The right to say right things

June 7, 1996

The attack (Letters, THES, May 24) on David Marsland's new book and his accompanying article (THES, May 17) was all too predictable.

I have a simple question to put to one of his assailants, Marsland's colleague at Brunel, Simon Batterbury. If, instead of advocating capitalism, an academic from Brunel had written a book suggesting increased state welfare spending, would he (Batterbury) have written to The THES to distance himself from these views on the grounds that otherwise this would give a distorted impression of that institution's scrupulously "balanced teaching"? I think not.

There is something quite rotten with the state of the academic social sciences in this country. I am a mature student who is just finishing a degree in one of the social sciences at one of the "new universities" and for three years I have had to put up with lecturers such as Simon Batterbury: those who think that their teaching should encompass the full range of views from Marx all the way to Tony Blair. Even when conservative or classical liberal views are mentioned this is only done by way of ridicule and sneer.

Nigel Meek Bromley, Kent

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