It is not really done to foul your own nest, but maybe Ralf Dahrendorf felt - he was abroad and speaking German - he could get away with it. Last week, during a presentation on 100 years of social science at the Goethe University in Frankfurt, the 72-year-old Liberal Democrat peer let fly at Anthony Giddens, the director of the London School of Economics.
Since Lord Dahrendorf's decade as director, which ended in 1984, he said the LSE had declined. Once it had been a "noble emporium", now it is a "warehouse". As for scientific discipline, what the LSE now serves up is a "postmodern patchwork of social science". Under Professor Giddens, there is none of the necessary abstinence from expressing value judgements. The reason: he stands far too close to Tony Blair's new Labour.
Lord Dahrendorf, who remains the school's official historian, enjoys a tremendous reputation as a sociologist and commentator in Germany.