Thursday, 16 February 2012

Powerless Prime Minister

With the imminent appointment of Les Ebdon as the new director of the Office for Fair Access I think it’s about time that someone had a word with David Cameron and reminded him that he’s supposed to be the leader of the Conservative party. I know I’m not alone in worrying that the Prime Minister is so in thrall to the idea of Coalition that he’s compromising his conservative values and alienating MPs and voters. If appointed, Prof Ebdon is likely to do serious and lasting damage to some of our best universities. He’s a defender of ridiculous Mickey Mouse degrees and has threatened “nuclear penalties” for universities which don’t meet their admissions targets.

In short, he’s prepared to sacrifice academic excellence for the sake of pointless targets and political correctness. Every bone in David Cameron’s body should be screaming out against this ridiculous and dangerous state of affairs, yet he’s said that he’s powerless to stop Vince Cable from making the appointment. It’s a sad situation when our Prime Minister feels himself to be powerless but, unfortunately, that seems to be the norm where the Liberal Democrats are concerned. We may be in a Coalition but that doesn’t mean having to cave in every time our partner throws a tantrum. Let’s not forget that the Liberal Democrats came out of the last election with an even smaller number of seats than they had previously. Public opinion is not with them and Mr Cameron would do well to remember that. He should show that he’s not afraid to rock the Coalition boat on this issue. By doing so he would assuage the doubts of many Conservatives about where the balance of power lies in the Government. He would also save our higher education system.

Remember – in the ‘90s we gave up good polytechnics for bad universities. Let’s not now give up good universities for the sake of left-wing nonsense.

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