(it is a machine that copies)
Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg´s gone at last. He´s lied denied and compromised his way through two tricky weeks of scrutiny at the hands of the media, his political opponents and even his own party the CDU. His situation reminds me of Andy Coulson´s in January, but was inherently more critical because he had been tipped as Merkel´s successor. As a campaigner for the SPD I am not an unbiased observer, but my feeling is that zu Guttenberg did not deserve a doctorate and does not deserve to remain an MP with such blatantly compromised judgement.
I hope this will be a lesson to those members of the older generation patronising enough to moan about how much easier it is these days to get good grades, or how the standard of higher education is dropping, or how this generation is lazy. Or to the traitors in our midst who decry the degrees taken by their contemporaries as worthless.
Because this kind of copying simply can´t happen anymore. Electronic submission through specific software is common practice in modern universities, and plagiarism is one of the gravest academic crimes we can be convicted of, worse than a lack of imagination, a lack of passion, or even unpunctuality. Degrees are tough and marks are harsh, and all of us have worked hard to get into and stay at the University of Birmingham.
This is why we have to keep campaigning for fairness and accessibility. Funding for all that want it, places for all that can meet reasonable requirements, and serious long term investment in all institutions of education.