For All Willing Knights of the Road

I would like to take this opportunity to welcome you all to Vagrant in the Casual Ward of a Workhouse, my fledgling attempt at a blog. Why a blog I hear you ask? Well, having used a certain social networking site for a while it is clear that it leaves a lot to be desired. Whereas sites such as FaceBook are instantaneous, they are also limiting in the way pictures and typographic content can be displayed. A blog also means that issues important to me and I hope to you can be covered in-depth. Besides, I don't have to chat with you which is always a bonus!

"But who the devil are you sir?" I can hear resounding plangently throughout your drawing rooms resonating within the limestone-clad bell towers of last gasp modernity. Forgive my impertinence. A little of my own history might be polite and apt.
It's okay... I'm a doctor of whalebone

A vile chap according to some...

My name is Gary Paul Duke. Many moons back I was the drummer with a band called CarbonSilicon with two chaps a Mr Mick Jones and Tony James. I also produce bands. Most recently Salford's own prog/psychedelians Trojan Horse and another Salford band Shanty Town. I'm a recent doctor of philosophy, which is nothing grandiose. I am however quite happy to give your cerebrality a quick once-over.

Practically and ideologically I'm a socialist. Not in the Stalin/Mao/Castro-ist dictatorship sort of sense (I refute the association of any these dictatorships with the idea of socialism) but in the classical Marxist tradition. A socialist who has adopted thoroughly Victorian facial furniture.

"But sir, what gives you the unadulterated right to pollute the world-wide internet web with your self-indulgent claptrap and nonsense?"

Unadulterated nonsense sir!

There is a myth peddled by the media and newspapers that it is we who are to blame for the current global crisis. It is we who are responsible for the dire state of the balance books in the UK. Apparently our expectations have been too high. Governments can no longer afford to supply the services, welfare, education and health systems we have  taken for granted for so long. They can however provide the funds for war and bailing out and banks rotten to the core. It's a convincing argument - they have to balance the books -we have to accept the cuts and pay more for everything. This isn't new.

I used to work at the University of Salford where I lectured in International Studies and Sociology. I was proud to have helped resist an attack on jobs by senior managers and their acolytes. Why were 150 job losses necessary? To create financial 'headroom' in order to invest in other areas. Sound familiar? The weaknesses in our campaign were clear. The major flaw? That the UCU branch refused to publicly join forces with our official campaign group which was responsible for organising a series of high profile demonstrations between staff and students opposed to the slashing of jobs and popular courses.

The Vice Consul's Newsletters

I have some recent personal experience of being on the receiving end of a good metaphorical kicking by the combined booties of former employers. It has been an interesting if not a touch painful process that might prove of interest to some. I was the author of one or two satirical pieces called the Vice Consul's Newsletters. I'm told they were very popular among staff and students. I'm also told they were not popular among senior managers. I know this to be true because their emails say so!

Libellous to boot (allegedly)!

More recently, I have discovered that the University of Salford are attempting to serve a claim on me for libel and defamation. It is alleged by them that I am responsible for a blog called the Rat Catchers of the Sewers. Thus I find that juggling between two ongoing legal cases consumes much time. It has also provided an interesting and valuable insight into how Human Resources and senior management operates at UoS. I'd like to share this with readers. To this end, some of the content on Vagrant in the Casual Ward of a Workhouse will be devoted to exposing what passes for management practices in the arena of disciplinary procedure as it has related to my own case. I shall also use it to publish detailed evidence I have in my possession (obtained legally through Subject Access requests) as well as any evidence that becomes available through any High Court proceedings concerning their ongoing libel claim against me. I already have one very interesting witness statement from  a Dr Adrian Graves that is highly engaging to say the least.

My ongoing trials and tribulations might also prove highly amusing to some of you as it has myself at times. I can't say it's been a pleasurable experience but one way or another it's been an experience. The past year has been peppered with a series of avoidable and unavoidable pitfalls. If nothing else, I'd like people in a similar position now or those of you who might face something similar in future, to try draw on my experience and hopefully avoid my mistakes. Mostly, I'd like to invite you all to draw your own conclusions from it.


Now for the inevitable disclaimer. All the opinions published within this blog under my own name are of course my own and I will as a matter of due course, offer anyone the right to comment and reply. If anyone feels I've defamed them, please contact me immediately explaining how. If necessary (and I will want to hear some very powerful and convincing arguments as to why such material should be removed) I will endeavour to remove any contentious or potentially defamatory comments as soon as practicable. This can be achieved by emailing

I also accept full responsibility for the poor quality and the ad hoc nature of the layout of this blog. I'm quite new to this. In the way of style, I've borrowed a few ideas from other blog layouts (the use of images and headlines in particular) so I apologise again if anyone considers I've 'purloined' their ideas. If anyone feels this is the case, please accept it as my compliment to you. I also hold up my hands and apologise now for any shortcomings contained herein.

Gary Paul Duke

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