Regular readers of one of subtext’s minor competitors, The Guardian, may have come across an article early on Tuesday morning about a letter sent by Tory whip Chris Heaton-Harris to University Vice-Chancellors demanding to know who was teaching students about Brexit, and what the content of their courses was as well as links to online lectures (http://tinyurl.com/yd7e5xqe). It is true that subtext’s coverage of VCs does not always consist of glowing praise, given pay differentials, inaction on pension theft, vanity building projects, and a litany of other charges. But it seems that at least one VC, Worcester top dog David Green, comes off as something of a hero in this tale, by more or less intimating that he intended to tell the MP to chuff off. Whether our VC had a similar response in mind has yet to be established – D floor has not yet responded to subtext’s request for a comment – though according to the Guardian (the local paper, that is, not the national one – keep up!) it was being treated under the University’s Freedom of Information procedures. This, of course, could amount to the same thing.
Meanwhile, back to Heaton-Harris’s shenanigans, around Tuesday lunchtime, by a report that Downing Street had issued a statement saying Heaton-Harris had been acting not as a Government whip, but in a personal capacity as an MP (http://tinyurl.com/ycdgf4vk). That man must have some interesting conversations with himself. In future, he might take the time to have a good chat with himself about who actually teaches at university, as his letter asked for details of ‘professors’ teaching in the area – presumably unaware of the fact that in the UK, professors mostly do what they can to avoid teaching, which is largely carried out by more junior staff. Or perhaps he thinks anyone who is not a professor can’t be taken seriously? Given the leave campaigners’ attitudes towards ‘experts’, we rather doubt the latter could be the case. Heaton-Harris has been the recipient of failed Tory leadership candidate Andrea Leadsom’s full support, so it can only be a matter of time before he is sacked.
A number of other newspapers have jumped on Heaton-Harris-bashing bandwagon since Tuesday, while some of their… less salubrious fellow publications have jumped to his defence, with hand-wringing articles mentioning ‘remainer universities’ and ‘fears students are being brainwashed by remain-supporting lecturers’. You’d almost think universities had some vested interest in EU membership, such as depending on millions pounds of EU project funding, partnerships with other European universities for inbound and outgoing exchange programmes, and being able to recruit thousands of highly qualified staff from other EU countries.