Our service is not soundbites

October 22, 1999

Charles Leadbeater is right that academics need to be responsive to the larger socio-political environment in which they play an increasing role.

But that does not mean that academics must simply supply soundbites to politicians' speeches. The challenge to Leadbeater, and the Labour government more generally, is to acknowledge the creative power of relatively plain-speaking academics who criticise their specific policies while granting their general aims. What Britain lacks today is publicly voiced learned disagreement.

Steve Fuller Professor of sociology University of Warwick

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