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Ivory Tower: Inside the WhatsApp group of the university research taskforce

Solloway4Derby: This group chat will help us carry on discussions between our fortnightly meetings.

DonelanStayAlert: As co-chair of this group I would also like to say that this group chat will help us carry on discussions between our fortnightly meetings.

LochheadSNP: The UK government’s advice on science has no credibility after the Cummings affair.

Solloway4Derby: He is an official and not elected, his employer accepts his full account, time to move on.

DonelanStayAlert: He is an official and not elected, his employer accepts his full account, time to move on.

WilliamsEdu: What a complete joke.

LochheadSNP: That’s just his reason for driving to Barnard Castle.

DUPDodds: Ulster says no.

Solloway4Derby: To Cummings continuing in government?

DUPDodds: To everything.

DonelanStayAlert: This group is not for discussing Dominic Cummings, there has been a full explanation, time to move on.

Solloway4Derby: This group is not for discussing Dominic Cummings, there has been a full explanation, time to move on.

VC1: Perhaps we could talk about how much money the government is prepared to give universities as a bailout?

Solloway4Derby: Maybe there is some mileage in making sure we’ve truly cleared the air on Dominic Cummings.

LochheadSNP: About 60 miles, round trip.

DUPDodds: Could have been worse, he could have driven to Wales.

WilliamsEdu: No one can drive to Wales at the moment.

DUPDodds: Dominic Cummings is probably the only one to have breathed clear air recently.

OdysseanDom: I am on here you know.

Spad1 Has left the group

Spad2 Has left the group

DirectorGeneral@BEIS Has left the group

DirectorGeneral@DfE Has left the group

OdysseanDom: Is it something I said?

LochheadSNP: It’s what you didn’t say—sorry.

OdysseanDom: Ok then, if it will help you all move on. I’m sorry you feel I went to Durham.

WilliamsEdu: Oh my God!

OdysseanDom: Only Boris calls me that, Mr Cummings, will do.

DUPDodds: What are you doing on this Taskforce?

OdysseanDom: I take all decisions about science and research in the UK.

Solloway4Derby: Dom? We talked about this.

OdysseanDom: We certainly did, we had a long chat…

Solloway4Derby:  Five minutes

OdysseanDom: …and at the end we decided I was right.

Solloway4Derby: But I’m the science minister.

OdysseanDom: That does not contradict what I just said.

DUPDodds: You are not in charge of Northern Irish science!

OdysseanDom: What science is there in Ulster?

DUPDodds: We are working on inventing technology that will enable frictionless trade across the Irish border, remember?

OdysseanDom: Oh yeah—good luck with that.

LochheadSNP: Scottish science is independent of England.

OdysseanDom: Only thing up there that is.

LochheadSNP: Scotland has a long history of world beaters: Alexander Graham Bell, John Logie Baird, Alexander Fleming, Kenny Dalglish…

OdysseanDom: All did their best work in England mate, put a sock in it.

LochheadSNP: I have never been so insulted!

OdysseanDom: You need to get out more.

WilliamsEdu: What, like you? Maybe he could drive to Durham.

LochheadSNP: Oh no, I never go south of Peebles.

Solloway4Derby: Dom, it’s great to have your input on the group but you need to watch your tone.

OdysseanDom: Dry your eyes Hancock.

DonelanStayAlert: He is an official and not elected, his employer accepts his full account, time to move on.

OdysseanDom: Keep out of this Donelan Bot, don’t you have a student chat to do?

DonelanStayAlert: Got to go, have a real on-line challenge at the moment.

OdysseanDom: Is it another Student Room thing?

DonelanStayAlert: No, I’m trying to find an Ocado delivery slot.

VC2: I thought this was a group chat about the bailout for universities?

OdysseanDom: That’s why I’m here to tell you that all there ain’t gonna be a handout. Use your mountain of reserves. Have you seen the Taxpayers’ Alliance report on the use of cars by vice-chancellors?

VC2: You are criticising us for using cars?

OdysseanDom: At least I drive my own.

WilliamsEdu: We can all drive, we just chose not to. We followed the rules.

LochheadSNP: Which you wrote.

OdysseanDom: I don’t need to explain myself to you.

LochheadSNP: Because you answer to Boris Johnson?

OdysseanDom: No, because there are only six Tory MPs in Scotland.

JarvisUUK: Perhaps, it would help if we got back to talking about the size of the financial aid package for universities.

OdysseanDom: I thought you’d been furloughed.

JarvisUUK: All parts of the UK have different issues, perhaps we could meet halfway.

LochheadSNP: Halfway between Edinburgh and London? Isn’t that Durham?

WilliamsEdu: ??

OdysseanDom: You’ve been quiet, thought you’d be on about geniuses in Wales.

WilliamsEdu: Tom Jones? JPR Williams? Shirley Bassey?

LochheadSNP: All those geniuses in Wales who voted for Brexit?

JarvisUUK: Did Tom Jones vote for Brexit?

DonelanStayAlert: Why? Why? Why?

Solloway4Derby: Is that a Tom Jones joke, dear?

DonelanStayAlert: No, I can’t get a delivery slot until next Thursday, dear.

VC1: Look, here’s a proposal, best and final offer. The government gives universities £2 billion and in return vice-chancellors will think about switching over to electric cars.

VC2: Maybe there could be some sort of trade-in scheme for old university cars. I’d happily give up the Daimler for one of those Elon Musk things.

OdysseanDom: A space rocket?

VC2: A new Tesla

Solloway4Derby: Anew Tesla wasn’t he one of those Welsh scientists?

WilliamsEdu: Elon Musk? Sounds like he might be.

DUPDodds: Sounds like a cheap perfume from Asda

WilliamsEdu: Frome Asda, definitely sounds like a Welsh name.

OdysseanDom: How many miles does one of those things do? Asking for a friend.

VC2: The rocket?

OdysseanDom: The car, brainiac.

VC2: You mean, Pontiac? That’s not one of my cars.

Solloway4Derby: Cars? How many have you got?

VC2: That belong to me personally or are part of the vice-chancellor’s fleet?

Solloway4Derby: Fleet? Are you a vice-chancellor or a rear-admiral?

VC2: Let me see, Hyundai, Bentley…

WilliamsEdu: Di Bentley, he was definitely a Welsh scientist.

JarvisUUK: Look, can we stick to what really matters here.

LochheadSNP: Cummings breaking his own rules?

WilliamsEdu: How the prime minister is too weak to sack him.

DUPDodds: What’s going to happen to the marching season?

VC2: A car trade-in scheme for vice-chancellors?

JarvisUUK: The desperate need for financial aid for universities.

OdysseanDom: The leader of this country thinks there should be no bailout.

JarvisUUK: But what do you think?

OdysseanDom: I’ve just told you.

LochheadSNP: What makes you think you know better than everyone else, Mr Cummings?

OdysseanDom: Jeez, this is worse than that Laura Kuenssberg.

LochheadSNP: She’s Scottish you know.

WilliamsEdu: You can have her back.

VC2: I see you like to negotiate Mr Cummings, let me improve the offer. You give us £2bn and we help with a Brexit deal.

DonelanStayAlert: A breakthrough!

Solloway4Derby: Have you got a delivery slot?

DonelanStayAlert: M&S can do Saturday morning.

OdysseanDom: What can you offer on a Brexit deal?

DonelanStayAlert: I don’t think M&S do Brexit.

OdysseanDom: Crossed messages.

Solloway4Derby: I’m glad you think that too, there has been a lot of crossed messaging with Brexit.

DonelanStayAlert: And with coronavirus.

OdysseanDom: Just you two wait until this is all over.

Solloway4Derby: The pandemic?

OdysseanDom: We’ve passed the peak.

LochheadSNP: Of Domgate?

DUPDodds: Of your government’s popularity?

DonelanStayAlert: He is an official and not elected, his employer accepts his full account, time to move on.

DandridgeOfS: Seriously, people! Students need to be able to go back to university. Can we talk about testing?

OdysseanDom: It was a 30-minute drive to make sure I could see well enough for the trip back to London.

JarvisUUK: ? ? ?

LochheadSNP has left the group

WilliamsEdu has left the group

DUPDodds has left the group

Solloway4Derby has left the group

DonelanStayAlert has left the group

OdysseanDom: Wait! We haven’t discussed the ARPA?

VC1: How many miles to the gallon does that do?

 OdysseanDom has left the group

Terms of use: This is a free email for fun on a Friday, it should travel widely like a government adviser during lockdown. Want to buy a second-hand car from a vice-chancellor? Want to say hello? Email ivorytower@researchresearch.com