Ivory Tower: exclusive access to the Labour Party higher education WhatsApp group
Kate4Stretford: Look everyone, Keir has asked me to bring together all the past and present education and university experts in the party to generate some fresh ideas about our higher education policy. Think of it as being on the Green list.
Western4Warwick: I thought they’d done away with that.
IanMurryOneAndOnly: Not in Scotland.
MarkieDFirstMinister: Nor in Wales.
ShabanaCampaignSupernova: That’s not the list of MPs defecting to the Greens?
Kate4Stretford: No, you all have or have had responsibility for speaking about universities in some way, so we want to crowdsource your wisdom.
IanMurryOneAndOnly: I don’t.
Kate4Stretford: You are our only MP in Scotland, so you had better.
EdReseasonsToBeCheerful: Has anyone visited a university lately?
Kate4Stretford: I have.
Western4Warwick: Me too, after the conference Kate and I went to the University of Sussex.
ChazClarke97: I thought you meant a real university.
Kate4Stretford: Sussex is real, I’m pretty sure of that. Or is that Hogwarts?
LammyLBC: Did you go to Brighton University?
Kate4Stretford: Sussex is Brighton University.
LammyLBC: No, there are two of them.
Kate4Stretford: Two Sussexes?
EdReseasonsToBeCheerful: Harry and Meghan?
LammyLBC: No, two universities in Brighton, did either of you go to the other one?
Kate4Stretford: I went to Edinburgh.
Western4Warwick: I went to Bristol.
ShabanaCampaignSupernova: Is this going to take long? I’ve got elections to fix. Only joking, lunch to fix, I meant lunch.
#Heckler1: Where’s Peter Mandelson?
MandyMMU: Actually, I’m here,
Moderator: How did you get in here?
MandyMMU: I think Kate added me.
Moderator: I wasn’t talking about you.
#Heckeler2: Free Julian Assange!
EdReseasonsToBeCheerful: Is he on here? I think you mean unsubscribe Julian Assange.
Moderator: Ok, I’ve changed the settings, carry on.
Western4Warwick: Perhaps, we could hear from my predecessor.
Emma4Hull: I’ve walked away from the brief.
Kate4Stretford: To spend more time with your constituents?
Emma4Hull: No, to concentrate on my new commercial venture.
EdReseasonsToBeCheerful: Enterprise? I like it.
Emma4Hull: I’m opening a shoe shop with the science minister and the universities minister in the Coalition government.
Kate4Stretford: Freeman, Hardy and Willetts?
ChazClarke97: Damn, I was going to do that with the chair of the science and technology committee.
Western4Warwick: What would your shop have been called?
ChazClarke97: Flip Flop
Kate4Stretford: Look, has anyone got any suggestions on what to call our higher education policy?
AMcDonaldMP: I quit
Kate4Stretford: I don’t think that’s a very positive message for students.
AMcDonaldMP: No, I quit. I’m out of here. See you later sellouts.
AMcDonaldMP has left the group.
LammyLBC: Who was that?
MandyMMU: No idea.
Western4Warwick: It says he was A McDonald.
ChazClarke97: Not Ramsay MacDonald, just a McDonald?
IanMurryOneAndOnly: Was he another Scottish MP?
MarkieDFirstMinister: He was a Welsh MP.
IanMurryOneAndOnly: The guy who just quit?
MarkieDFirstMinister: No, Ramsay MacDonald was MP for Aberavon. Now, let me tell you all about Aber, lovely it is, especially if you like a good bara brith.
ShabanaCampaignSupernova: That’s precisely the sort of wading in nostalgia that turns voters off.
MarkieDFirstMinister: You can go wading in Swansea Bay, I’m not sure about this Nostalgia place, is that in Europe?
Kate4Stretford: Can we just concentrate for a moment. Does anyone have any ideas?
EdReseasonsToBeCheerful: What about a spin-off podcast called Ed Space?
Kate4Stretford: About universities.
Western4Warwick: Didn’t we have any ideas in the past?
DickBurgonMP: To establish the Tony Benn University.
MandyMMU: How did he get in here?
Kate4Stretford: He went to Cambridge, I thought he would know something about universities.
LammyLBC: Dominic Cummings went to Barnard Castle, doesn’t make him a medieval historian.
Angie4Leader: When I was in education, we had great ideas.
Western4Warwick: Hold on, I want to write these down.
Angie4Leader: Well obviously we’d look at the Scum manifesto and do the opposite.
Western4Warwick: Do you mean the radical feminist text, the Society for Cutting Up Men?
Angie4Leader: Eh? No.
EdReseasonsToBeCheerful: I had some great university policies in the 2015 manifesto.
Kate4Stretford: Can you remind us of them?
EdReseasonsToBeCheerful: Cut tuition fees to £6,000!
Western4Warwick: Actually, our policy now is to abolish them altogether.
MarkieDFirstMinister: Is it? No one told me.
IanMurrayOneAndOnly: Even the Tories want to abolish tuition fees.
Western4Warwick: Do they?
IanMurrayOneAndOnly: Just the Scottish ones.
Kate4Stretford: Just abolish fees in Scotland. Is that a Gove idea?
IanMurrayOneAndOnly: No, just the Scottish Tories.
EdReseasonsToBeCheerful: Just abolish fees for Scottish Tories? I don’t think that’s very fair.
MarkieDFirstMinister: To be honest, it wouldn’t be a very expensive policy given how few of them there are.
Kate4Stretford: Now, we are getting somewhere. Let’s chalk that up as our first policy idea.
MandyMMU: Labour’s higher education policy is to abolish tuition fees for Scottish Tories?
Kate4Stretford: Has anyone got a better suggestion?
GordonRight2Learn: I’ve got a report right here from the lifelong-learning commission.
EdReseasonsToBeCheerful: Which one?
GordonRight2Learn: My one.
LammyLBC: Seems like everyone has their own lifelong-learning commission these days.
EdReseasonsToBeCheerful: I don’t…or do I? Hold on, let me check.
KerslakeSheffieldHallam: I’ve got one…or is that another commission, hold on.
GordonRight2Learn: It’s full of great ideas.
Kate4Stretford: Who chaired it?
GordonRight2Learn: Estelle Morris.
Kate4Stretford: Anyone else, got any ideas?
#MorrisMinor: I am here you know.
Kate4Stretford: Literally anyone?
Angie4Leader: We called it the National Education Service.
ChazClarke97: That’s quite good, maybe Greg and I could call it the National Shoe Service.
Western4Warwick: The NSS?
RuthKellyOpusDei: That was my idea.
ChazClarke97: The National Shoe Service?
RuthKellyOpusDei: The National Student Survey, it’s the sort of achievement in government that Labour should be proud of.
Western4Warwick: I think it’s being abolished now, let me check.
Kate4Stretford: It’s being reviewed by the OfS.
ChazClarke97: That’s also good, The Office for Shoes.
Emma4Hull: There’s already a shoe shop called Office.
Kate4Stretford: Ok thinking of our past achievements, does anyone have anything they are particularly proud of?
AlanJohnson4TV: I was on the masked singer.
LammyLBC: I was the first in my family to go to university.
Kate4Stretford: All right give it a rest, everyone.
EdReseasonsToBeCheerful: I wasn’t. My dad taught at a university
Western4Warwick: Which one?
EdReseasonsToBeCheerful: The LSE.
ChazClarke97: I thought you said he taught at a university?
Kate4Stretford: Skills is a big issue now. What do we think about young apprentices?
MandyMMU: You don’t know the power of the dark side.
MandyMMU: Sorry, wrong group chat.
Western4Warwick: What we need is someone with first-hand experience of running a university. Is there anyone out there?
BillRammell#UniversityOfKurdistan: Sorry, I’m late to this, did someone say we need a vice-chancellor?
Kate4Stretford has left the group
Western4Warwick has left the group
EdReseasonsToBeCheerful has left the group
MandyMMU has left the group
ShabanacampaignSupernova has left the group
ChazClarke97 has left the group
Angie4Leader has left the group
GordonRight2Learn has left the group
BillRammell#UniversityOfKurdistan: Is there anyone left on here?
DickBurgonMP: Hi, Bill, I wonder if the Kurds might be interested in a university for political education?
BillRammell#UniversityOfKurdistan has left the group.