The week that was: Cash for Cashmore

What happened

Oh, you know the drill. Boy meets girl. Boy marries girl. Boy becomes Principal of Brasenose. Boy and girl use College expenses money in what, it is alleged, were unauthorised expenditures. It’s an expenses scandal of the classic kind. Principal Roger Cashmore and his wife went to Greece, North America and Pakistan. All the while, the story goes, they were charging BNC fee-payers for upgraded Business Class travel. In one case, according to a Brasenose report, ‘authorisation was expressly denied but the trip went ahead regardless’. Cashmore obviously denies this. He claims that he was not not granted authorisation, if you get my drift. This wily donnish manouevring didn’t work: the governors of Brasenose appear to have sacked Prof. Cashmore in an attempt to restore their credibility. That’s not the line. The line is he’s gone on research leave. It’s research leave which involves taking up two salaried positions, but they don’t want me to tell you that.

What the papers said

It’s a Cherwell exclusive, whoopee! And because we’re Oxford journos we get to write the story for the nationals as well. And by the nationals I mean the Telegraph. As ever it was the Oxford angle that sold it rather than anything else. Anyway Cashmore was hardly hounded out by the press- it was merely that an internal memo was leaked. Not so exciting. In truth it was a non-ish story, with the intense drama of a geeky Father Christmas lookalike sitting in aeroplane seats a few inches wider than normal- which, let’s face it, is what happened.

What now?

Name-living-up-to continues apace: Cashmore has just been appointed chairman of the Atomic Energy Authority at twenty-five grand for two days’ work a month. He’s also our new chairman of the Nuclear Research Advisory Council- £315 a day to you, guv’nor. Fee-payers and donors haven’t seen their money wasted this badly since, er, it was used to subsidise the administration of Brasenose expenses. Given that Oxford is a public body (in the same way the NKVD was a public body) you’d think there’d be some kind of uproar about this. Clearly there are more important scandals. Still, let’s look on the bright side. Brasenose, like the property developers they effectively are, will be looking for a new Principal. In immortal Porterhouse style the academic wranglings will be amusing to watch. But what of the money? Lost, I fear, in the bank accounts of British Airways. For the donors and fee-payers of Brasenose, it’s a pretty crap situation. They get nothing. He still wins.