Remodelling universities

I would like our universities to be independent institutions dedicated to rigorous thinking, a tolerant exploration of a range of viewpoints, and fearless enquiry.

I favour more reliance on the Endowment model of funding. The more money universities can receive from legacies and donations, the more independence they can enjoy. Too many run on business models which depend on government grants, or on the goodwill of some categories of student who may also bring with them foreign government intervention.

Some Universities and Colleges have done a good job raising long term investment money, and some have done a good job investing it. Others can take more advantage of the very favourable tax status they enjoy. Gifts and legacies are tax free. Endowment funds pay no CGT, Income Tax or Stamp Duty. These are huge and valuable concessions.

Others have become very dependent on state grants. The danger of this is it can reinforce group think. The insiders from research faculties sit on Whitehall Committees to define the areas of interest and the people who will receive research funding. Fashionable preoccupations dominate at the expense of other sometimes more important questions to improve peoples lives. Solutions are often limited by conventional wisdom and can be distorted by professional jealousies. The whole system is open to the tyranny of the established.

At last Universities UK is talking about the dangers of Chinese influence. Chinese students have come in large numbers. They have a different relationship to their state and government to that of Western students.They wish to assist a large transfer of knowledge and IP to their country. Some universities need to be careful not to undersell our Knowledge and not to release or open up research with defence or strategic network implications through a casual disregard for what is going on.

Undergraduate programmes should be built around educating U.K. students. Post graduate research programmes can benefit from close exchanges with academics from like minded democracies. Second degree programmes may well be a good business line to establish links with students from anywhere in the world, where our educational excellence is something to share so they learn and we earn from the experience. These should not entail joint working on  pioneering areas with strategic implications for our defence or economy.

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  1. Lifelogic
    Posted June 28, 2020 at 5:43 am | Permalink

    Much truth in the above but perhaps the main funding they get is from the soft student loans for fees and the living costs for the students (much of that also paid in rent for student rooms also goes to the universities). Over 50% of these loans will almost certainly never by repaid (so extra taxes on companies & people often without degrees . Well over 50% of university degrees have very little or no value many in subject of little value. 50% of the people going to university have 3Ds are A level or worse.

    Is it really sensible to load up so many people with £50K of debt (plus 6% interest PA) for often largely worthless degrees that often given the student a misguided feeling on entitlement too? While dumping the cost of this onto tax payers and businesses thus making them less able to grow? Clearly it is not.
    To my mind no one with less than about three Bs should be going to university unless they fund themselves or they can resit. That would cut out about 2/3 of current students and 2/3 of university places. More practical & shorter courses, night school, day release, learning on the job and similar such training should replace this.

    • Nigl
      Posted June 28, 2020 at 6:55 am | Permalink

      Agree totally. Like so many things HMG out of touch and, as there aren’t any votes in it, no incentive to sort it out.

      I see Boris lining up to spend, therefore much waste involved, shed loads of more borrowed money. Trash the economy through poor handling of the pandemic then buy popularity back with more of our money.

    • Chris Dark
      Posted June 28, 2020 at 6:58 am | Permalink

      Lowering the entry grades for university is bizarre, it just makes a mockery of the whole purpose of attending. What satisfaction is there for a triple-grade A student to find that he’s being joined by folk who scraped up a couple of D passes and are being let in based on reasons other than brain-power? I did ONC and HNC courses in my day, in the 1970’s….there were lots around, plus a variety of vocational training and many more that I never got round to exploring. My realm was medical lab diagnostics. Universities should be teaching the academically gifted. Especially so for STEM subjects because laboratories are essential for all the practical aspects….you can’t do that stuff online.

      • Old chemist
        Posted June 28, 2020 at 3:24 pm | Permalink

        I have come to the conclusion that the expansion of higher education was more about jobs for lecturers rather than for the benefit of undergraduates. Unless you have tenure the life of an academic is as bad as a gig economy worker. If you read the litrurature then number of papers that add nothing new to the understanding or have false data in them is frightening. all driven by the need to publish or funding and careers are finished. University is now a career choice not about the search for knowledge. Sooner the Government stops all funding and lets the unworthy institutions wither the better.

        • Peter Parsons
          Posted June 28, 2020 at 9:09 pm | Permalink

          The expansion of higher education was about keeping the unemployment figures lower.

          • Edward2
            Posted June 29, 2020 at 3:09 pm | Permalink

            If you have an educated, qualified and skilled workforce they will be valued as employees.
            They may start their own businesses.
            The chances are they will rarely be unemployed.

      • UK Qanon
        Posted June 28, 2020 at 4:39 pm | Permalink

        Not many academically gifted around these days due to the increasiungly poor standard of basic education. In my day, should one be chosen to sit for FIVE “O” levels you were lucky and “A” levels were a pipe dream.

        Now they “pass” with 10 O levels and 8 A levels???????? With multiple choice answers ANY buffoon can pass.
        Similarly my TECHNICAL college where I studied ONC and HNC in Mech. Eng. with VERY GOOD tutors is now a univerity????

        • UK Qanon
          Posted June 28, 2020 at 4:39 pm | Permalink


        • glen cullen
          Posted June 28, 2020 at 9:11 pm | Permalink

          A few years ago I lectured on a business degree programme for a semester and was told to stop criticizing students spelling and grammar and to only mark against their knowledge of the subject

          Standards are now unbelievably low and lecturers are only interested in writing academic paper, their next promotion and their pay packet

        • Lifelogic
          Posted June 29, 2020 at 1:46 am | Permalink

          I went to decent northern grammar school some 40 years back and did 12 O levels and 5 A levels which was not unusual there (with double maths and General Studies on top of the three standard A levels).

          • Lynn Atkinson
            Posted June 29, 2020 at 8:24 am | Permalink

            It’s the least we should be equipping our children with for a successful future. And no 14% pass rates!

          • Hope
            Posted June 29, 2020 at 2:40 pm | Permalink

            LL, General studies, that does not count as an A level. That is as good as PPE Oxbridge! Today some universities will not accept it.

    • steve
      Posted June 28, 2020 at 7:51 am | Permalink


      “Is it really sensible to load up so many people with £50K of debt”

      More to the point is it right that Scottish students get free tuition, while Scottish universities charge fees to English students.

      • Hope
        Posted June 28, 2020 at 3:48 pm | Permalink

        Better still why are EU students allowed free tuition in Scottish universities?

        EU law provides students should pay the same as host nation.

        The U.K. Govt Leads all EU matters not individual nations of the UK. Therefore either English students should also be free in Scotland, as EU students, or EU students should pay U.K. Fees like English students.

        English students do not have a parliament to represent their case on fees. Scottish MPs have a say over English students in UK parliament! English taxpayers give Scotland money under Barnet formula and Scottish parliament charges English students!

        Perverse logic of Fake Tory Govt. Who always advocated this detrimental position for English students.

      • JoolsB
        Posted June 28, 2020 at 8:37 pm | Permalink

        And of course if you’re doing medicine as my son is, the debt will be much much higher. And no, it is certainly not right or fair that English students are clobbered when the students of the devolved nations pay nothing or are heavily subsidised thanks to the UK Governments generosity with English taxpayers money.

        Yet another example of blatant discrimination against England by a UK Government and they get away with it because unlike the devolved nations, England has no-one standing up for it does it John?

    • NickC
      Posted June 28, 2020 at 12:49 pm | Permalink

      Lifelogic, One thing that should be done is fining Universities for “cancelling” visitors, students, and ideas that do not fit their woke/cultural-marxist/pc/CAGW world view.

    • Lynn Atkinson
      Posted June 28, 2020 at 1:08 pm | Permalink

      Traditionally the top 2% go to university. We should stick with that and fund them properly. They need to know we have great expectations of them.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted June 28, 2020 at 3:28 pm | Permalink

        2% ? I would not go quite that low! You would only need about two universities for circa 20,000 students PA.

        • Lynn Atkinson
          Posted June 29, 2020 at 8:24 am | Permalink

          Perfect. We used to have 2!

          • hefner
            Posted July 1, 2020 at 10:16 am | Permalink

            Yes, in the 13th century. Oxford was created in 1096/1116 and Cambridge in 1209 essentially for religiously-inclined scholars. As the PM could have said ‘we will bounce backward’.
            That’s indeed what a country like the UK needs. Thanks Lynn for another of your oh-so intelligent contributions.

    • Ed M
      Posted June 28, 2020 at 2:41 pm | Permalink

      Great comment

    • Original Richard
      Posted June 28, 2020 at 6:33 pm | Permalink

      “Over 50% of these loans will almost certainly never by repaid (so extra taxes on companies & people often without degrees.”

      The size of the fees that a university can charge students for a particular course should be made a function of the ability of past graduates to pay off their loans.

    • a-tracy
      Posted June 28, 2020 at 7:25 pm | Permalink

      The plan 1 student loans were getting repaid, that’s why they are making them so expensive now just for English students with extortionate interest to ensure no early repayments and a 9% tax for 30 years.

  2. Lifelogic
    Posted June 28, 2020 at 5:54 am | Permalink

    Even in Law we have about 4 times as many people taking law degrees (or law conversions) as there are jobs in this area (and we have far too many law jobs anyway due to the daft laws and systems we have in place).

    In Forensic science this is more like 100 times. Then we have thousands of subject even less in demand than these. Restrict the grants to sensible subjects where there is real demand for the output. Let people pay for their own hobby degrees or get a job and study then part time.

    Also (for some suitable people) let them have soft loans to start a business instead of getting an often useless degree.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted June 28, 2020 at 6:53 am | Permalink

      Another huge waste in the system is that only about 50% of doctors very expensively trained in the UK go on to work in UK health care. They either get non medical jobs perhaps in finance or similar or they go abroad to Canada, Australian, New Zealand etc. where they are often treated rather better.

      This while the NHS import doctors from many other poor countries more cheaply. Many of whom are excellent but many are not as well trained or qualified and tend to have worse complaints and legal claim records on average than UK trained doctors.

      • Ed M
        Posted June 28, 2020 at 2:42 pm | Permalink

        Good comment

      • a-tracy
        Posted June 28, 2020 at 7:36 pm | Permalink

        What % go to work in Canada, Australia and New Zealand and what numbers pro-rata do we take from those three Countries? Do they still pay their student loan 9% tax back or do they get away with it?

      • JoolsB
        Posted June 28, 2020 at 8:39 pm | Permalink

        And that’s why if the Government had an ounce of common sense, which it clearly doesn’t, it would not charge for STEMM subjects on condition for example doctors work in the NHS fora minimum number of years.

    • steve
      Posted June 28, 2020 at 7:46 am | Permalink


      “Even in Law we have about 4 times as many people taking law degrees (or law conversions) as there are jobs in this area (and we have far too many law jobs anyway due to the daft laws and systems we have in place).”

      Due to an out of control politically biased legal system. Culprit ? Tony Blair.

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted June 28, 2020 at 8:36 am | Permalink

      If our socio-economic model were not such that the only secure jobs left are those in the Professions, then maybe courses for law etc. would not be so over-subscribed?

      However, the puritanical, Anglo-American form of capitalism as implemented here prizes worker insecurity very highly, and so qualifications in, say, engineering do not offer much protection from the high probability of some sort of material crisis in life which is an inherent part of this model for the employed classes. Accordingly they are not that popular. It’s a truly vicious circle.

      It’s a useless, rubbish set up for the people, especially for those with an aptitude for learning.

      • Edward2
        Posted June 28, 2020 at 5:17 pm | Permalink

        Yet BC (before Covid) unemployment in the UK was at a very low level.
        With record numbers employed.
        So low we see hundreds of thousands of people coming here from nations with much lower wages and much higher levels of unemployment every year since 2000.

      • steve
        Posted June 28, 2020 at 6:07 pm | Permalink


        “…the only secure jobs left are those in the Professions”

        For the kind of job security you imply, look no further than the left wing civil service & left wing councils etc, where it’s all about getting one’s bum behind a desk and having big fat juicy pensions.

        Why else do you think these parasites get all sanctimonious when reminded that as publicly funded servants they are there to ‘serve’ people.

      • Lynn Atkinson
        Posted June 28, 2020 at 6:52 pm | Permalink

        Did you not notice thousands of lawyers losing their jobs in 2008 – 2010?

        • hefner
          Posted July 1, 2020 at 10:24 am | Permalink

          A non-negligible number of capital market lawyers lost their jobs indeed (, The credit crunch: 10 years on, september 2017).

      • a-tracy
        Posted June 28, 2020 at 7:38 pm | Permalink

        No, I think it’s that people in these professions feel more superior and more intelligent and that they can look down on people with less ‘professional’ degrees! Or vocational degrees that most of us took if we weren’t the 2%!

    • Peter
      Posted June 28, 2020 at 6:22 pm | Permalink

      Universities are now more of a big business rather than traditional education.

      Blair realised that further education reduced youth unemployment numbers. Then, after a while, it became apparent that it could also be a big money spinner.

      There was more profit in foreign students. So – even if few Brits wanted to study engineering – Orientals could still provide a nice little earner. So engineering departments stayed open, rather than being closed.

      Meanwhile young Brits got lumbered with debt and the financial advantages to being a graduate diminished as requirements for basic jobs got inflated and youngsters started working for nothing as so-called ‘interns’.

  3. oldtimer
    Posted June 28, 2020 at 6:04 am | Permalink

    Universities, such as Oxford which have raised very substantial funds from private sources, need to be careful. If they allow demands for recognition of donors from earlier generations to be vilified and their statues or other marks removed then it could have repercussions for future fund raising efforts. Oxford itself is starting to look and sound far too “woke”.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted June 28, 2020 at 7:04 am | Permalink

      Indeed even idiotic moves at Cambridge too.

      Cambridge University agrees to explore fossil fuel divestment plan. … The university’s management accepted a motion, known as a grace, which urged Cambridge to “set out fully the advantages and disadvantages, including the social and political ones”, of divestment from global coal, oil and gas companies.

      Driven by unscientific dopes one assumes.

      Talking of dopes:

      Justin Welby:- The Anglican church should reconsider the way statues and other representations of Jesus portray him as white in the light of the Black Lives Matter protests, the archbishop of Canterbury has said – also that the church must look very carefully to see if the statues should all be there.

      Did this only occur to him and the CoE in the light of the black lives matter protest?

      Why stop at the statues if you look at the history of Christianity? Surely the whole of it and all the building should go and all the wealth of the church be given away! If you are going down that route Whelby. The same for almost all the other religions too.

      • Fred H
        Posted June 28, 2020 at 3:45 pm | Permalink

        Statues? – – A can of fencing stain would do the job. Keep the protesters happy!

      • a-tracy
        Posted June 28, 2020 at 7:46 pm | Permalink

        Why stop there Mr Welby perhaps Jesus should be gender neutral perhaps half the male Bishops in the Anglian church should retire and let females take their place. It’s a good thing most of us are sensible and don’t take offence easily.

      • Ed M
        Posted June 28, 2020 at 8:44 pm | Permalink


        As half Catholic / half C of E, I agree with you to agree. There was much corruption in The Church (and still to a degree). I think this was brilliantly depicted by Chaucer in The Pardoner’s Tale. But there were also good / holy men as well. Men such as the charming and joyful and beautiful St Francis of Assisi. Francis didn’t live the life he led because he hated money or because money was evil (this is HERESY) but because of how money COULD be used for corrupt purposes both in the Church and outside it.

        • Ed M
          Posted June 28, 2020 at 8:45 pm | Permalink

          ‘I agree with you to agree’ – I agree with you to a degree, I meant.

        • Ed M
          Posted June 28, 2020 at 9:20 pm | Permalink

          And I, as a Catholic, would like to humbly APOLOGISE for all the sins Catholics have done against this great nation, The United Kingdom and its great people, including Protestants. I’d like to APOLOGISE for:

          1) Those Protestants cruelly burnt on stakes.
          2) For Guy Fawkes who was, when he tried to blow up Parliament, a terrorist not a Catholic
          3) For ‘Catholic’ King Philip of Spain who was a like a dictator when he tried to invade Britain with his Armada
          4) For the Popes getting involved in British politics. The Popes have spiritual power over Catholics (this means the Popes declare what Catholic doctrine is – what nature of The Blessed Trinity is – things like that and authority of the sacramental life, things like that). NOT temporal power (it’s actually heresy in spirit and an abuse of power to think Popes do have this power). Temporal power is a gift given to monarchs and elected politicians – not Popes, Cardinals, bishops. Catholics owe their loyalty – on temporal matters – to Her Majesty the Queen (and to her representatives in government ruling on behalf of her) as well as to Judiciary, The Armed Forces, and so forth. Catholicism has ALWAYS believed this but some in The Church, including Popes and senior Cardinals, abused their power.
          5) I also apologise for other sins committed by Catholics

          I am not looking for special favour. I just want some Protestants and others to know that here is one Catholic at least who is sorry for what was done in the name of Catholicism and wants to own up and accept responsibility.

    • Sir Joe Soap
      Posted June 28, 2020 at 7:35 am | Permalink

      Indeed, even Patten can sense when the hand that feeds is being bitten.

    • Nannette Simon
      Posted June 28, 2020 at 11:13 am | Permalink


    • Lynn Atkinson
      Posted June 28, 2020 at 1:11 pm | Permalink

      Too late. Norris McWhirter’s daughter was not accepted by his old College ‘because she is too versatile’. When they asked alumni for funding he responded that he was not interested in funding a college who found anybody could be ‘too versatile’.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted June 28, 2020 at 3:34 pm | Permalink

        Perhaps they were trying to put it politely. Then again perhaps they were just idiots.

        • Lynn Atkinson
          Posted June 29, 2020 at 8:27 am | Permalink

          Daughter seriously gifted.

      • Andy
        Posted June 28, 2020 at 6:43 pm | Permalink

        He has literally been dead for 16 years. Genuinely you people are so woefully out of date that it is embarrassing.

  4. Javelin
    Posted June 28, 2020 at 6:04 am | Permalink

    By definition every STEM Phd is cutting edge. A vast number of STEM post doctoral
    papers are published in China. There is no need for Chinese Phd students to come to the UK unless it is to work on cutting edge research. The Phd supervisors give away their life experience to Chinese students who then go home and use cheap labour to undermine UK STEM companies.

    A Phd is spying on the cheap.

    • jerry
      Posted June 28, 2020 at 6:57 am | Permalink

      @Javelin; Indeed but it has been the accountants of UK Plc’s who wanted China to know our cutting edge research, because they can then out-source manufacturing, even R&D, to the PRC, cheaper than doing so here in the UK, meaning that they make better profits on their factory …sorry, warehouse gate price here in the UK.

      What’s that saying, oh yes, To know the value of everything, but the worth of nothing.

      • Mockbeggar
        Posted June 29, 2020 at 9:23 am | Permalink

        ‘…the price of everything and the value of nothing.’ Oscar Wilde.

    • Fred H
      Posted June 28, 2020 at 9:59 am | Permalink

      a breath of fresh air. Javelin gets to the sharp point.

    • glen cullen
      Posted June 28, 2020 at 10:16 am | Permalink

      spot on

      And foreign Phd students will openly tell you their plan to rob our intellect and knowledge to be used in their home country…..this all know to universities but its revenue and to universities revenue is king

    • Anonymous
      Posted June 28, 2020 at 10:31 am | Permalink

      I despair of it all.

      • UK Qanon
        Posted June 28, 2020 at 4:48 pm | Permalink

        It is all part of the PLAN which has been slowly executed to achieve the goal of communism and control of the masses. I have Venuzuelan and Persian friends who say the UK must be MAD to allow this to happen.
        Eastern Eropean countries are more aware as they have been involved in this idealogy.

    • NickC
      Posted June 28, 2020 at 12:54 pm | Permalink

      Javelin, It’s not just knowledge from Universities, it’s product knowledge too. It is well known in industry that, unless you go to extraordinary lengths to protect your IP, the Chinese will copy any product you have made in China.

      • Martin in Cardiff
        Posted June 28, 2020 at 4:55 pm | Permalink

        Looks like you’re arguing for a World Court, in order to grant and to protect global IP rights.

        • Fred H
          Posted June 29, 2020 at 5:34 pm | Permalink

          great idea!

  5. Nigl
    Posted June 28, 2020 at 6:09 am | Permalink

    Sitting on Westminster committees shouldn’t cause a problem if there was oversight and challenge plus a clear link between HMG money and the achievement of it’s objectives. As we are seeing with Covid far too much deference is being given to scientists and how ‘narrow’ they are as you say.

    Equally the left wing bias Working with HMG money but against it. Enterprise clusters with deep, not lick of paint, paid for support not the pro bono that HMG relies on, free business units etc must be maximised to take advantage of the spin offs that should be a core requirement attached to any funding.

    New generations of professors need to understand how what they do is linked to generating the money that pays for them and support that.

    Finally let’s look at the ‘useless’ degrees and cull them and the loans etc used to pay for them.

    As for China’ as ever with HMG, it bursts into life promising action after the event. Always a too late cure rather than prevention. Equally it continues the condescension that somehow their science is inferior and relies on stealing from the West. I don’t believe it. All states monitor and spy. It seems to suit your narrative casting China as the bogeyman.

    Ps. Positive noises being heard about changes in the Civil Service. Please get it right and don’t waver in light of the expected howls of establishment protest. It is far too important. We have suffered from its dysfunction for too long.

    • IanT
      Posted June 28, 2020 at 10:56 am | Permalink

      I think both points are valid – I’m sure they do steal our IP and that they also have their own advanced tech that does not get shared here, except when it’s buried in their exports. Surely the best of both worlds from their point of view.


    • acorn
      Posted June 28, 2020 at 5:09 pm | Permalink

      BTW. This site has certainly attracted more than its fair share of PPD sufferers. Alas such commenters should understand that Civil Servants are people also. The ERG 62 have spent the last four years throwing bricks at the Civil Service along with the BBC etc etc. Such institutions do not forget.

      The “Peter Principle” has defined the last decade of this government. The “Cat Concept” is currently defining the Civil Service. That is, give your politician 90% of the information he needs and let him/her hang themselves with the vital 10% you withheld.

  6. Sharon Jagger
    Posted June 28, 2020 at 6:13 am | Permalink

    “I would like our universities to be independent institutions dedicated to rigorous thinking, a tolerant exploration of a range of viewpoints, and fearless enquiry.”

    JR – You are far from alone in your views here. With all the brainwashing of recent decades into group think and only that view, they’ll need to be a whole-sale clear out of teaching and lecturing staff!

    And I agree that the Chinese student end of things needs urgent attention to prevent wholesale loss of ideas etc.

    • steve
      Posted June 28, 2020 at 7:55 am | Permalink

      Sharon Jagger

      “…tolerant exploration of a range of viewpoints”

      As long as those viewpoints are left wing extremism.

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted June 28, 2020 at 8:47 am | Permalink

      It is the complete opposite of the job of universities to propagate or to perpetuate falsehoods, which would be convenient for the Right if believed by students. The fact that large numbers are given correct information is not “group think” on the other hand.

      The reality, that being in possession of truth and fact apparently tends to undermine support for the Tories is no doubt something to which this administration will turn its attention.

      • a-tracy
        Posted June 28, 2020 at 8:03 pm | Permalink

        Whose truth and fact Martin? People who have never had a job outside of academia and don’t know how to generate money without handouts, grants and government funds. Such a sense of entitlement to money from the rest of us is beyond belief to me.

        Unquestioned group think is just a means of controlling people to only one viewpoint. The latest disallowing people to give talks so only ones version’ of an event, theory or ideal is taught it’s just not good enough.

        • Martin in Cardiff
          Posted June 29, 2020 at 6:40 am | Permalink

          Well, you have fallen for the Postmodernist nonsense hook, line, and sinker.

          The whole point about impartial research is that it looks for THE truth, not what some lobby claim it to be.

          It is an objective fact, for instance, that it is perfectly legal to sell bent bananas in the European Union.

          • Edward2
            Posted June 29, 2020 at 5:41 pm | Permalink

            Yet if you try to propose an opinion in modern science that goes against current thinking you find your career ruined.
            Try getting peer approval or promotion in academia with views that are in opposition to the current orthodoxy and see what happens.

          • a-tracy
            Posted June 29, 2020 at 6:52 pm | Permalink

            ‘Well, you have fallen for the Postmodernist nonsense hook, line, and sinker.’

            How have I? Are students provided with both sides of say the fracking debate and both sets of facts?

            When we went to an Educational establishment open day a lecture/talk was given on what the students should do if they got caught with drugs if they were drunk and incapable or in an otherwise compromising condition, they were advised their rights, who to contact, how to get out of the situation and what to say – not once were they told the dangers of the drugs, alcohol or abuse. These are young impressionable adults that are being taken out of a strict, morale set of guidelines and are suddenly told all about their new freedoms but not the consequences it may be a truth but just one version of a truth and not the whole truth.

          • hefner
            Posted July 1, 2020 at 5:25 pm | Permalink

            MiC, Edward2, I disagree with both of you.

            Martin, any scientist particularly in the ‘ hard sciences’ will try to get to the ‘truth’ but very likely knowing full well that their ‘truth’ of today might be revised by another scientist the next day who thanks to another experimental method/design, modelling, new observations, or combination of all of those, will add to (or subtract from) the understanding that they originally got. That covers physics, chemistry, biology, either fundamental or applied.

            Edward2, in hard sciences, scientists do not deal with opinion but to ‘facts’ for which they can justify the observations they use to start with to build their assumptions, the used methodology, the conclusions they draw. All these elements once obtained are documented and any other scientist can try to repeat these different steps and possibly get to a different conclusion and infirm the original findings.
            There are obviously scientific domains where such openness is very much constrained (medical research, pharmaceutical industry, processes leading to weapon or computer or industrial developments, practically all in the para-public or private sector). But even in those areas, there are specialized (non-open) meetings where scientific advances, even if not 100% detailed to the audience, are discussed and questioned.
            And funnily enough it is often ‘dissenters’ who make ‘Science’ proceed. (But as I hope you will have understood by now, scientific dissenters, not political dissenters).
            Obviously ‘softer’ domains of science also use a similar approach, specially those using big economic or population-related datasets together with sophisticated statistical methods.

            It is a shame that in this day and age, anybody and their dog can shut up a conservation with such a stupid statement as ‘garbage in, garbage out’ without any further consideration.

            Edward2, I would be really interested to know of all the dissenters you know who have had their careers ruined.

          • hefner
            Posted July 2, 2020 at 8:26 am | Permalink

            In penultimate paragraph ‘conversation’ not ‘conservation’.

    • Ian Wragg
      Posted June 28, 2020 at 8:52 am | Permalink

      And Cambridge goes ahead with the Chinese projects which can be used for military purposes.

    • Fred H
      Posted June 28, 2020 at 10:01 am | Permalink

      ideally stop all Chinese students coming here, and evaluate which UNIs and courses should survive.

    • glen cullen
      Posted June 28, 2020 at 10:20 am | Permalink

      UK funded universities should only accept UK students

      • Andy
        Posted June 28, 2020 at 6:45 pm | Permalink

        Why? You think it would help with your war on foreigners? The overseas students pay higher fees – meaning they subsidise UK students. But don’t let that trouble you.

        • glen cullen
          Posted June 28, 2020 at 9:27 pm | Permalink

          I have no issue with foreign students being taught at UK establishments, just not UK funded establishments

      • Lynn Atkinson
        Posted June 28, 2020 at 6:56 pm | Permalink


      • hefner
        Posted July 2, 2020 at 8:46 am | Permalink

        Most UK universities have to rely on external funding of some sort as the state funding only covers a small part of their expenses. Through this external funding (student fees, endowment, external research contracts, … that can represent a non negligible to large percentage of their running costs) the Universities should be able to decide what fraction of their student population (a percentage similar to that of the external funding?) could be made of foreign students.

        Whether one likes it or not, UK universities are now essentially run as private businesses. Look for example at the number of UK universities having started ‘overseas branches’ all over the world in the last twenty years, some very successfully, some not so much (U.Reading).

        I would guess most people (not our host obviously) grumbling about the state of the UK universities on this site are well past their sell-by date or have close to zero knowledge about universities (Disclaimer: I was related to the university world only during my studies, some 40-45 years ago).

  7. Lynn Atkinson
    Posted June 28, 2020 at 6:14 am | Permalink


  8. agricola
    Posted June 28, 2020 at 6:20 am | Permalink

    Universities that remove ancient statues to satisfy the Marxist Anarchist demands of their staff and some students are hardly fit places to entrust to the education of ones children. Even less are they fit places to control state secrets or intellectual property. Nor should they be places where foreign students from alien regimes can come and vacuum clean said intellectual property. Do not believe that the Cambridge five were the end of it once revealed. Their activities both in the USA and the UK were permitted by very lax security thinking in both governments. In fact the whole scientific establishment at the time considered the knowledge they had to be the property of the World. I doubt that their thinking has changed that much in subsequent decades. I therefore conclude that any regime in which sensitive knowledge is generated needs some thoughtful control, as do the government controllers. Inviting the enemy to partake at the table seems utterly crass. Overt or covert positive vetting should be the norm for anyone in sensitive areas of research. I would add that our government, during and after the WW2 period made so many stupid decisions on access to both research and components that one should question whether they are ever fit to dabble in such areas.

    • jerry
      Posted June 28, 2020 at 8:08 am | Permalink

      @agricola; Would you be saying the same thing against our Universities I wonder if the students were demanding statues of Karl Max, Keir Hardie, Ernest Bevin, Clement Attlee be removed from their midst or from the wider community; would you be making the same comments had the Cambridge five been spying for the UK/USA against the USSR?…

      Not that you don’t make valuable comment about national security, just that they could have been made sans politics!

      • agricola
        Posted June 28, 2020 at 7:22 pm | Permalink

        The gentlemen you mention were all acceptable of their time, and none of them worthy of statue desecration.

        Had the five been spying for the UK against the USSR it is most unlikely you or I would have known it. Incidentally Winston Churchill specifically forbade any intelligence activity against the USSR for the duration of WW2. In fact he fed them a lot of Ultra to which they never reciprocated. The USSR spied on the UK, USA, and Nazi Germany with unsurpassed enthusiasm and a great deal of success. The Cambridge five were only the tip of a multi faceted iceberg and questionably not the most valuable to the USSR. Politics is sadly unavoidable when universities, government, and the intellectual property of the nation is involved.

    • Andy
      Posted June 28, 2020 at 8:48 am | Permalink

      I wonder if Agricola enjoys life in Spain – certain that should he get sick the British government will fund his treatment, despite him backing Brexit.

      I wonder what advice he would give to a British couple planning to retire abroad, just like he did, next year? They are now learning that such British government support is ending – effectively ending the opportunity any poor people have to do what Agricola himself did. It’s okay if you are a multi-millionaire hedge fund owning Brexit backer. The insurance bill is paid by your inheritance from daddy anyway. But if you are Mr and Mrs Average the opportunity to retire abroad has now likely be stolen from you.

      • Fred H
        Posted June 28, 2020 at 3:50 pm | Permalink

        Anybody that wanted to go should have got on with it – after all we’ve had since 2016 to be warned.

      • Jiminyjim
        Posted June 28, 2020 at 4:45 pm | Permalink

        Explain what is going to prevent people retiring abroad if they want to? Some common sense from you Andy, and a tiny bit of knowledge, would be most welcome

      • Narrow Shoulders
        Posted June 28, 2020 at 4:50 pm | Permalink

        The advice I would give, which is the same I would give to anyone wishing to come here, would be to be able to support yourself wherever you choose to emigrate to.

      • Lynn Atkinson
        Posted June 28, 2020 at 6:57 pm | Permalink

        Ever heard of CANZUK? You will be able to retire to Oz, or NZ, or Canada ..

      • agricola
        Posted June 28, 2020 at 7:37 pm | Permalink

        I would advise them to cover themselves with private health insurance as I had to. I would also advise registering their vehicle in Spain. Changing their driving licence to a Spanish one and to pay their taxes in Spain . They could then obtain a certificate of permanent residence.

        My politics on Brexit is based on what is good for a sovereign UK ,as opposed to a milch cow in a failed socialist experiment. Socialism can at best remind capitalism of its moral limits. Its application has been an abject failure wherever it has enjoyed power.

      • agricola
        Posted June 28, 2020 at 7:43 pm | Permalink

        Incidentally Andy, Spain does not need poor people, it has enough of its own. A situation not likely to improve while it stays a member of the EU.

      • a-tracy
        Posted June 28, 2020 at 8:05 pm | Permalink

        The Spanish rebill the U.K. for all medical services anyway Andy as do most of Europe it’s only us treating everyone for free.

        • glen cullen
          Posted June 28, 2020 at 9:28 pm | Permalink


      • hefner
        Posted July 1, 2020 at 1:11 pm | Permalink

        Andy, sorry but you do not need to be a multimillionaire hedge fund owner to be able to retire somewhere in one of the EU27 countries, specially given the difference between property prices between South of England and and any place ‘countrysidish’ over there (well maybe not on the Cote d’Azur, the Bodensee, or the Amalfi Coast).
        Most countries are quite open to British people, and for those thinking of taking permanent residence there, agricola’s advices are very sound. Set private health insurance, all car-related papers, and tax to your new country. If you speak adequately enough the local language and have chosen a reasonably friendly area (say, after spending a number of week-long stays in different seasons around the year in a particular region) you might (more or less slowly/rapidly, depending how nice you are as a person) become part of the locals, still the Brit but one possibly even voting in their local elections (after registering obviously).

        Two plusses: You might have to answer some testing questions about Brexit, but that’s part of the fun. Even better you will not cost those staying in the UK anything.

        Quick easyJet, reopen the flight to ‘my’ destination.

    • glen cullen
      Posted June 28, 2020 at 10:23 am | Permalink


      There used to be an adage that if you fund it you control it…not true with universities, it actually appears to be the other way round

      • Lynn Atkinson
        Posted June 29, 2020 at 8:30 am | Permalink

        He who pays the piper calls the tune. That’s why professional politicians, paid by the State are the most important thing to sort out.

  9. jerry
    Posted June 28, 2020 at 6:42 am | Permalink

    Sir John, there needs to be very many fewer Universities, which in turn will help the goals you set out above. Many students do not need to attended a University, and many companies do not need to employ at the university degree level, equal or adequate higher education being possible at Polytechnic and even Colleges of Further Education. Many students could also achiever their personal goals via part-time or evening-school courses or via remote teaching such as the OU, whilst working in the industry they wish to make their long term career. Of course this would require employers to acknowledge the needs of such people.

    50% of school levers going to University – no.
    50% of school levers achieving a degree or higher level education – yes.

    To coin a phrase, “Back to basics”, or if you like, “Back to first principles”.

    • Ed M
      Posted June 28, 2020 at 2:51 pm | Permalink

      Great comment

      Also, let’s please bring back national service at least for 3 months and more apprenticeships, more coding courses, in general, and less 3-year Micky Mouse degrees and more intense 1 year courses in Business / Finance / Computing / Coding / Digital Marketing – and more directly related to / focused on a particular job.

      Also, more links between investors and kids young people between 18 to 25 who are great at coding, have some great ideas for new software products, but need some cash (often not a lot) and some business guidance to get their project off the ground.

      (Also, more help to a certain % of gifted students in the Arts – in particular novels / poetry / musical composition / art / sculpture – not forgetting how JK Rowling brought a billion pounds to UK economy or something, and how there is a strong link between the Arts and the Creative Industries and how Companies often attracted to locate to places where there are strong arts and interesting cultural life in general going on (look at the ‘hip’ of Berlin).

  10. John Lang
    Posted June 28, 2020 at 6:43 am | Permalink

    John, I think the main problem is that Universities in the UK have become, essentially one giant Ponzi scheme separating financially illiterate young people from vast sums of money and delivering what are essentially ‘Veblen’ products, ie for the most part useless degrees for which demand has increased as the price has increased because of their perceived exclusive nature and appeal as a status symbol. In my view the whole University sector needs to be dismantled and reconstructed along more financially stringent lines and the institutionally corrupt [and corrupting] ‘loan’ system abolished, with the existing debt written off. It should then be made to offer far fewer but more vocationally relevant or research-related degrees, delivered by smaller numbers of higher quality lecturers to students who receive means-tested grants as they used to. The legion of mediocre lecturers who currently deliver the syllabus would then be freed up to enagage in more socially useful vocations such as working in McDonald’s or stacking shelves in Lidl’s.

    • Ed M
      Posted June 28, 2020 at 2:51 pm | Permalink

      Great article

  11. Javelin
    Posted June 28, 2020 at 6:54 am | Permalink

    Gramsci’s plans from his Prison Notebooks were that civil society, including education should be infiltrated by Marxists in order to undermine political society. As follows:-

    First – “A war of position” – inside civil society, by infiltrating education, media and church with those who create an alternative, anti capitalist culture.

    Then – “A war of movement” – during a crisis a direct attack on the political society (Government, police and capitalism), hoping to reveal the fist of force.

    The Government, Archbishop, police and corporates being seen as weak in response to BLM and taking the knee thus does not reveal the “fist of force”. So perhaps the political society have played this correctly. Whether by luck of judgement is not known.

    However the question now becomes why have the Neo-Marxists been allowed to win their war of position in the universities, BBC, media and church.

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted June 28, 2020 at 3:59 pm | Permalink

      If there were as many marxists as the fanatical Right here claim, then the UK would have a large and powerful Communist Party.

      It does not, however.

      There may be a few thousand amongst Labour’s half-a-million members or so, but as the response to recent events shows, they are no major force.

      • Edward2
        Posted June 28, 2020 at 9:47 pm | Permalink

        Marxism doesn’t use the normal channels.
        It is about violence and direct action.
        Surely you know this.

        • hefner
          Posted July 3, 2020 at 10:36 am | Permalink

          Interesting comment but what? A thirty years old view. What about a refresher course: Mark Sidwell’s ‘The Long March Through the Institutions: How the Left Won the Culture War & What to do About it’. Watch the New Culture Forum discussion between the author and Peter Whittle. You might even learn something.

  12. Bryan Harris
    Posted June 28, 2020 at 7:00 am | Permalink

    It will be good to have an independent Uni program – but the Chinese are not the only threat.

    The way that people are selected to go to Uni should revert back to those with the most talent.

    Uni courses should be tough workplaces with real subjects to prepare students for the real world — The snowflake world has to be disestablished.

    Fundamentally though, like every other aspect of our society, none of us will win until we all realize what a threat socialism is to our future.
    Unless the teachers of this nation stop filling heads with the insanity of socialist dogma we will never prosper as a nation. Far from it.

    • M Davis
      Posted June 28, 2020 at 5:33 pm | Permalink

      … Unless the teachers of this nation stop filling heads with the insanity of socialist dogma we will never prosper as a nation. Far from it.

      Bryan, couldn’t agree more!

    • Original Richard
      Posted June 28, 2020 at 7:43 pm | Permalink

      The marxist educational establishment have no wish for the nation to prosper. Far from it as power lies in the destruction of the capitalist system and poverty for all but the elite.

  13. Stred
    Posted June 28, 2020 at 7:13 am | Permalink

    Universities are facing bankruptcy following the Covid epidemic and the withdrawal of foreign students paying exorbitant fees. British students will be offered on line learning next year and already asking for their money back for this wasted year. Some universities have sensibly decided to reduce salaries, including the high pay of vice chancellors and others such as deans. These salaries have been justified by the comparison with industry and turnover but these academics would not be able to run a competitive business. Other universities have decided to cut staff numbers instead and these are likely to be senior lecturers approaching retirement and younger staff with temporary contracts. If they go then the quality of the teaching and research will suffer. It would be an ideal time for the government to withdraw funds and student loans for all of the political subversive course and useless arts degrees. The buildings could revert to technical colleges and polytechnics and used to teach students useful subjects which would lead to employment in industries where at present we have to import skills. The salaries of senior staff could also be set by the government and over management reduced in order to cut costs and fees.

  14. Robert McDonald
    Posted June 28, 2020 at 7:21 am | Permalink

    I have found that universities operate research departments in very poorly managed arrangements. Highly qualified and experienced scientists are employed on temporary contracts based on grants that are given almost on an ad hoc basis. Periodic submissions for grants are made to investment bodies, mostly publicly funded, and allocations are made on topics that suit the funders. No attempt is made by the university professors in charge to look long term and develop in house teams, they allow research scientists to leave at the end of each grant. The loss of long term planning suits the professors, very very well paid academics I must say, as it doesn’t involve any man management skills: they can talk away and sound clever. Not good for the scientists in the front line of the research who must constantly look around to be prepared to move on. I know this is typical in chemistry departments. There must be a better way for universities to operate their research and use the talents of the scientists involved for the long term good of all, and a better use of our research funding.

  15. Nigl
    Posted June 28, 2020 at 7:21 am | Permalink

    If the Chinese are waging economic warfare, albeit strange as the West is its major customer, they have already won with our government prepared to give up our lead in 5G plus the economic benefits because of an implied security issue with Huweii.

    Political posturing and muscle, albeit weak, flexing as a distraction from COVID to the financial detriment of the Country.

    • Fred H
      Posted June 28, 2020 at 3:52 pm | Permalink

      The West keeps buying dumped goods on the cheap.

    • Original Richard
      Posted June 28, 2020 at 7:58 pm | Permalink

      The Chinese government is already threatening us with economic reprisals over the Hongkong issue as well as the cancellation of Hinkley Point and HS2.

      It makes absolutely no sense for us to purchase the Chinese 5G system and thus deepen our dependence on a hostile state that threatens us so that when they threaten us again in the future they will have even more power.

  16. Sir Joe Soap
    Posted June 28, 2020 at 7:33 am | Permalink

    This is a good issue to tackle, and there’s large scale agreement.

    Again, if we look back 40 years the system wasn’t so bad-grants to top end UK students to enter university as undergraduates, and to tech-based students in Polys. Very few Micky Mouse courses, which hopefully will now wilt on the vine. It needs a Cummings character to take this on.

    Postgrad, we were supplemented with research students and academics from the US, Australia and some European countries. The question today is how do we carefully balance academic optimisation here with the need to protect our liberties. We need to keep the kernel of knowledge with our democratic friends in the world – basically we need our security services to do their job and expose cases where our technology (as democracies) is being used against us.

  17. steve
    Posted June 28, 2020 at 7:43 am | Permalink

    In my opinion universities are in need of a good a purging same as the civil service, police etc.

    They’re the breeding grounds of left wing malcontents and hotbeds of political correctness.

    Going to university is no longer a privilege, thanks to Blair – the cause of everything wrong with this country.

  18. Richard1
    Posted June 28, 2020 at 7:54 am | Permalink

    Serious attention must be given also to intolerant cultural Marxism in universities. We have seen a number of prominent instances where academics have been dismissed for expressing views which challenge leftwing orthodoxy. If not dismissed others are vilified. It’s the same amongst students. A strident and intolerant leftwing orthodoxy is increasingly affecting courses and academic research as well as social life. Universities which permit intolerance, no platforming, vilification of non-leftists etc must be loudly and publicly called to account by the government on behalf of us all, and must suffer financial consequences. Taxpayers should not have to pay for this nonsense. We need to find a way of cutting down the bloated university sector with its plethora of useless, politicised courses. This could be an effective and popular way of doing it.

    • steve
      Posted June 28, 2020 at 5:55 pm | Permalink


      Entirely agree, couldn’t have put it better myself.

  19. WingsOverTheWorld
    Posted June 28, 2020 at 7:59 am | Permalink

    Since our host often has his finger on the pulse of small c conservatism far before the rest of his Party catch up, I cynically wonder if this is an admission that we have lost the culture war for a generation. We do need a wholesale clearout of our universities – of the politically biased lecturers, overpaid vice-chairman and many of the ‘special‘ officials who dictate ‘special’ policy. This will not happen overnight, nor by any one government diktat. It’ll be for further generations to replace them, and the change in mentality needs to happen now, in primary and secondary schools. I think core degree subjects ought to be subsidised, where they hold a material value to the country: finance, engineering, basic sciences (not our current fad of pseudoscience); effectively, those areas where we want to grow our export market. Throw the rest to the headwinds of financial viability. Although I understand the viewpoint behind targeting Chinese students, I find the direction of the conversion a little disturbing. Chinese students come here because we offer good education, not because they are, literally, Manchurian candidates. They go back because there are better opportunities in the Far East to make use of what they have learnt (and, of course, strong cultural ties to family). If we want them to stay, as we would also like our own to stay, rather than prosper abroad, we need to offer better incentives to make use of their education here. There need to be better avenues for entrepreneurship and innovation, with less personal risk. Alternatively, take the unpalatable step to disincentivize foreign students, altogether. Twenty years ago, China looked like it was on a path of ‘Western Enlightenment’, today it’s an enemy; who knows where the next threat lurks? I’d rather we didn’t go down this pessimistic path, but who knows. 2020 might still surprise us with more horrors to flinch at.

    • Fred H
      Posted June 28, 2020 at 3:57 pm | Permalink

      They go back having learnt enough of their specialism to exploit the West on behalf of the regime.

    Posted June 28, 2020 at 8:16 am | Permalink

    The Tory party’s become the slave of the British Left. You dance to their tune and your refusal to confront their poison is directly responsible for where we are today.

    Education across all age groups is now under the control of the left and these proposals are nothing more than a predictable, reactionary response.

    We want to see ACTION NOT REACTION. Thatcher was action. We have had reaction since her culling and the Left have taken full advantage of that

    I hope the Tory party’s satisfied with the role they have both actively and inactively played in destroying this nation, its moral base and its culture

    When violence, intimidation and racism is actively rewarded by the British State then that alone is enough evidence I need to confirm my suspicions that any Tory government is nothing more than an empty vessel

    • Ed M
      Posted June 28, 2020 at 2:54 pm | Permalink

      Cheer up

      • Ed M
        Posted June 28, 2020 at 9:06 pm | Permalink

        Sorry, Dominic, I meant that nicely not rudely … Best

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted June 28, 2020 at 4:01 pm | Permalink

      By “Left” you appear to mean “civilisation”, but this government don’t even appear to care very much about that.

      • Edward2
        Posted June 28, 2020 at 11:08 pm | Permalink

        The violent bullying and anarchy of a few, isnt democracy nor anything like civilisation.

  21. oldwulf
    Posted June 28, 2020 at 8:16 am | Permalink

    Charitable status ?
    Really !
    I don’t think we can afford this in the current climate.

  22. Adam
    Posted June 28, 2020 at 8:22 am | Permalink

    Research and knowledge are our strongest defence, in enabling up to be prepared to prevent dangers. Our kingdom needs protection enshrined within prudent law, not risked according to how some universities choose to operate. The best can help the world advance in goodness. We should not invite the worse to do their worst.

  23. Jack Falstaff
    Posted June 28, 2020 at 8:27 am | Permalink

    I would like to see the focus brought to bear on fostering critical thinking in a world where it seems everybody just wants their political and moral opinions served up for them by the newspaper of their choice in one neat bundle to the exclusion of all other views.
    I don’t believe many people make any attempt to read across the political spectrum in the media on offer so that they can then work out what their views are by themselves.
    Maybe they just don’t have the time.
    This culture of politicisation has unfortunately seeped into our university system to an alarming extent, which reinforces such attitudes.
    Given this backdrop, it should therefore come as no surprise that students coming to the UK from certain countries where there are authoritiarian regimes mostly do not opt to read subjects where debate is encouraged and instead prefer cold-fact sciences.

  24. formula57
    Posted June 28, 2020 at 8:38 am | Permalink

    [ some ? Ed)Australian universities have substantially devalued themselves in pursuit of income from overseas students, with serious damage to their academic reputations and longer term well-being. They do though have many wealthy vice chancellors.

    Risk of similar here is heightened by the UK Government target (set in March 2019) of 600,000 international students by 2030 (a 25 per cent. increase) and substantially increasing UK attractiveness by matching (from September 2019) the Australian world-beating two-year post study work visa (now perhaps to be extended to four years).

    I do not say the Government’s actions are inappropriate, but they are laden with hazard for those universities that are greedy and foolish.

    • formula57
      Posted June 28, 2020 at 8:42 am | Permalink

      I perhaps should have added the qualifier “some” before “Australian universities”.

  25. Messenger
    Posted June 28, 2020 at 8:40 am | Permalink

    “Undergraduate programmes should be built around educating U.K. students.”

    In Scotland currently I understand the intake of Scottish students to their universities to be 27% of the whole.. This number is then qualified by the required admission of a proportion of applicants who have some form of difficulty, poverty, single parent families etc.

  26. ukretired123
    Posted June 28, 2020 at 8:40 am | Permalink

    Excellent topic and about time recognition of the malign influences of third parties on young minds albeit belatedly:-
    Sowing the seeds of discontent in some key areas without regard to the consequences.
    Allowing expensive open research to be exploited by hostile interests.
    Becoming dependent on certain gravy train grants and income.
    Where Higher Education has become “Highly Expensive” for students and Highly paid for many which has been very controversial especially when the output does not enhance the economy.

  27. Andy
    Posted June 28, 2020 at 8:43 am | Permalink

    It is quite amusing looking at the comments of your contributors. Old men who mostly didn’t go to university complaining about universities.

    It is not surprising that you lot dislike universities. Universities stand for and represent everything that you do not.

    They are open and tolerant places, where people of all nationalities, colours, creeds, religions, genders mix together perfectly peacefully.

    Each university is a microcosm showing your world view to be completely wrong.

    As for ‘groupthink’ – this site is a perfect example of groupthink going wrong. None of you know how to handle Martin, Margaret, me and the few others who challenge the daily nonsense.

    • ukretired123
      Posted June 28, 2020 at 3:33 pm | Permalink

      Prejudiced Andy -“Martin, Margaret, and me” as everyone knows you cannot listen to reason.
      How do you know which University I not only went to as a student but worked for several too.
      Never Assume because it makes a fool look wise and an ass of ….and me.
      If in doubt check it out.
      If still in doubt leave it out.
      You have no respect for yourself nor fellow contributors nor Sir John who in my humble opinion is undeserving of your poisonous fare.

    • Fred H
      Posted June 28, 2020 at 4:00 pm | Permalink

      Well Andy you are ready to put your gang of 4 on the bases when the statues are pulled down.

    • Edward2
      Posted June 28, 2020 at 5:19 pm | Permalink

      The daily nonsense comes from you.

    • Peter
      Posted June 28, 2020 at 6:14 pm | Permalink

      ‘As for ‘groupthink’ – this site is a perfect example of groupthink going wrong. None of you know how to handle Martin, Margaret, me and the few others who challenge the daily nonsense.’

      I always thought you were set up as an Aunt Sally to encourage responses from other posters. A sort of controlled opposition if you like.

      • Edward2
        Posted June 28, 2020 at 9:49 pm | Permalink

        No Peter and your pals just give us a good laugh.
        Don’t overestimate your effect.

    • Lynn Atkinson
      Posted June 28, 2020 at 7:08 pm | Permalink

      Andy nobody can have a rational discussion with you because your mind is closed.

    • a-tracy
      Posted June 28, 2020 at 8:14 pm | Permalink

      You forgot Bill.

      You are all closed, intolerant, dismissive and in your case discriminatory.

    • Original Richard
      Posted June 28, 2020 at 8:51 pm | Permalink

      “They (universities) are open and tolerant places, where people of all nationalities, colours, creeds, religions, genders mix together perfectly peacefully.”

      We know this is isn’t true when we read reports of “no platforming” and lecturers/staff being sacked for publishing/tweeting opinions which may be unpopular with some persons in academic circles.

    • Anonymous
      Posted June 28, 2020 at 10:34 pm | Permalink

      I attained two A levels from a school which harboured four murderers when I was there and many after I left. More of my contemporaries went to borstal and prison than university.

      I’ll give you a clue. Most of my contemporaries took part in the first Brixton Riots.

      I started work in the building industry in the ’80s taking up a broom from an ad in the job centre (which the bro’s next to me refused to take) and I worked myself up.

      I then took up service under the Crown.

      After that I took up my present job having studied for chartered status by correspondence.

      To this day I meet the PRMC tests and beat my own uphill personal best by 1 min 12 seconds. AND I’ve been working as a key worker throughout lockdown and as a volunteer.

      So go etc ed

      • ukretired123
        Posted June 29, 2020 at 8:54 am | Permalink

        The University of Life is a great teacher as wise Buddhists secretly know and it’s great to hear how you succeeded overcoming many obstacles and challenges. Well Done Sir!
        Many folks, my wife included could not afford to ” go to Uni” let alone have a gap year when young as they had to work for their keep.
        That always made them succeed and get qualifications later and why the Open University was created to help part-time adult students.
        See how Tom Pidgley RIP house building titan of Berkeley Group started after rags to riches Barnardo’s boy barely able to read and write at 15 for inspiration – that didn’t stop him either.

      • ukretired123
        Posted June 29, 2020 at 6:47 pm | Permalink

        Thank you for the PRMC tests information as it would certainly sort the wheat from the chaff hot air blowers for sure!

  28. Narrow Shoulders
    Posted June 28, 2020 at 8:47 am | Permalink

    The first thing to do to remodel universities into seat of academic excellence and make degrees worthwhile is to encourage employers to look for other qualifications than degrees for entry level jobs.

    Recruiters have become lazy by sifting applicants based on degrees rather than finding other, more relevant measures of aptitude (and attitude).

    Encourage school leavers into work rather than further academia and the rigour for those who do go to university will return.

    It won’t happen as their is now too much money pouring into the further education sector to stop.

  29. Mark B
    Posted June 28, 2020 at 8:53 am | Permalink

    Good morning

    It is good to see that our kind host has identified some key problems with universities and for funding. Much has changed since New Labour embarked on it plan for major social reform. Key to that were the universities. We are now reaping what they have sown and urgent action needs to be taken. But the Conservative Party has been in office for over ten years now and I fear that the next government, which most certainly be a Labour one, will complete the our nation’s transformation. The stupid Liberal minded Tories having prepared much of the ground.

  30. Dave Andrews
    Posted June 28, 2020 at 8:57 am | Permalink

    I regarded my university education then as now, as learning to do a job. I believe this should be state funded where it returns a benefit to society. Cramming students into university doing useless degrees just to get the university course fees is the wrong way to go.
    Today we have universities in dire financial straits (not that VC salaries reflect this). The answer to this is to clear out the degrees that are in place because students want them rather than being in the national interest.

  31. William Long
    Posted June 28, 2020 at 8:57 am | Permalink

    The most important word in your post is ‘Independent’. Universities should feel able to recruit undergraduates they consider most able to benefit from the courses they offer totally regardless of colour, class or creed, or, importantly nowadays, where they have been educated. Therefor, the greater the amount of private endowments they can raise, to make them independent of the State, without having to recruit foreign studets to amke ends meet, the better.
    A major obstacle, though, is the left wing political bias of most University staff who believe that State dependence is nirvana. Until a solution is found for this there is little hope of success for the reforms that you rightly advocate. Perhaps more new indeppendent Universities like Buckingham might be a way forward: it should be easier to persuade billionaires to fund these than commit their money to the existing left wing academic swamps, where any memorials to the benefactors are likely to be torn down at the first opportunity.

  32. Everhopeful
    Posted June 28, 2020 at 9:04 am | Permalink

    Will there BE any universities?
    Moreover..will there be any jobs now for graduates?
    In case no one had noticed there are no schools.
    No GCSEs, A levels or similar contrived nonsense to allow entry.
    Mr Hancock is considering more imprisonment and the Marxist teachers are Hell bent on never working again.
    Any PM with guts would do what Reagan did to recalcitrant air traffic controllers.
    I am sure there is some ridiculous method confected to circumvent a non teacher, non exam “education” but doesn’t that rather add to the ludicrous and dangerous situation we have been put in?
    The “Long March” has WON because good men did nothing to stop it!

    And STILL they do nothing. Is taking no action consent?

  33. Original Chris
    Posted June 28, 2020 at 9:23 am | Permalink

    More detail on the infiltration of the US university system by the Chinese e.g. recent charges in Harvard case. Worth reading the last para below simply because it makes clear the priorities of the Trump administration in protecting the USA from espionage. It seems our government is not at all bothered, and is actually inviting the Chinese in to so many key sensitive areas of our country/economy. Boris really does not seem to much awareness.
    Department of Justice Office of Public Affairs Tuesday, January 28, 2020

    “Harvard University Professor and Two Chinese Nationals Charged in Three Separate China Related Cases
    The Department of Justice announced today that the Chair of Harvard University’s Chemistry and Chemical Biology Department and two Chinese nationals have been charged in connection with aiding the People’s Republic of China.
    Dr. Charles Lieber, 60, Chair of the Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology at Harvard University, was arrested this morning and charged by criminal complaint with one count of making a materially false, fictitious and fraudulent statement. Lieber will appear this afternoon before Magistrate Judge Marianne B. Bowler in federal court in Boston, Massachusetts….

    These case are part of the Department of Justice’s China Initiative, which reflects the strategic priority of countering Chinese national security threats and reinforces the President’s overall national security strategy. In addition to identifying and prosecuting those engaged in trade secret theft, hacking and economic espionage, the initiative will increase efforts to protect our critical infrastructure against external threats including foreign direct investment, supply chain threats and the foreign agents seeking to influence the American public and policymakers without proper registration.

  34. Newmania
    Posted June 28, 2020 at 9:43 am | Permalink

    Regarding being open to range of opinions why not set a better example ? Publish posts, like mine that articulate the views of the majority of the country, even when it is uncomfortable for you.
    The intolerant left and the far right are alike in being unable to hold a conversation without their fingers stuck in their ears , neither understand the English tradition of robust debate.

    • Edward2
      Posted June 28, 2020 at 9:50 pm | Permalink

      You really think you are a moderate centrist?

  35. John Downes
    Posted June 28, 2020 at 9:43 am | Permalink

    “Don’t go to university. Find an honest way of earning a living. Read widely. Collect books.”

    Sound advice from Neil Oliver.

  36. Iago
    Posted June 28, 2020 at 9:49 am | Permalink

    Is the notion of firing Sedwill to take attention away from the present caving to and remaining in practice in the EU? ‘He was fired into his index-linked future.’ What an awful end to one’s career!

    • rose
      Posted June 28, 2020 at 11:09 pm | Permalink

      Or is it over Huawei? Normally one would have expected the National Security Adviser to have overruled Sedwill on Huawei and all the rest of his overweening Chinese adventures, but the National Security Adviser WAS Sedwill.

      The Media are telling us he is being briefed against over the Wuhan virus in exactly the same way they do with the Scientists. It is an old trick of theirs, telling us the PM is briefing against someone, in order to undermine the PM.

  37. JimS
    Posted June 28, 2020 at 9:49 am | Permalink

    When I was of an age to go to university only 100 pupils in 1000 made it to university, of them only 3 received a ‘first’.

    Now around 500 pupils in 1000 get to ‘uni’ and of them 230 receive a ‘first’ at some institutions.


    • Fred H
      Posted June 28, 2020 at 4:02 pm | Permalink

      how many end up serving in McD?

    • Lynn Atkinson
      Posted June 28, 2020 at 7:12 pm | Permalink

      I have an acquaintance who went to a pubic school and left without a single O level, but she now has a PhD, you get state aid to PhD level, and there are way and means of obtaining the degree – no exams of course.

      • hefner
        Posted July 2, 2020 at 8:07 am | Permalink

        That’s one of the most ridiculous statements you ever made, and I give you that, you are a very energetic and successful provider of ridiculous statements. TheOpenUniversity indeed offers some MA, MSc, PhD programs to non-graduate people and to mature students. But the OU asks one to provide an initial statement why one would want to go on with such a program and actually checks on your claims. The state aid is only ‘distributed’ to people justifying a low level of resources. The courses can be extremely demanding and studying on one’s own without too many contacts with other ‘students’ can be very tough if one does not have a strong personality to organise oneself and carry out the work from several months to several years.

        If if was so ‘easy’ for your acquaintance I guess you must have followed them in their endeavour and got an equivalent degree for yourself. Haven’t you?

  38. acorn
    Posted June 28, 2020 at 9:51 am | Permalink

    It all went badly wrong with the Further and Higher Education Act 1992, where all tertiary education establishments were turned into mickey mouse “new” Universities; vocational education and training was relegated to being only suitable the thickies on the Council Estates. Nowadays,every family has to be able to say their sons and daughters are at University. They won’t volunteer the fact that they are apprentice plumbers or hairdressers.

    Countries that adopted and adapted the German “Dual Vocational Training System” are the ones that today manufacture and export high tech machinery to the rest of the world; and, make sure they never go short of skilled citizens. The system even manages to adapt to rapidly changing technologies.

    The UK is a classic case of how not to run a secondary and tertiary education system. But it is typical of how UK governments perpetuate failure. There have been sixteen Secretaries of State, all of whom have “initiatives” to make their mark; and six major reforms of the Education Department, since the 1992 Act.

    • Robert Mcdonald
      Posted June 28, 2020 at 4:06 pm | Permalink

      There you have touched on the major problem with our further education system precisely. I have met many very capable and intelligent academically unqualified people who would have both benefited from and been beneficial to our society by having been given the chance of learning a trade. Blair’s mantra of education, education, education meant a university degree on even the most spurious subject was encouraged and supported. Some people just don’t take to academia, some just milk it. It’s a massive failure of our education system.

      • ukretired123
        Posted June 29, 2020 at 9:09 am | Permalink

        Spot on!

    • a-tracy
      Posted June 28, 2020 at 8:22 pm | Permalink

      ‘Nowadays,every family has to say their sons and daughters are at University’

      How many families outside of your social group do you actually know acorn? I know plenty of families proud of their sons and daughters achievements outside of university and are now plumbers and hairdressers that are well on their way to buying their own homes before they’re 25 because they’ve worked hard for seven years.

      I’ve only ever seen people on this board looking down on people without degrees calling them for this because they may have voted leave.

      • ukretired123
        Posted June 29, 2020 at 9:11 am | Permalink

        Always respect the achievers!

  39. glen cullen
    Posted June 28, 2020 at 10:09 am | Permalink

    A good summary Sir John, however you have forgotten one important point….universities are private businesses but given status and funded by government as companies with special exemptions. Nobody actually knows who owns them ?

    Make no mistake they are a private company like any other limited company. They maximise their revenue by stacking their products high (number of students and courses) and increase expenses (staff wages) and introduce monopoly, cartel and cronyism as a model of business (PHDs & Professorships to all)

    We the taxpayer fully fund our higher education sector and universities but we don’t management them

    Start again with a clean piece of paper

    • a-tracy
      Posted June 28, 2020 at 8:27 pm | Permalink

      If they were truly private businesses they’d have to provide facts to their prospective students on for example the number of graduates a) working within two years of leaving in the field of their degree and b) how many years after they graduate the previous graduates start to regularly pay back their student loan to at least cover the interest payment?

  40. Cuibono
    Posted June 28, 2020 at 10:18 am | Permalink

    Universities can never return to being independent institutions dedicated to rigorous thinking, tolerant exploration of a range of viewpoints, and fearless enquiry until they expunge the wokery exhibited by their academics and administrators. This will not be achieved by appointing ex-editors of left wing newspapers as college Principals.

  41. Amanda
    Posted June 28, 2020 at 10:36 am | Permalink

    The utterly dreadful state of some of our Universities, including those at the top, is exemplified by the very different treatment of academics and others with different views. A diversity of opinion and open debate, the core of enlightenment thinking, is obviously not valued – conformity to ideological thinking is rewarded.

    Two recent examples; first the dreadful treatment of Amber Rudd by Oxford University. And, now the ‘tweets’ of a Cambridge academic which sail very close to the wind of the Equality Act 2010, but which have been defended by Cambridge University on the grounds of Free Speech – something they have not offered to other academics in the recent past who have not conformed to ideological thinking.

    Both these examples are shocking. The Government needs to quickly do whatever is necessary to create the context you describe. However, in the short term might I suggest that the law as it stands is applied equally. If we do not have equality in law, we do not have freedom in this country.

  42. Al
    Posted June 28, 2020 at 11:01 am | Permalink

    “not to release or open up research with defence or strategic network implications through a casual disregard for what is going on. ” – JR

    Fairly soon anyone wanting secrets will be able to get them anyway. If you’ve paid attention to the Graham-Blumenthal bill in the US, it effectively requires that every piece of encryption should have a backdoor that law enforcement can use if they get a court order ‘ to protect children’. The obvious problem being that once such a backdoor exists, those who aren’t law enforcement will use it. Industrial espionage, personal details, finance, tax information, insider trading, all become immediately accessible to anyone who wants to look.

    Effectively say goodbye to private research, online banking, and secure online trade.

  43. John E
    Posted June 28, 2020 at 11:02 am | Permalink

    Marie Antoinette: Let them eat cake
    Sir John Redwood : Let them live off their endowments.

  44. Barry
    Posted June 28, 2020 at 12:55 pm | Permalink

    “….dedicated to rigorous thinking, a tolerant exploration of a range of viewpoints, and fearless enquiry.”

    That would be a good start; they seem to be moving in the opposite direction. More rigour and fewer soft options would reduce the chasm that seems to be opening up between our universities, the MSM which they feed, and the general public.

  45. forthurst
    Posted June 28, 2020 at 1:29 pm | Permalink

    Jr is worried that the Chinese have been using our universities to steal our IP; however, the Chinese are not the only ones who have played this game; even if people have British nationality it does not mean their primary loyalty will be to this country once they are armed with special knowledge acquired at an English university. When clever English graduates set up spinoffs from their university research, they develop their ideas through research and development and form such companies as ARM Holdings. Then the Tory government agrees that such a company is not vital to our ‘national security’ (ie it is not about killing brown people) and allow the foreign banks that have a ring side seat in the City to predate on our IP in order to increase their bonuses.

    The Arts graduates who run politics and the civil service in this country need to remember that science and technology turned this once ordinary country into a world power at one time and that it was largely through their failures that that is no longer true. That is why government needs to take a holist view of nurturing and protecting our IP and industrial base and ensure that legalised (by them) foreign theft of our companies and technologies ends.

    It is time to take a radical look at tertiary education, to recognise it exists primarily to train British people to be able to add value in their future careers: this means that the overwhelming majority of education should be STEM as it was before the major post war expansions of tertiary education. Politicians and the civil service talk about science as something outside themselves which is why they have failed totally to deal with Covid-19 in an optimal fashion. They had a very simply project, conceptually, which was to stop Covid-19 arriving in this country but if it did, close down the ensuing clusters as expeditiously as possible; it is very clear that no such project ever existed but rather piecemeal initiatives whilst blathering about following the ‘science’. We need more scientific thinking at every level and less of the irrationality that it overwhelming our nation and will destroy it, not least, that we need immigration: did we need it to become a world power?

  46. Lynn Atkinson
    Posted June 28, 2020 at 2:27 pm | Permalink

    Off topic but critical. A scholar like Boris should know that the emergency CV19 legislation contradicts a number of our Constitutional Statutes. It did not explicitly repeal those Constitutional Statutes in whole or in part where there is a contradiction. Therefore the Emergency Legislation is not legally enacted.
    Best thing would be for Boris to repeal the disgusting legislation forthwith, and we will forget the whole episode.
    Please confirm Sir John, when this will happen? You see the police etc are all acting illegally in constraining the citizens of this country. And we have just about had enough. We have freedoms enshrined in our Constitutional Law, the highest level of law that trumps all others.

    • David Brown
      Posted June 28, 2020 at 4:10 pm | Permalink

      I question if the families of all those thousands who have lost their lives to Covid 19 and those 10x of thousands who have recovered from Covid 19 feel the same way.
      My guess is a big majority in Parliament want to keep people safe and if this means changing Constitutional Statutes then simply change it.
      Peoples lives are far more important than red tape and money, to hell with freedom.
      You are in a big minority on this topic.

      • Mark B
        Posted June 29, 2020 at 5:00 am | Permalink

        People who are prepared to lose their freedom to gain a little security deserve neither.

      • Lynn Atkinson
        Posted June 29, 2020 at 8:34 am | Permalink

        But they did not repeal Magna Carta. So their Statute law is unlawful and can be ignored.
        All those who have been bankrupted and lost their education can sue. In fact if we have stopped sunbathing (best defence against CV19) we can sue.

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted June 28, 2020 at 5:50 pm | Permalink

      Parliament is supreme. All that the Acts need do is to say “The Bill Of Rights 1689 notwithstanding” or even just “other law…”

      If they required super majorities etc. to overturn, then the UK would perhaps have by modern standards a real constitution.

      They do not.

      The UK is only ever one Act of Parliament away from tyranny.

      • Anonymous
        Posted June 28, 2020 at 10:17 pm | Permalink


        Tell it to the people who delivered CV19.

    • glen cullen
      Posted June 28, 2020 at 9:54 pm | Permalink

      The law (SI) states that it will be reviewe every 3 weeks….I haven’t seen any review published anywhere

      If anybody has seen any one of these reviews please point me in its direction

  47. Anonymous
    Posted June 28, 2020 at 2:31 pm | Permalink

    Many university courses are ponzi schemes. The people at the top of the pyramid are the lecturers – few of the rest get their money back and often the taxpayer foots the bill.

    On top of this young people get three years of almost compulsory indoctrination, meddlers are created for the Human Rights industry hampering businesses with all sorts of PC madness.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted June 28, 2020 at 5:37 pm | Permalink

      +1 we have the Human Rights Industry, the Health and Safety one, the climate alarmist one, the renewable energy one and the many littigation rackets…..

      I often wonder how many jobs are parasitic and/or totally pointless and negative to the economy. Perhaps as high as 50% much of insurance, pensions and the finance industry is a racket too. Often you get the impression that there are more regulators and regulations than there are people and businesses to regulate.

      • Anonymous
        Posted June 28, 2020 at 9:35 pm | Permalink



      • glen cullen
        Posted June 28, 2020 at 9:55 pm | Permalink

        concur with your statement

  48. Will in Hampshire
    Posted June 28, 2020 at 3:38 pm | Permalink

    I think we can all agree that there are too many foreign students. The problem is that we have so many universities. Foreign students are needed to pay much of the costs. Better I think for the government to lead a consolidation of the sector. Let’s have fewer universities with fuller endowments to make them sustainable. And let’s set the bar much higher for the smaller number of foreign students required (and let’s send them back home when they’ve finished studying).

  49. DavidJ
    Posted June 28, 2020 at 4:18 pm | Permalink

    No university place should go to a foreign applicant if it results in a suitable qualified native Brit being denied a place. Obviously we need a clear and practical definition of “native Brit” which excludes those whose interests are opposed to our own.

    Posted June 28, 2020 at 5:47 pm | Permalink

    It’s very frightening not enlightening, even more so when one considers we’ve had a so called Conservative government since 2010. If this level of Marxist infection can happen under an Anti-Marxist party like the Tories how far will they take this agenda if a pro-Marxist party like Labour achieves power

    The future is very dark for this nation if these extremists are not purged from our politics and our institutions

    • glen cullen
      Posted June 28, 2020 at 9:44 pm | Permalink

      I haven’t seen any evidence that this Tory Party is anti-marxist

    • Anonymous
      Posted June 28, 2020 at 10:19 pm | Permalink

      I think they may have pushed a bit too hard too early 🙂 (as usual)

      It’s now obvious to all in my circles.

  51. Original Richard
    Posted June 28, 2020 at 9:02 pm | Permalink

    “At last Universities UK is talking about the dangers of Chinese influence.”

    This is not a surprise for those of us who remember the 5 traitors Burgess, Maclean, Blunt, Cairncross and Philby – known as the Cambridge Spy Ring – who were a group of marxist spies recruited at Cambridge University and who passed information to the Soviet Union from the 1930s until at least into the early 1950s.

    • Original Chris
      Posted June 29, 2020 at 8:05 pm | Permalink

      Yes indeed, OR. I tried to post a comment about Chinese infiltration of USA universities, plus a link to the DOJ website showing the crimes committed and charges being levelled by the US government, but Sir John disallowed it. Why? Quite extraordinary.

  52. Caterpillar
    Posted June 28, 2020 at 9:42 pm | Permalink

    Short Version (longer version available).

    (i) Literacy and numeracy at school age are insufficient. This correlates with (home / contact group) culture. Schools can only take part of the blame.
    (ii) Quantitative social science in HEIs needs to grow so that cold hard data allows escape from worse case thinking and safe spaces.
    (iii) Social sciences are much harder than STEM at u/g due to the normative discussions but ‘courage’ needs to be encouraged to tackle the intellectually and emotionally difficult texts.
    (iv) The wider public and Govt need to understand that PhDs are no longer cutting edge. PhDs are merely a confirmation of ‘professional research’ practice.
    (v) The demand for research activity for all academics displaces the scholarly endeavour and challenging scholarly interactions with students, particularly in the social sciences.
    (vi) Changes in participation in HEIs across ethnicities it heterogeneous. The consequences of this need to be mined.
    (vii) Participation of international students on u/g courses should showpiece a democratic country that is “dedicated to rigorous thinking, a tolerant exploration of a range of viewpoints, and fearless enquiry”. There is little risk to IPR at u/g.
    (viii) HEIs have been wrong to discount knowledge.

  53. Anonymous
    Posted June 28, 2020 at 10:01 pm | Permalink

    I don’t know anyone who has died of CV19 but I know of one person who has died of lockdown.

    A person awaiting stent surgery but denied of it aged 55.

    Gone. A drive-by funeral undertaken.

    I’m sure many of your readers will report similar.

  54. Anonymous
    Posted June 28, 2020 at 10:14 pm | Permalink

    I’m gifted in that I’m ex services and know how to work out. I have a garage gym and a chin-up bar and plenty of hills to sprint up with a pack on my back.

    People are desperate to get to the gyms.

    We know full well that CV19 targets the very old and the very unfit.

    Get them open. Cease this pussyfication of our nation.

    (Andy, Newmania and Martin in Cardiff would not understand what I’m saying in a million years)x

    • Anonymous
      Posted June 28, 2020 at 10:15 pm | Permalink

      PS, The Russians and Chinese are watching.

  55. rose
    Posted June 28, 2020 at 10:59 pm | Permalink

    Very timely. And I see Mr Gove has been reading “We Don’t Believe You”.

  56. Mark
    Posted June 28, 2020 at 11:00 pm | Permalink

    There seems to be a high degree of agreement about this – the commentariat can award themselves Firsts!. I have been pointing out the folly of educating Chinese students to compete with us for many years – their virtue was that they do go home at the end of their courses, unlike those who were using sham degrees as a route for immigration.

    Abandonment of our institutions to Marxist thought is a major problem. I see Michael Gove spoke regretting the lack of technical expertise in the Civil Service that is one consequence. Perhaps if they really hired some people who were not tainted by this with real technical expertise we might avoid the folly of zero carbon policy. It seems the Irish may be about to run the experiment for us. I calculate their new government programme calls for roughly halving their standard of living by 2030.

    Meanwhile the latest map of the virus puts the size of the outbreak in Leicester into perspective. Being a large city, it merits a cautionary yellow, not a warning pink or red.

  57. Iain Gill
    Posted June 29, 2020 at 4:49 am | Permalink

    One of our richest universities is in that position because they were given a lot of land by the local councils, expecting they would use it to build more university buildings, but in fact the university sold the land and invested the money.

    Dom Cummings idea for a long time has been to turn the country into the world’s university, I think you need to read what he has said on that.

    Our national approach over many decades of constraining places for locals into courses like medicine, causing a predictable shortage of skills, and then using that shortage as an excuse to import large numbers of foreigners into that line of work… Is evil social manipulation by the political class. Stop artificially constraining training places for locals.

    So these ideas need more work.

  58. Ian
    Posted June 29, 2020 at 6:30 am | Permalink

    Very well said LY NN
    Yes please. J R

    There is so much we all agree with today, I was un aware that Boris has atlast come to his senses , has he really stopped the Chinese on Hinckley Point and HS2. .?

    What a Damn shower this Government is , it is the product of our education and a slave to The BBC
    At the moment there is nothing to chose between any of the parties, they only know Socialism. They have never thought of anything, no Common sense , and boy wonder, the new chancellor favours more business with the Chinese ? Thank God for our Back Benchers

  59. Mike Wilson
    Posted June 29, 2020 at 5:18 pm | Permalink

    … where our educational excellence …

    Now that made me laugh out loud.

  • About John Redwood

    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, and graduated from Magdalen College Oxford. He is a Distinguished fellow of All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has set up an investment management business, was both executive and non executive chairman of a quoted industrial PLC, and chaired a manufacturing company with factories in Birmingham, Chicago, India and China. He is the MP for Wokingham, first elected in 1987.

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