Academics who receive research grants will no longer be allowed to ‘lobby’ the government for policy changes in their areas of research expertise under rules being introduced by the government from May this year. This will have the effect of silencing the bulk of academics experts if they happen to be critical of the government. If this rule had been in operation before most, if not all, of the posts in this blog could not be published. This represents a ‘soft’ version of a new authoritarianism. Democracy, under this trend, remains formally in place, but people putting forward alternative ideas to that of the dominant corporations are increasingly silenced. Indeed, arguably, in this sense British academics will often be less free even than Chinese academics. They may not be able to challenge the role of the Communist Party, but they can at least take part in public debates about policy options. Under these proposals, British academics will fear even to write letters to newspapers on their own expert policy areas.
Dave Toke’s Blog 21st March 2016 read more »