What part can Russian exile Snowden play in Glasgow?

WHAT a jolly wheeze those rascals at Glasgow University have pulled, with the election of their latest rector.

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Whistleblower Edward Snowden is the new rector of Glasgow University
Whistleblower Edward Snowden is the new rector of Glasgow University

The rump of our intellectual student elite, voted for whistleblower Edward Snowden to become Rector of this most august of Glasgow institutions.

Snowden, the controversial computer analyst, worked for US Intelligence.

At least he did, until last year, when he decided to leak thousands of National Security Agency documents, revealing both American and British surveillance secrets.

Having leaked the documents to both the Washington Post and The Guardian, he promptly fled to Hong Kong.

His passport was revoked by US authorities and an international warrant issued for his arrest.

He then further fled, on a foreign passport, to Russia, where he has been granted temporary asylum.

Glasgow University is a world class seat of learning.

The role of a rector, in the life of the university, is to represent student issues.

Edward Snowden can't do that from his Russian exile.

And so, we are therefore left to ponder the motivation of our intellectual elite in making such an overt political statement.

Former rectors, throughout the centuries, from the university's foundation in 1451, include notable British and French Prime Ministers, philosophers, physicists and poets.

In more recent times, appointments have included sports commentator Arthur Montford and EastEnders' star Ross Kemp.

This, from a well educated forum, who actually expect us to take them seriously.

If they want to be taken seriously and have a strong view of the balance between online privacy and national security, then let's have that debate.

Its value is not enhanced by the divisive appointment of Edward Snowden.

The public value privacy, the terrorist values anonymity: the two are not the same and shouldn't be confused.

Technology gives us the ability to have both privacy and security, and it is for Government to deliver both.

Having been involved in the security side of the debate at the highest levels, I am of the opinion that we have the right safeguards in place to be reassured, both of our privacy and our security.

It's 2014, not 1984.

Big Brother has come and gone.

I recall my time at university with great fondness, but eventually it was time to grow up and get a job.

The campaign co-ordinator for Edward Snowden's appointment was 27-year-old student Chris Cassells.

If Chris can draw himself away from the euphoria of this pointless appointment, resisting the temptation to place a traffic cone on Wellington's head, he may contemplate, that as a 27-year-old student, it may well be time to grow up and get a job.

I SEE that Glasgow comedian Billy Connolly this week declared that he will not be voting in this year's Independence Referendum.

The 71-year-old comic has articulated that he will be in New Zealand on September 18.

He has though, advised the nation that he "thought Scots would make the right decision and get what they deserve in the vote".

How very cryptic.

Billy Connolly previously stated that he "had never been a nationalist and had never been a patriot."

He also said that he felt he had more in common with a welder from Liverpool than a farmer from the Highlands.

Both comments would suggest that he is a Better Together supporter, so why not just say so?

He is a famous, outrageously outspoken and very global Scot.

Many, around the world, and particularly here in Scotland, would have appreciated his thoughts and respected his views.

Few, will respect his rather baffling silence on this most important of issues to all Scots and his desire to sit on the fence.

THIS week Rebekah Brooks, former News International chief executive, revealed details of advice she received from former PM Tony Blair.

Brooks is one of seven defendants in the infamous phone hacking trial, and the Court heard how Tony Blair offered his advice on how to handle the matter.

The email, quoting the advice from the PM, was dated only one day after the last edition of the News of the World was published.

News International replaced the paper with the Sun on Sunday and still publish The Times and run Sky Broadcasting.

There is something both uncomfortable and unedifying about these revelations.

EVEN though I promised that I wouldn't watch any more of the Winter Olympics, basically as a result of it being boring, I broke my own vow.

I got swept up in the joy of the ladies' curling competition and brushed my concerns to one side.

I awoke at 5am to watch Wednesday's semi-final, Team GB versus Canada.

The stands were thinly packed with friends and family of the participants and you could have cut the atmosphere with a wee sweepy brush.

Sadly, Team GB (all Scots) got beaten by Canada, who I think, unfairly, probably get more outdoor practice.

They seemed more at ease with sliding up and down the ice while cleaning it with a brush.

But the ladies did win the bronze medal for Team GB yesterday.

So, on behalf of the countless dozens, who like me, cheered the girls on, I say well done... and I hope the rest of you managed to get back off to sleep as quickly as me.

Education

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