Taxation is the Price of Civilisation

In the USA there are reports of so-called ‘tea-party’ protests, modelled on the famous ‘Boston Tea Party’ protests against taxation imposed by the British government on the (then) US colonies. But the US protesters (in reality the Republicans) rather the miss the point – the ‘Boston Tea Party’ was not a protest against taxation, but against ‘taxation without representation’, which is rather different. Continue reading

Universities and the Impact of the Recession

I recently attended a ‘professorial dinner’ at Manchester, the purpose of which was to discuss our future strategy. The main message at the start was – universities, after a decade of a relatively benign environment, face a decade or more of austerity. How are we placed to deal with this new reality and what should we do? Here’s my response. Continue reading

Zen and the Art of Cutting without Cutting

When is a cut in public spending not a cut – when you can disguise it as an “efficiency saving”.

The first big round of ‘fantasy efficiency savings’ took place before the 2005 general election when the Labour and Conservative parties competed via the Gershon and James reviews – the two aforementioned gentlemen being business-persons (in those days when business could do no wrong) who allegedly ‘reviewed’ the public sector and came up with an impressive set of ‘efficiency’ savings. Continue reading

Fair Access to the Professions – Not Yet

A new study commissioned by the British government shows that far from “fair access” improving within the high-status professions, people from lower social strata our now even less likely to make it into these jobs. This is despite the massive expansion in higher educational opportunities in recent decades. Continue reading