Inflating an age-old debate 4

May 5, 2006

It is pretty rich for Kenneth Minogue to argue that universities surrender their integrity by dependence on the state when he acknowledges that when they were subsidised by the University Grants Committee "scholarship, research and creativity flourished amid a certain amount of donnish indolence".

It is even richer to argue that state interference in higher education's mythical independence would be removed by enabling universities to become truly independent by privatising themselves.

Perhaps Minogue thinks that we all have such short memories or are still so indolent that we've forgotten that, as an economic adviser to Margaret Thatcher, he helped start us on this "Road to Privatisation" by selling off the nationalised industries to transnational corporations, a process now being extended to health and education by the neo-Thatcherites of new Labour.

Patrick Ainley Greenwich University

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