Devil’s in the REF

April 7, 2016

The language of the “philosophy of education” that Alis Oancea talks about is all very well (“Challenging the grudging consensus behind the REF”, 25 March), but I submit that the continual surrender of moral and intellectual territory to the research excellence framework has created a situation in which people are appointed to unadvertised posts, postgraduates are given one- or two-year contracts, and the teaching of Sanskrit is regarded as a dangerous and expensive luxury.

The REF publishes no accounts: it is a self-promoting oligarchy. The Arts and Humanities Research Council recently decided to abandon any attempt to preserve the results of its distribution of gravy, and pulled the plug on almost every funded editorial project, most of which remain unfinished. To pretend, in these circumstances, that all is for the best, and to clothe that pretence in Eurobabble, is to join the devil’s party. I suggest that collaboration with the enemy, even if it saves your children, is always wrong, and that in a public sphere, to conceal the truth for the greater good is Jesuitical and worthy of the standards of the CIA.

Charles Hedges

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