How was '05 for ...

December 23, 2005

... Richard Evans professor of modern history, Cambridge

What did you think of government policy? Winning the General Election was the best thing the Government did. It guaranteed the introduction of top-up fees, a progressive tax in line with sound socialist principles. Nobody who has criticised top-up fees has come up with a fair or practicable alternative way of injecting fresh funds into higher education. Had Labour lost the election, top-up fees would not have been introduced and higher education would be in an even worse financial plight than it is today.

Personal highlight: The success of the masters degree in modern European history, which I set up at Cambridge two years ago. Wonderful students from Britain, the US, Germany, Denmark and other countries all producing brilliant work, all hugely stimulating to teach.

Lowlight: My resignation from the Association of University Teachers after more than 30 years as a member. The union's opposition to top-up fees, together with its myopic hostility to the peer-reviewed research assessment exercise, which has been hugely beneficial in directing funding towards the best research, were too much for me to stomach.

Biggest challenge for 2006? Completing the third volume of my trilogy on Nazi Germany, to be called The Third Reich at War. I haven't written a word of it since the beginning of October, so I've a lot of catching up to do.

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