Merge quietly

October 25, 2002

Your leader on the Imperial/University College London merger ("Ministers could find full cost fees too hot to handle", THES , October 18) makes much of the challenge to Oxbridge. This may be a problem for the mergerees. Anyone who has any sense has a great deal of respect for Oxbridge and Cambridge. But experience shows that a significant minority of Oxbridge people actively resents competition.

The civil service, which calls the shots and is good at sabotaging bright ideas, is still a bit of an Oxbridge enclave. So maybe Sir Richard Sykes and Sir Derek Roberts should keep quiet about Oxbridge until the deal goes through.

E. C. Shaw
London E7

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