It is to be hoped that those in government take a wider view than the new higher education minister. The picture she has of university life is dated and insulting.
My experience as an engineering student in the 1980s bore no relation to hers. As for being "forced" to work, this should not have been necessary. University education was more a privilege then than it is now.
But her view does explain why we take such a bashing in higher education. People must believe that we have an easy life far from the "real" world. Sorry to disappoint you, minister, but we work long hours and do our best to deliver the highest quality in research and teaching.
Mistakes get made in all institutions because staff are asked to deliver too much with only meagre resources at their disposal. Please address this problem rather than discuss a long-gone idealistic age.
School of engineering
University of Warwick