It's a long time since I worked in England, but I was delighted to read John Beddington's remark that "universities in the UK are justly proud of their independence from government" ("Long-overdue policy points", 22 October). Does this mean the Government has withdrawn its many rules and regulations affecting academics and administrators in higher education? No caps on student numbers or fees? No checking of overseas student attendance with the immigration authorities? No prior justification of the economic returns on research grants? How on earth do university staff spend their time now that they are free from the Government?
Edward Reid-Smith, Wagga Wagga, Australia.