In the 1980s, my clever friends who had gone into the Civil Service used to complain about the press they got. There they were, young people working 15 hours a day, trying to improve the conditions in prisons (or whatever); and there was Thatcher saying they were a load of expensive lay-abouts, and that they were a waste of space. My friends always said that, however much they had good arguments against that, the Thatcher rhetoric still got you down. It made you want to change your job.
Well, it isn't all that different in UK Universities right now.Mr Willetts is telling us that we should all teach better. As if we were all letting down our students with poor teaching. We are, in other words, doing badly. Or so the coalition says. Really?