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Balfour’s Ghost

Peter Clarke, 20 March 1997

Why Vote Conservative? 
by David Willetts.
Penguin, 108 pp., £3.99, February 1997, 0 14 026304 7
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Why Vote Liberal Democrat? 
by William Wallace.
Penguin, 120 pp., £3.99, February 1997, 0 14 026303 9
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Why Vote Labour? 
by Tony Wright.
Penguin, 111 pp., £3.99, February 1997, 0 14 026397 7
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... worth reading for a justification of his party that rises above ritual partisan point-scoring. If David Willetts was not already the best-known of the three when the books were commissioned, he certainly is now. Allegedly known as ‘Two Brains’ to his friends (or alleged friends, perhaps), Mr Willetts last year ...

Short Cuts

Thomas Jones: Radio 3’s ‘X Factor’, 14 July 2011

... In their foreword to the predictably dismaying Higher Education White Paper, Vince Cable and David Willetts deploy the standard language of the marketplace: the Higher Education Funding Council for England will take on ‘a major new role as a consumer champion’; ‘universities will be under competitive pressure to provide better quality and lower cost’ because they’ll be ‘responding to student demand ...

Short Cuts

Jenny Diski: The Falklands, 8 March 2012

... response. Instead of putting Penn in the Tower, the British have sent a prince in a helicopter, David Willetts and a nuclear submarine to the South Atlantic to show the Argentinians who they’re messing with. Not unreasonably, their foreign minister has made an official complaint to the UN about the submarine – William and ...

Short Cuts

Howard Hotson: For-Profit Universities, 2 June 2011

... In July last year, two months after assuming his duties as minister for universities and science, David Willetts granted university status to BPP University College of Professional Studies, making it only the second private institution in England, after the University of Buckingham, to be given the power to award degrees ...

Short Cuts

Christopher Prendergast: Student Loans, 6 January 2011

... the higher earner pays less interest – the low or static earner will always pay more. Cable and David Willetts have made noises about preventing higher earners benefiting in this way, but there is no clarity, and certainly no decision, on what measures might be taken, and it’s pretty clear that any number (whether a minimum number of years during ...

Don’t Look to the Ivy League

Howard Hotson, 19 May 2011

... And with regard to standards, the American company that owns BPP University College – which David Willetts granted university status only last year – recently lost its appeal in the US Supreme Court after being found guilty of defrauding its shareholders and is under investigation by the US Higher Learning Commission for deceiving students about ...

After Browne

Iain Pears, 17 March 2011

... academics will have a strong financial incentive to become liars. Despite the doubts expressed by David Willetts, the minister for universities and science, the institutional momentum behind it has proven to be unstoppable: Hefce recently announced that the measure will go ahead unchanged. ‘Impact’ will account for 20 per cent of an academic’s ...

Cash Today

Andrew McGettigan: Who profits from student loans?, 5 March 2015

... been made clear, still less where the money will come from to pay for the £7 billion in tax cuts David Cameron airily promised in his speech to the Conservative Party Conference last October. When such pledges are discussed in the media, it is usually in terms of whether they are funded or unfunded – whether the numbers ‘add up’. Osborne’s Autumn ...

Corbyn in the Media

Paul Myerscough, 22 October 2015

... leader. Would he – could he? – perform the countless vital tasks that come naturally to David Cameron or Tony Blair: everything from how to comport yourself at the despatch box to the best way to climb out of a chauffeur-driven car, from how to use an autocue to knowing which pop band to choose on Desert Island Discs. If you don’t know which tie ...

Progressive, like the 1980s

John Gray: Farewell Welfare State, 21 October 2010

... Though few anticipated the agreement, it is not difficult to understand why David Cameron and Nick Clegg should have made a bargain to share power. By forming a coalition Cameron secured protection from his mutinous right wing, while Clegg became the pivotal player in British politics. What is more surprising is the degree of unity the government has so far exhibited ...

Good for Business

Ross McKibbin: The End of Research?, 25 February 2010

... If so, it will serve Labour right if it wins the next election and has to live with it. Meanwhile, David Willetts, the shadow minister for universities and skills, has said that the Conservatives will delay the REF ‘by up to two years to establish whether a sound and widely accepted measure of impact exists’. It is no accident that since 1979 there ...

Sold Out

Stefan Collini: The Costs of University Privatisation, 24 October 2013

Everything for Sale? The Marketisation of UK Higher Education 
by Roger Brown and Helen Carasso.
Routledge, 235 pp., £26.99, February 2013, 978 0 415 80980 1
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The Great University Gamble: Money, Markets and the Future of Higher Education 
by Andrew McGettigan.
Pluto, 215 pp., £16.99, April 2013, 978 0 7453 3293 2
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... providers, who in contrast will be nurtured into the new terrain’. On this matter at least, David Willetts, the minister responsible for higher education, has been clear: ‘The biggest lesson I have learned is that the most powerful driver of reform is to let new providers into the system.’ Note that word ‘reform’: the implication is that ...

Bloody Furious

William Davies: ‘Generation Left’, 20 February 2020

Generation Left 
by Keir Milburn.
Polity, 140 pp., £9.99, May 2019, 978 1 5095 3224 7
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... neoliberal phase, has been growing for many years. Ironically it was a Conservative politician, David Willetts, who – in his 2010 book The Pinch – first assembled the evidence that a generational land grab had occurred in the UK, at the expense of the boomers’ children and grandchildren. The boomers enjoyed a childhood and early adulthood of ...

Heir to Blair

Christopher Tayler: Among the New Tories, 26 April 2007

... being the buzzword for the shearing off of voter-unfriendly associations. Before David Cameron, or ‘DC’, as he’s known, took over in December 2005, Conservative strategists had noted anxiously that focus groups would turn against almost anything – even, or especially, tax cuts – as soon as they were told it was Tory ...

Browne’s Gamble

Stefan Collini: The Future of the Universities, 4 November 2010

Securing a Sustainable Future for Higher Education: An Independent Review of Higher Education Funding and Student Finance 
by Lord Browne et al.
62 pp., October 2010
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... of deferred repayments of an initial loan, calibrated according to income after university. But David Blunkett, the relevant minister at the time, decided that it should be imposed as an upfront charge, initially of £1000 per year. He also, in an equally ill-considered move, reduced maintenance grants. Most students felt worse off; most universities felt ...

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