Thursday, 30 July 2009

Political trials

Is it just me, or do the trials of Maryanne Thompson and Phillip Field look like political trials more than genuine criminal trials?  Perhaps “payback” for the failure to ping well-connected politicians from the previous regime when they were in power?

Frankly, having heard the evidence against Field I’m still no clearer than I was before what he’s actually done wrong .  And as far as Maryanne Thompson’s PhD thesis at the London School of Economics goes, the witnesses from the London School of Economics hardly covered themselves in glory when they had to explain how they’d lost it “down a black hole,” and why they never effectively communicated regarding her oral examination.

No, these two look like to me nothing more than political trials, complete the with backdrop of barbarians baying for blood that every political trial has ever had.


  1. Yes that's just you Peter.

    How can you say in one post that Roger the Dodger is a bludger for 44K of travel expenses and suggest that you can't see what Philip's issues are. On Thompson: I don't know if you have a PhD, but that's not something you type up, send to school one day and wait for the mailed certificate to arrive. To suggest that is just silly.

  2. I'll answer your questions if you leave a name.

    How's that for a deal?

  3. Politician uses his Parliamentary travel expenses in an uncontroversial fashion. PC is upset.

    Politician uses Parliamentary position in a corrupt way to gain favours from desperate immigrants. PC is unmoved.

    Does not compute.

  4. Does compute. I don't agree that Field used Parliamentary position in a corrupt way to gain favours from desperate immigrants.

    AS I said in those earlier posts to which I've linked, that seems to me an inaccurate characterisation of events.

  5. I have to say you don't just think you have a PhD. Apart from anything else the university gives you a big diploma with PhD written over it. You get examiners reports saying what is right with your thesis and what is wrong. You may have to revise it. You have to do an oral exam as well. If you submit the thesis and don't hear back, you are up in arms, you would be asking questions of your supervisors and the university. PhDs do not go down a black hole. I don't buy the black hole story. You just can't think you have a PhD, you know!

  6. And if you do, then you're too thick to have a PhD or be in charge of anything let alone a govt department.

  7. "On Thompson: I don't know if you have a PhD, but that's not something you type up, send to school one day and wait for the mailed certificate to arrive. To suggest that is just silly."

    Okay, look I accept that in some departments in some present day universities quality assurance my be impeccable. But it seems to me that not all departments are as diligent as Paul's, or were always so in the days before email and the like -- particularly when a candidate is studying (or being marked) at a distance.

    Now I don't have a PhD, and harbour no aspirations in that direction at present, but let me relate a personal experience to back up my notion that her story is not so remarkable.

    At the end of my architecture degree I submitted a 12-credit Thesis and a 6-credit Research Report, and then -- released from several years of hell -- happily headed off to London where I was employed as a Project Manager.

    These were the last two components of my architecture degree - a multi-year slog at a vacuously shambolic department -- and I was overseas, happily employed and just grateful to be away from the nasty place (and I might have had a library fine or two holding up release of my results), so I never bothered chasing up these last two papers, or my degree.

    Why would I?

    In fact, I never bothered until I returned five years later and found, to my shock, that the two lecturers involved in marking each of these papers had died soon after I left, and there was no way of tracking down my work. (This was even sadder than it sounds, since they were among the few at that school who didn't deserve to die -- and since I'd been travelling and these were the days before computers, I had no copies of my work.)

    Bugger. Cue me re-enrolling in a few papers to knock the bastard off, and me (now) a few years later unsurprised that a university department could so easily mislay a thesis, could fail to communicate to a candidate about what happened next, and that a candidate could be so happy to have that part of their life over that they never chased it up themselves -- particularly if they were now on to better things.

    Call that "thick" if you like, but that's how I see it now.

    And in any case, I suspect that if Thompson wasn't seen as a "political scalp" that she wouldn't have even made a court room.


1. Commenters are welcome and invited.
2. All comments are moderated. Off-topic grandstanding, spam, and gibberish will be ignored. Tu quoque will be moderated.
3. Read the post before you comment. Challenge facts, but don't simply ignore them.
4. Use a name. If it's important enough to say, it's important enough to put a name to.
5. Above all: Act with honour. Say what you mean, and mean what you say.