As British universities lurch from funding crisis to funding crisis, the jealous eyes of the academic establishment focus obsessively on the United States as the role model for future success. The assumption is that if UK universities charged ‘realistic’ fees, they would recreate themselves as ‘world class’ — or, at any rate, superior — institutions, like those in America.
But what is the truth about American universities? Are they really so much better than those in Britain? Are US students in general better educated? Does the US profit from the enormous sacrifice made each year by parents and students?
Some — perhaps 20 or 30 — American universities are better than all but a tiny handful of their British equivalents.
Naomi Wolf has eased the burden of silence she has been carrying for over 20 years. In New York magazine she reveals that one evening after a dinner party, when she was a Yale undergraduate, Professor Harold Bloom of Yale placed his ‘heavy, boneless hand hot’ on her thigh. After she repelled the advance, if it was an advance, Mr Bloom took his bottle, proclaimed his innocence — or so I take it — by saying ‘You are a deeply troubled girl’, and left.
Welcome to CNN’s Presidential Election Night Special. We’re just getting the results in live from the 51st State. We can confirm that the Great State of Great Britain has voted overwhelmingly for Senator John Kerry. This is a big blow for George W. Bush, and a humiliation for Governor Blair, who viewers will remember strongly backed the President during the campaign.’
If Britain could vote this November, no one doubts what the result would be.