It has been a hard year for Bulster. Things have not quite worked out with DEL and thanks to government cut-backs we are running a bit short of money and students. We are having a few difficulties with our “Build Belfast” campaign and those pesky property moguls keep upping the “bakseesh” on us. I’ve even started to get worried about my own properties and doubt I’ll ever get tenants for them. And even worse, the Saudis owe us £2 million which I was relying on for a few readies at Christmas, and many of Bulster’s emerging market investments have just not emerged! In fact things are so bad I think I can now appreciate what happened to my old friend Gerry Jameson, and I hope you can sympathise how distressing it is for those of us in power when things go a bit pear-shaped.
The great thing is that at Bulster, we are all in this together and we are all making sacrifies to try to get Bulster back on its feet, and ready for your new dictator, sorry I mean new President. I myself have been making personal cut-backs. Where possible I’ve been making do with upper class rather than a sky-suite unless its a particularly long flight. I never use a hotel with more than 5*- no 7* opulent palaces for me, fellow Bulsters! Bulster never quite recovered from that time Gerry spent 25k on a weekend with the girls a la Peninsula in Hong Kong! And you can appreciate the great saving on booze alone during my time compared with Gerry has allowed us to put a penny or two by! Every little helps!
I know some of you have been worried about the amount of money we’ve been spending on legal bills and employment tribunals and this kind of thing. Personally I think it would be far cheaper if we could just assassinate these dissident members of staff, and an old mate I used to run into in the Lodge Hotel even told me he knew a few boys who had quit the paramilitary racket and were going free-lance. But my henchman “Mad Bonnie” whose had a bit of a run in with the peelers recently himself, tells me a shooting or two on campus might not look so good for our post-conflict institute, so he’s persuaded me instead that selective internment might be the thing to deal with these niggly complainers!
Those of you who might be inclined to think of my past decade as a bit of a black time, might take sympathy from what those CIA fellows said recently defending torture and counter-terrorism. When Gerry blew the budget on us, we all had our own terrible 9/11 here at University House. Desperate times demand desperate remedies. And I also want to tell you that all those stories about water-boarding and electric torture in the Tower basement were greatly exaggerated. I never authorised “Mad Bonnie” to use anything stronger than knuckle-dusters and in extremis his University-issued taser. Gee thanks to “Mad Bonnie” and me, Bulster’s a walking PANORAMA investigative report waiting to happen!
And let me just squash that rumour that I’d closed the SCR to turn it into a “listening post”. Don’t believe everything those lefty no-gooders in the union might tell you. Most of them need a good kick up the arse! Anyways we needed the SCR for all those Arab fellows with their special diets, only they aren’t coming any more….I thought once they gave me a magic carpet and a Rolex we were best mates, I even read a bit of the Quran in anticipation…Now they aren’t even answering my calls…..
Christmas always makes me feel emotional. It hardly seems like yesterday that I led the palace coup, and was full of excitement in my early days of dictatorship. Believe me it gets lonely at the top. I spend far too much time with “Mad Bonnie” and he really smells kinda garlicly of Sodium pentothal and that other “truth serom” stuff he must have down there in the Bulster dungeons. That banking fellow on Council is too smart for his own boots, and Jimmy never returns my calls either. I suppose he might be off somewhere on a Hobbit movie.
Recently I’ve been asking myself what I’ve got to show for it? True I’ve had a fat pay-packet for a while, a nice pad, luxury foreign travel and I’ve a bit of pension for a rainy day- yeah a few millions worth! But QUB laughed at me when I put in for their vacancy and to be honest I haven’t made the short-list anywhere else. In fact I didn’t even get a reply when I inquired about heading up a miserly FE college. And those buggers in Stormont have blocked me from getting any medals, never mind a gong. Even my cleaner has an MBE for some shitty Ballysally Community initiative, and here I am a hard-working dictator and no-one’s thought to award me anything.
Didn’t my fellow dictator, President Idi Amin, have all sorts of medallions on his uniform and wasn’t he just a humble Ugandan soldier? I’m wondering if I should follow Idi’s example and go off into exile in one of those Arab states. Maybe the Saudis would offer me some kind of retirement post in lieu of the £2 Million they still owe Bulster! Life is so hard for former dictators- I’m just remembering what happened to that dead Chilean President, General Pinochet - it got to the stage where he couldn’t leave the country for fear of rendition to some foreign court in handcuffs! Gee I might end up like “Mad Bonnie” being questioned by the local police or being stopped at the airport!
And now I’m gonna have to get used to a life without servants and waiters and all the perks that go with having a University Mansion. I’m gonna have to down-size badly and maybe put some stuff into storage, especially those Arab rugs and things- they’re so bulky, and not maybe my best memory of good old Bulster! Gotta get things ready for the new man…..Succession-planning we modern dictators call it. Better try to make a start with that at the Christmas hols. “Bonnie’s” kindly offered to lend me a hand if he’s out of work by then, and Dean Raisin gave me a cup of tea and a bun yesterday- its good to have friends... now its only me and the dog.
And talking about dogs! I just can’t understand why thev’ve all gone and bitten me as I thought I was a good master. I was only just chatting to a few of the union boys in BA’s lounge last week (terrible the riff raff they let in these days) and we agreed it was all down to a couple of loud-mouths. After all Olly and the others bought the union off a long time ago. There’s hardly a true socialist among them apart maybe from that ideological girlie, and the union heavies have muscled her. Now even the footballers hate me and there’s talk the entire staff will boycott my farewell do, apart from of course “Bonnie” but he might have to get day-release to attend.
Well I’d better get on with the rest of my Christmas cards. Let me sign off now with Presidential seasons greetings to all of you of any faith or none! And in the true spirit of Christmas I’ve told everyone they can go home an hour early on 24th December but don’t abuse the privilege or it’ll be taken off you in 2015.
“Season’s Greetings from Your Vice(y) Chancellor & President”
President’s New Year’s Resolutions: “Beware of Saudis bearing gifts” - “Don’t trust a banker when he says he’s here to help” - “Watch your enemies, and your friends even closer” - “As ever, His Excellency Dicky”
ADVISORY….This is a work of humorous fiction and any similarities with persons or places real or imagined is purely a matter of coincidence. If you’ve been bullied at Bulster University or any F/HE institution don’t hesitate in complete confidence to E-MAIL: bullied.academics@ Victims may complain without penalty under their college procedures or consider making a complaint to their local police. Where the police are contacted bullying usually ceases immediately.