UK: Conservative MP requests names of academics teaching Brexit in UK universities

VulchR

macrumors 68020
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Jun 8, 2009
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A Conservative UK MP has requested from UK universities the names of academics who teach Brexit, the syllabi of the relevant courses, and copies of slide presentations used in the courses (link to BBC story, complete with the copy of the letter). What could possibly go wrong when a politician attempts to meddle with what is taught in universities?

I am beginning to believe that we are living in the age of the Unenlightenment.
 
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VulchR

macrumors 68020
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Jun 8, 2009
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Probably frustrated because a significant proportion of the population voted Brexit based on fake news and memes on Facebook. lol
And the negotiations aren't going well... Still, I have worked in UK university for 20+ years and I have never heard of a request like this before and so far as I can tell other UK academics also view this as unprecedented. I personally knew somebody who got blacklisted in the US during the McCarthy era, so news like this is unsettling at best.
 
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Scepticalscribe

macrumors Sandy Bridge
Jul 29, 2008
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And the negotiations aren't going well... Still, I have worked in UK university for 20+ years and I have never heard of a request like this before and so far as I can tell other UK academics also view this as unprecedented. I personally knew somebody who got blacklisted in the US during the McCarthy era, so news like this is unsettling at best.
Well, it is an unsettling insight into the mindset of some of the more evangelical and monstrously intolerant Brexiteers; anything which might serve to question their world view - evidence, critical analysis, economic decline - is viewed as an existential threat to be exterminated.

Honestly, some of these people would not have been out of place in some version of the Inquisition. So, there are no correct (And Onlie) thoughts to think?
 
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I'm prepared to give him the benefit of the doubt and hope he's just looking for experts who can help provide proper information to the Civil Service.

Oh, but wait a second. He's an arch-Brexiteer Tory!!!

Yeah, he's wanting to purge all dissent isn't he? That's the thing about Brexiteers. Miserable people who hate anyone who disagrees with them. That's why the pro-Brexit people in the Question Time audience are always red-in-the-face shouty people who point too much.
 
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sim667

macrumors 65816
Dec 7, 2010
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More Tory authoritarianism.

From the Government that has brought the psychoactive substances bill, an agenda to give powers of arrest to unscrupulous companies such as G4S, intrusion into the lives of welfare recipients, an agenda to ban encryption online, new laws regarding material that can be viewed online, etc etc.

Absolute scum.
 

VulchR

macrumors 68020
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I am sure he was just trying to create some sort of polemical point, but the truly scary things is asking for names of the academics involved. For what purpose? To blacklist them? To check if their names sound 'foreign'? To check against the political parties' membership list? Checking against a visa list? I just don't see a legitimate purpose for asking for the names, even at a level of political point-scoring. It's not that the MP's letter in itself is evidence of a totalitarian regime, but it is the direction things are going that worry me. As a mentor of mine once said, 'it's not f(x) that matters, it's d(x)'.
 

VulchR

macrumors 68020
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Jun 8, 2009
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Scotland
It just gets worse. There was a seminar in a Welsh university and apparently a conservative politician coudln't handle an honest discussion about Brexit, so he left. What is disturbing about this are comments made afterwards:

The issue was raised with Cardiff University's Vice-Chancellor, Colin Riordan, at the breakfast seminar meeting on Thursday morning.

Monmouth MP Mr Davies, sat at the front, intervened in what one described as a "pretty polite exchange of views" but others said was a "rant".

The Conservative MP defended his colleague's actions and argued that universities "shouldn't be promoting anti-Brexit views because they're publicly funded". [emphasis added]

Source: link
The stupidity of comments like these is twofold: First, making the universities align their teaching with whatever political party is in power smacks of the kind of nonsense that goes on in Russia and Turkey. Second, since the Lib Tories raised tuition fees, much of the universities income for teaching comes from students, not the government.

Being balanced and fair in a discussion about the evidence concerning any policy decision does not entail giving each side the same time or emphasis. If the vast weight of evidence falls against the adoption of a policy, then of course that policy is going to be criticised most the time by academics. It's not like we're the only ones who see the train wreck unfolding before our eyes - even business organisations are criticising how things are going.

Oh, and wages in the UK have declined in comparison to 2016 (source), but I suppose pointing out evidence like that constitutes 'anti-Brexit' bias. :mad: