This term’s list of speakers has now been finalised, and despite a few rumours over the vac about a poor term, it turns out it’s not nearly as bad as some people feared (or hoped). The highlights are Rick Stein (chef) Katie Melua (singer, fit), Duffy (singer, not quite so fit), David Coulthard (F1 driver,
quiet) and Catharine Tate (comedian, not quiet enough), along with John Bercow (Speaker of the Commons, and for whom Stuart Cullen should be bloody grateful to a certain Cherwell hack), and the guy who wrote Captain Corelli’s Mandolin, and of course the standard run of minor politicians, journos and general publicity-seeking hangers-on. Some decent debates, too, on censorship, Obama, prostitution (for money, not votes, this time), all-women shortlists, the Empire, and Scotland. Good stuff, and it kicks off this Thursday with ‘This House would Withdraw from Afghanistan,’ the headline speaker of which is General Sir Richard Dannatt, who was the soldier who gave Gordon Brown so much trouble on the Today Programme. Termcards, apparently, to come on Wednesday.
Slightly less happily, it now appears that the Union’s Gategate saga will end up costing it north of £9000. Gategate, you might remember, was begun by the decision of the Union Bursar (who is a full-time Union employee, and not an elected student official) to install a new security system at the Union’s entrance, so that members would have to swipe their cards to gain access. She spoke to a security firm and asked them to build and install a system at the St Michael’s Street gate. She was so enormously busy doing all of this that it appears to have slipped her mind to inform either the President or Standing Committee. When they found out, there was predictable consternation, and the issue eventually went to a poll, in which Union members decided that they didn’t want a security system after all. This was after a hole had been dug in the gatepost, and the machines to fill it had been specially manufactured. So now there’s a big hole in the Union wall, (which some unidentified wag has labelled ‘Lindsay’s folly’), and a £9000 bill sitting on the President’s desk. And, of course, someone has to pay to have the hole filled in again. Folly indeed.