What exactly are universities for? A slew of recent news stories has revealed no clear agreement on where exactly the likes of Oxford, Cambridge, the rest of the Russell Group, and the other higher education facilities fit into British life.
The ongoing squabbles over who should pay university tuition fees; trigger warnings on university courses; and the poshness of Oxbridge show that there are divided interests – including disagreements on what outcomes we are striving for.
I must admit upfront a sneaking sympathy for George ‘Gideon’ Osborne, the former British chancellor, Robin to prime minister David Cameron’s Batman, and latterly editor of the London Evening Standard.
If Boy George sought popularity when deciding to vie for public office, he has not achieved it. When you ask progs about him he reliably draws sneers of disgust, much like Cameron or – another member of their cohort – education secretary Michael Gove. Or indeed any leading Tory.
Following events in Charlottesville, Virginia – discussed in our latest podcast – there is naturally a great deal of discussion on the limits of free speech.
The latest call from Graun towers to topple the column of Horatio Nelson – he of Trafalgar fame – validates fears that there is no obvious limiting principle to striking down monuments to our morally grey (or indeed, morally black) forebears.
A year ago I predicted that Britain was almost certain to trigger Article 50 and begin exiting the EU, after a narrow but clear victory for “leave” in the referendum.
So it has proved. In March prime minister Theresa May sent a letter to Brussels indicating that Britain will leave the bloc after 40 years’ membership. Legal commentary saw it as inevitable that once the article was invoked Britain would make for the exit, albeit with some resistance.
Now, who knows?