David Blackburn

Trouble with the big society

Trouble with the big society
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A gaggle of academics have written to the Observer to condemn the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) for accepting £100m from the government. The AHRC is conducting research into the big society, and the allegation is that the settlement was conditional, an allegation which is denied.  Doubtless the 69 signatories are dons of the tweedily conservative variety, but their objections perhaps explain why Cameron’s flagship policy is so mistrusted. They write:

‘When academic research is used to promote party political ideologies its quality and value decline. It also threatens democracy and the constitution. While academic work may be partly paid for out of public funds, this ought not to be the same thing as working for the government.’