unsubscribe: Farron4PM has left the group

Swinson PM: Guys, come back, we can have a new policy on tuition fees.

Sammy G: If I remember right, I think Jo Johnson wanted to increase them.

Unsubscribe: Swinson PM has left the group

Terms of use: this is a free email for fun on a Friday, it should circulate widely like spending pledges on infrastructure in an election campaign. Want to subscribe to the Ivory Tower think tank WhatsApp group? Want to say hello? Email ivorytower@researchresearch.com