How to suspect somebody is on drugs

We return once again to the Halls of Academe, and indeed to no less a place than the City of Dreaming Spires that is Oxford. Brasenose College is being sued for a cool million quid by an alumnus, Faiz Siddiqui. A million is a decent sum of money, isn’t it? Even today.

Now what, you may be wondering, is Mr Siddiqui up to? Perhaps the college didn’t make safe spaces available, which is what currently exercises some of the more sensitive (read ‘touchy) students? No. It’s more bizarre than that.

Faiz Siddiqui is suing because he got a poor degree. As it happens it wasn’t that poor. A 2:1 from one of the top 10 universities in the world is not to be sneezed at, I don’t think. He, however, thinks otherwise, and instead of saying to himself, ‘I wish I wasn’t such a dimwit and hadn’t been such a slacker and had put the effort in,’ he’s blaming negligent teaching.

He’s very specific about the area that became the source of his fall from grace. It was all to do with shoddy teaching on Indian imperial history. He reckons that staff shortages were directly responsible for his lower grade than the 1 he feels he would have got without such cavalier treatment. Entitlement at its worst.

This might not matter too much were it not that the cheeky sod is claiming the money for loss of earnings, since with a better degree he would have had a successful career in international commercial law.

You may, like myself, be puzzled as to why his fluffing a history degree is anything to do with his later career in law. That’s a real ‘WTF?’ moment, I think. However, his lawyers agree with him that’s he’s been robbed (well they would say that, wouldn’t they?), and have prepared the case against the college. And against the chancellor, masters, and scholars of Oxford University itself.

Lawyers are always up for a quick buck, but this seems to me to be a bit rich even by their standards, though I use that word loosely. I think Mr Siddiqui is chancing his arm, aided and abetted by the scavengers of Bulb, Tuber, Corm, and Rhizome. He’s also weighing in with the idea that his depression and insomnia are also causally linked.

By the way, he graduated in 2000. I think 16 years is a long time to think about making a claim, even if it were justified and not this spurious bit of twaddle. And am I alone in thinking that £1,000,000 is a suspiciously round number that feels like a ‘wet finger in the air’ job?