3rd December 20082 NEWS
HUB to become TheFraser Building
The HUB building is to be known formallyas The Fraser Building, despite the fact thatthe majority of the development’s adver-tising has been under its original name.A University spokesperson said: “TheHUB project management group is pleasedto announce that an official name has beenselected for the building. The HUB devel-opment will be formally known as TheFraser Building.”The name is to recognise Sir WilliamFraser’s contribution to Glasgow Universityover the past fifty years.A spokesperson for the Universityexplained: “Sir William Kerr Fraser wasPrincipal of the University from 1988 until1995, and then a very active Chancelloruntil his retirement in 2006.“The naming of this building recogniseshis massive contribution, not only to theuniversity’s development, but also to thewelfare and success of the many studentswho studied here during his stewardship.“Sir William was President of theSRC during his own studies here in the1950s and has retained a keen interest instudent affairs.”Sir William and Lady Marion Fraserwill officially open the Fraser Building onJanuary 13.An article by a Glasgow University philos-ophy lecturer was the one of the mostpopular on the BBC website last month.Over 592,000 people read Dr. DavidBain’s analysis of four major philosophicalquestions, which was written to coincidewith World Philosophy Day.The article was the most emailed andthe second-most popular in the world on theBBC’s website on November 20.A spokesman for the Universityexplained the significance of the article’spopularity.He said: “To be the BBC News website'smost e-mailed story around the world is agreat achievement and demonstrates the realinterest there is in philosophy.”The article invites readers to considerfour philosophical puzzles, each challengingthe morals, ethics and rationale underlyingour decision-making.Dr. Bain told Guardian that he waspleased with the feedback he had received.He said: “The reaction impressed on menot only the extensive reach of the Internet,but the widespread thirst for deep and diffi-cult questions.“I received nearly 100 replies, somewanting to apply to Glasgow. The onlyarticle that was more read on the BBC thatday was about a Czech underwear modelwho lacks a belly button. Not even philos-ophy can compete with that.”Commission says, but it has to be rememberedthat one of the referendum questions which theLabour party put, honouring our commitmentthat there shall be a Scottish Parliament was,were the Scottish people in favour of tax raisingto a limit of 3p?“Now that’s a power that no legislation inHollyrood has chosen to use, but its there. Andgiven the problems that have emerged fromthe Scottish Government freezing the counciltax, for example, its not unreasonable for us toreturn to the issue and say, ‘Wait a minute, youdo have tax raising powers,’ and also to reflecton whether those go far enough or go too far.”Sophie Hall, President of GlasgowUniversity’s Liberal Democrats, claimed thatthe majority of people in Scotland wouldsupport the aims of the Calman Commission.She explained: “We welcome the Calmanreport because it would lead towards givingus a fiscal home rule which is what peopleare actually looking for. Most of the Scottishpeople don't want a status quo or indepen-dence, however moving towards greater fiscalautonomy is widely welcomed by the people of Scotland.”Paul O’Kane, Vice Chair of GlasgowUniversity’s Labour Club, told Guardian hefelt that, thus far, devolution had been a verysuccessful process.He said: “The Calman Commission hasassessed devolution after ten years and hasfound a wholly positive and forward movingprocess, although there is room for debate anddiscussion on progress on a number of keyissues.”The commission, first proposed by WendyAlexander, former leader of the Scottish LabourParty, won support from the Tories and LiberalDemocrats to review constitutional arrange-ments. The SNP have chosen not to back theproject, instead launching their rival NationalConversation project.SNP MSP for Glasgow, Sandra Whitetold Guardian that the National Conversationproject will offer a wider focus and be open toeveryone in Scotland.She said: “The National Conversation,unlike the Calman Report which only engagedwith invited audiences, is open to everyoneto comment on what they wish to see for thefuture of Scotland, independence, status quo,more powers or indeed any suggestions thatthey feel will benefit Scotland.“The Calman Commission offers no suchchoice and is very narrow in its focus. As aparty who wish to see Scotland flourish andtake responsibility for its own affairs we couldnot support such a narrow agenda.”The Commission will release the first partof their report before the end of this year, withthe final report expected by the end of 2009.A RECENTLY PUBLISHED REPORT FROMan expert economic panel established by theCalman Commission has been met with mixedreactions in Scotland.The interim report, which was to examinealternatives for allocating funds to Scotland,comes in the wake of the Westminster depart-ment’s submission to the Calman Commission,which did not recommend any further transferof powers from Westminster to Holyrood. Thechairman leading the commission, Sir KennethCalman, was elected Chancellor of GlasgowUniversity in 2006.The publication of the report coincidedthe tenth anniversary of The Scotland Act,which created devolution. The report was tooffer updated recommendations on issues suchas greater financial powers for the ScottishParliament, and the Barnett formula, which isdesigned to automatically apply a proportionateshare of any increase (or decrease) in compa-rable English spending programmes.However, the expert economic group,chaired by Professor Anton Muscatelli, Principalof Heriot-Watt University, has decided not tomake specific recommendations on Holyrood'spowers over taxation and spending, in contrastto the pro-Union parties’ expectations of enhanced financial powers.Days before the report’s release Tom Clarke,Labour MP and architect of the 1998 ScotlandAct, commented: “We shall see what thePRIOR TO THE JOHN SMITH MEMORIALDebate, Hazel Blears enjoyed a drink with theGlasgow University Labour Club and took timeto speak with Guardian.
Have you always been politically active?
Yes, I first got involved through my tradeunion; I joined my union before I joined theLabour party. I was a shop steward, a safetyrep, and then I got involved with lots of community groups and campaigned to get a lawcentre in my community.In those days we had a Tory government soI was organising the march for jobs, protesting,doing all the things young people do.Then I joined the Labour party and some-body said to me: ‘Have you ever thought aboutbeing a councillor?’ So I was a councillor foreight years in Salford, my own city, and had afantastic time getting things done.And then somebody said: ‘Have you everthought about standing for parliament?’ andthis is what happens to you in life: you end upin the Cabinet!
Speaking to the Labour Club you referredto the House of Commons as predominantlyold, white, middle class and male. How longdo you think it will take to achieve a morerepresentative parliament?
Well, it’s just about a hundred years sincewomen started getting the vote and I hope itdoesn’t take another hundred years to get somekind of equality. I think it is getting better.“We have got a number of MPs fromdifferent ethnic backgrounds; we‘ve got fiveMuslim MPs, but we haven’t yet got a Muslimwoman MP, and I’m hoping that Rushnara Ali,who’s our candidate up in East London, willactually be the first, which is fantastic.But I think we have a way to go, and I reallywant to see more young people in parliamentbecause the world is changing so fast now
Guardian Q&A with Hazel Blears
Report reviews Holyrood tax powers
which means having people with contemporaryexperience is really important.
Gordon Brown today dismissed speculationof a summer election, will he call the electionas late as possible?
I wouldn’t dream of speculating on whenwe will have an election. The task in handnow is helping people through what is a verydifficult financial situation and I can genuinelytell you this: the whole of the Government iscompletely focussed on keeping a roof overpeople’s heads, keeping them in their jobs andmaking sure they get through. It’s not the timefor election talk.
But Northern Rock’s rate of repossessionshas doubled since its nationalisation inFebruary, and is 50% ahead of any of itsmarket competitors on this front. How is thisconducive to “keeping a roof over people’sheads”?
It’s not good at all, and people are veryworried. But it is a lot less than in the recessionin the early ‘90s. That’s why I have broughtforward a program of £1 billion both to buildmore social housing for rent, but also to makesure we can help people with their mortgagesover this next year or so, so we don’t see peoplegetting repossessed and out on the streets.In June 2007, Hazel Blears was appointedSecretary of State for Communities andLocal Government.
Web success forlecturer’s article