Tuesday, 3 February 2009

The Dishonesty of the BBC, and la Cattedra

The resentful lament that he had to accept contract employment, from a Scottish teacher of English as a foreign language in Milan has received minutes of air time. Presented as a counter- weight to the unpleasant anti Italian feeling being given voice, this whining was wholly unfounded. First, if that man is teaching English it must be said that his accent left a lot to be desired.

More importantly the outrageous pretension to a permanent teaching post in the Italian university to be secured on the basis of his 'qualifications' had to be heard to be believed. Everyone has qualifications - the highest possible qualifications; effectively so many have the highest qualifications it would be best to think of the situation as being that nobody has qualifications. And a post as a university teaching officer is hardly comparable to that of an oil rig worker either.

La cattedra is the object of lifetimes of study, manoeuvres, working for free, cultivation of political and social contacts, and is wholly in the patronage of the baroni - the senior professors who move throughout Italy, and in and out of other major establishments of the Italian state, appointing permanent senior staff.

It is simply dishonest of the BBC to air this man's silly claims on the grounds of whatever diploma he holds as evidence that the Italians discriminate against 'British' workers. Italian universities discriminate against all and anybody who has not fulfilled the real requirements. And Scotsmen who don't understand the world do not fulfil the requirements here any more than they do in London.


Raedwald said...

Ah, the silly little man.

The status of Siena, Bologna and perhaps Padua and Pavia will probably be as unknown to the BBC reporter as to this man - an EFL teacher? These days when the University of Slough or Luton presents itself as the equal of Oxford or Heidelberg as a sort of Starbucks where not coffee but an indifferent 2.1 can be bought by any oaf who does no more than remain in residence ...

I'm aware that academic tenure in Italy is a prize worth a lifetime of struggle. Your wee man I doubt understands tenure. Or struggle.

Anonymous said...

Actually iirc, practically ANY permanent public sector employment in Italy is a prize worth a lifetime of struggle.

Not much work, absolute security, guaranteed pension paid at an early age: what's not to like.

Do academics have it even better? I imagine they do.

hatfield girl said...

High ranking public sector workers have a tremendous risk of being murdered, 11.13.

Approaching 40 investigative magistrates have been gunned down or blown up - very brave men. The economics professor, Tarantelli, was machine-gunned outside La Sapienza. Another friend of ours was walking towards the faculty and, hearing his name called out from a group following him, wisely did not betray by a flicker that he was indeed the man they wanted. He made it into the university.

Professor of Law and prime minister Moro had his entire escort of 5 carabinieri murdered between early mass and the faculty of Law and was taken, held for months then murdered in cold blood. The government advisor on labour relations was gunned down in Rome on his way to the faculty. Sicilian state officials have died in considerable numbers. The mayor of Florence was ambushed and murdered at the top of the Bolognese. The Prefect of Palermo and his wife were gunned down in deserted Palermo streets as she tried to get him to safety. So many good men.....so many suspicions as to who were the senders of death. Baroni may wield powers that are less than transparent, but they are not cowards, they can and do face down real threats up to and including death.

Elby the Beserk said...


More BBC mendacity


On Sr. Moro, much of interest to be found in Peter Robb's book, "Midnight In Sicily". A very good read indeed, ranging from Sicilian food to Mafiosi, and the depth of the penetration into Italian society.