The article “The middle-class academic elite are totally out of touch” (Opinion, 7 September) confuses cause and effect, appearing to blame “academia” for all society’s ills. Have academics in the social sciences (and other disciplines) railed against the failure of UK “democracy”? Of course they have. Have they criticised the ineptitude of the political class? The vicious iniquity of neoliberal ideology? The unjust cruelty of tax evasion and the destruction of the public good? The untrammelled greed of Thatcherite consumerism? Of course they have.
Have they condemned the marketisation of our universities, the insidiousness of league tables, the pressure to publish in top-ranked journals, the disproportionate salaries of university leaders, the destruction of the values that used to underpin our institutions, our teaching and our research? Of course they have.
What has led us to this grim financially driven market-dominated state of affairs? The answer is not us academics. It is government policy, dictated by narrow cabals of self-interested ideologues in positions of power. Academics are also victims in the creeping destruction of the public good and communitarian values. Change will come only when we reform our politics and deal with who uses and abuses power.
Where I would in part agree with Lisa Mckenzie is that too many of us academics are too passive. We should protest more loudly and more often, through every channel available. We are living through a right-wing coup without tanks. We should unite in opposition to what is happening and fight it tooth and nail.