VOTE: Who is Stirling’s worst alumnus?
Will it be the bar brawl MP, the harbinger of the robopocalypse or the tabloid journalist?
Stirling University has only been going since 1967, so we don’t yet have a wide selection of alumni to casually name-drop in conversation.
And while we have a few good ones (Iain Banks, for example) Stirling also has some alumni that we shouldn’t be too keen to shout about.
Here’s our top 5 nominees for the title of Stirling’s Worst Ever Alumnus.
Read the arguments then vote at the bottom of the article…
After grabbing a BA (Hons) in Religious Studies, Joyce became Falkirk’s MP in 2000. It’s a job he’s still doing, so he must be an all-round good egg, no?
Not at all, and it’s probably going to be easiest if we break down why with bullet points:
- Became the first MP to claim more than £1m in expenses…
- …which included £180 on three oil paintings, which he defended by saying “they look nice”
- The Daily Record alleged that he had a fling with a schoolgirl who worked on his 2010 election campaign – he’s promised to step down as a result, but only when the next general election comes around
- Arrested for drink-driving in 2010
- Went “berserk” in a bar at the Houses of Parliament, headbutted an MP and punched a couple of others. Smashed a window as the police took him away.
- Cut off his electronic tag with scissors
- Had another “altercation” in a Parliament bar and got banned from buying any booze there
Derek is a former editor of Stirling’s official student paper Brig who went on to be the editor of the Scottish Sunday Express.
It was at the paper that he oversaw a front-page article by journalist Paula Murray, which said that survivors of the 1996 Dunblane massacre brought “shame” upon themselves (and the memory of their friends who died) because of what they said on Bebo. Yes, that Bebo.
The article was “shocked” to see that the teenagers were swearing, drinking and getting into fights – or at least writing about it on the Internet to their friends. It was so mind-wrenchingly awful that 11,000 signed an online petition calling for an apology.
Newspaper regulators at the PCC said they had breached the Code of Conduct “ so serious[ly] that no apology could remedy it”.
Should’ve stuck with Brig, eh?
A former MSP who, to his credit, never tried to claim as much on expenses as Westminster brawler Eric Joyce.
On the other hand, how tight-fisted do you have to be claim expenses on a charitable donation?
A hotel made a £1 donation to charity on Bill’s behalf, but the MSP decided that he would try to claim back that quid off the taxpayer. Scottish Parliament saw sense and rejected the Scrooge-like claim.
After getting an MSc in “neural computation” from Stirling, Dario has actually been doing really good work in the field of Artificial Intelligence and trying to get robots to the point where they can evolve.
It’s complicated stuff and he’s very good at it – we’re just afraid his work will end up bringing about The Terminator‘s reality.
He’s a Tory MP who does exactly what you’d expect a Tory MP to do (support fox hunting and the NHS’s use of homeopathy, lowering the week limit for abortions, voting in favour of blasphemy laws). On the other hand, he’s possibly the tallest-ever MP (6 feet 8½ inches) and was the second-ever MP to come out as bisexual.
Unfortunately, he’s most prominently known for shouting at a disabled man. In 2013, he kept telling a one-legged man begging outside Parliament to just “get a job, find some work”.