Minister's gangster wrap?

September 19, 2003

Alan Johnson, the new higher education minister, last week gave a unique insight into government decision-making.

Asked how he was going to help the poorest students facing annual tuition fees of up to £3,000, Mr Johnson told journalists at the Universities UK conference: "It's difficult, but we ought to put wet towels round our heads and really think hard."

In the absence of evidence that this is an accepted idiom, The Diary is perplexed. Perhaps the towel has a cooling effect on fried brains. Or maybe it simply deadens extraneous noise and distractions. Possibly ministers like to meet in steam rooms, in the manner of TV mobsters, to discuss business.

You've reached your article limit.

Register to continue

Registration is free and only takes a moment. Once registered you can read a total of 3 articles each month, plus:

  • Sign up for the editor's highlights
  • Receive World University Rankings news first
  • Get job alerts, shortlist jobs and save job searches
  • Participate in reader discussions and post comments
Register

Have your say

Log in or register to post comments

Most Commented

James Fryer illustration (27 July 2017)

It is not Luddism to be cautious about destroying an academic publishing industry that has served us well, says Marilyn Deegan

Jeffrey Beall, associate professor and librarian at the University of Colorado Denver

Creator of controversial predatory journals blacklist says some peers are failing to warn of dangers of disreputable publishers

Hand squeezing stress ball
Working 55 hours per week, the loss of research periods, slashed pensions, increased bureaucracy, tiny budgets and declining standards have finally forced Michael Edwards out
Kayaker and jet skiiers

Nazima Kadir’s social circle reveals a range of alternative careers for would-be scholars, and often with better rewards than academia

hole in ground

‘Drastic action’ required to fix multibillion-pound shortfall in Universities Superannuation Scheme, expert warns