Phone cases – Research Professional News


Ivory Tower: Who is leaving a message for the Office for Students?

“You’ve reached the Office for Students consultation hotline. Whatever consultation you are phoning about please leave a message after the tone…”

BEEP

“Greetings and salutations, lend me your ears—Boris here. I was given your number by James W. Listen, I’ve just received one of those fixed penalty thingies. No rules were broken, I was furious when I found out, I wasn’t even there, apart from the times when I was. Anyway, not a word to the wife, when she was upstairs with the baby, she thought I was downstairs playing chess and drinking tea with Evgeny. Hold on a minute… what’s that Carrie? I’m just on the phone to the caterers, be with you in a minute. So, that will be two dozen ready meals and something for the dog. Got to go. Bye.”

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“Nadhim Zahawi here, is this the line where you leave ideas for new consultations? I’ve decided we need one on the benefits of Empire. All this woke chat in our universities about slavery and statues the like. We need the boffins to look into all the positive things, like tea, curry, Imperial College, pink on maps, off-shore banking, an enduring dislike of the French and, of course, administration. The British Empire gave the world bureaucracy and I want Global Britain to be world leaders in red tape. I want you to roll out regulation across the globe, perhaps some kind of register of low-quality countries. I’ll start: France, Belgium, Canada, France…did I say that already? I’ll get my atlas. I’ll ring you back.”

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“This is James Wharton, your chairman, speaking. I have a message for members of the board. We are looking for a fourth for bridge this Saturday evening. Just an informal gathering of friends, promise not to talk shop or about upcoming appointments or anything like that. Anyway, if anyone is free, give me a call, the more the merrier”.

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“I was told this is the number for providers and that I should call it before 1 April. I’d like to give you my gas and electricity meter readings for a large office building on Victoria Street in London. My name is Mr Kwasi Kwarteng and my last bill was in February. It was for the Advanced Research and Invention Agency, which passed through the Lords at that time. I’m also a loyal customer so wondering if there was some kind of a discount. Well, really, I’m the secretary of state for business, energy and industrial strategy, if that helps. No? Maybe, I’ll just submit my meter readings online. Bye.”

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“This is Nicola, Nicola Dandridge, I used to work for you. I was the one with the office by the lift. Who always brought lunch in Tupperware to heat in the microwave? Anyway, I just had my last day yesterday and I realise that I’ve left some things in my desk. Just some personal items, some gloves, a mug, the secret list of universities on the brink of financial collapse, that sort of thing. I was wondering if I could make an appointment to pick them up, my card for the door doesn’t seem to work anymore. Call me back, yeah?”

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“Ben Houchen here, mayor of Tees Valley, have you seen my stonking majority? 72.8 per cent of the vote! Not even Vladimir Putin managed that in South Ossetia. Anyway, I’ve got a message for our Rachel if you could pass it on. I can’t find the spare car keys for the Prius, which needs to go in for its MOT, if you know where they are could you give me a ring, love. Also, James is asking about cards on Saturday night, just checking you weren’t seeing family or something. Bye.”

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“Good morning this is Michelle Donelan, I’m ringing because I’ve been told that you are not allowing parents and friends to attend your graduations. I don’t care if you are the university that has more experts on Covid-19 than any other, and that you did all that modelling, and all that testing, but I’m the minister for further and higher education and I’m telling you that the pandemic is over. I heard it in cabinet—did I say, I have a seat in the cabinet, now? Up there with the big boys, like Ben Wallace and George Eustice! So, when you’ve been called by the Donelan, you know you’ve been called out. Hold on a minute… Are you sure this is the number for Imperial College? I’d have thought it was a London number, this is for Bristol or somewhere… Look, if this is Imperial College, I’ll call you back… I think this might be the Severn Bridge breakdown service, can you check for me…”

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“Rachel Houchen here, I’m one of the new board members. You know, the one who is married to James’s friend. Anyway, I was just wondering about this package you’ve sent me. The letter says they are papers for the board meeting on Wednesday. But we do board games on a Friday, Ben and me, and James, and a few close friends. Cards on a Saturday, and we are trying one of those escape rooms on Sunday afternoon. Maybe the paper could be used for battleships or something. Thanks anyway, I’ll let you know how it goes, bye.”

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“John Blake here, I may have a name like a cheap thriller writer but I’m actually the new director of fair access and participation. I’ve just had a thought about the consultation, can’t remember which one, maybe the third or fourth one, doesn’t matter. Anyway, I want universities to go further than sending representatives to be school governors. They should do more to help schools. I think universities should also send over one of the professors to help the janitor and maybe someone from senior management could come over to serve school meals at lunchtime, perhaps be a playground monitor during busy times. Maybe the dean of medicine or someone has some spare time to do inspections for head lice, and the head of IT could volunteer in a school library on Wednesday afternoons. I just don’t think it’s an excuse for people who work in universities to say working in schools isn’t their job.”

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“Ah, Boris here again, just had a look at that fixed penalty thing again. Got a bit confused by the whopping big numbers. It’s not a fine for a Covid party, it’s the Number 10 gas bill. Totally outrageous. Look, all the rules were followed, I wasn’t there, the heating was never on. Thing is, I’m a bit impecunious at the moment, just need to finish the old Shakespeare biog. So, I was wondering if you didn’t mind throwing some lolly at an old Etonian on his uppers. I’ve asked Rishi but he said something complex about a loan for a Council Tax rebate, which made no sense…. What’s that darling? Yes, just the caterer again, got the order wrong, with you in a moment… Say, you don’t do Charlie Bingham’s fish pie do you? That’s the dog’s favourite. Sorry, I’ll call you back Guto Harri is here with another U-turn.”

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“This mailbox is now full. Please call back later.”

Terms of use: this is a free email for fun on a Friday, it should be shared with friends like the job spec for a non-executive role in higher education regulation. Want to leave a message about the benefits of Empire consultation? Want to say hello? Email ivorytower@researchresearch.com