Tuesday, 9 December 2008

Thatcherism Goes to College still quoted after 20 years

I was absolutely gob-smacked to find that my book, Thatcherism Goes to College, is still being quoted (let alone read) almost 20 years after it appeared, and by somebody only just out of college herself. An October 2008 article by Laurie Penny in still relatively cool leftie magazine Red Pepper quotes my book.

The function of a degree has perceptibly shifted from a rigorous course of academic and intellectual training to a necessary ticket into a certain class of ‘graduate’ professions – many of which would not have required a degree even ten years ago. As this shift has occurred, colleges, departments and university careers services have aggressively pursued a corporate agenda.

In 1989, Matthew Salusbury observed in Thatcherism Goes to College that ‘Bristol University’s history department was proud of the number of bankers and financial service personnel they had produced, using the fact to justify their continued existence. They would not have recognised the argument that a life in the stock market was as much a waste of a history degree as a lifetime’s unemployment.’ Two decades on...
Read the original Red Pepper article. The quote comes just after the 'Corporate agenda' sub-heading.

There's a surprising number of copies of Thatcherism... on Amazon, for up to £60. Email me if you want one new for £2 plus postage.

George Young MP (Con) is not such a big fan of the book, as is evidenced by this extract from Hansard, in which he fails to get very far with his proposal to make the taxpayer foot the bill for MPs' actions for libel and 'malicious falsehood'. If, as he claims, any 'costs were paid', I think my publisher would have told me about it. Curiously, his speech came years after the incident, at about the time I started coming into contact with Reclaim The Streets. What a strange coincidence.

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