Posted by: Witch Doctor | May 13, 2009

Who will cut the strings?


It is always worth keeping an eye on the top right corner of  Dr Grumble’s blog. This is a feed of some of his reading.

And while you’re at it, read this post. It’s good for a laugh.

Anyway, Dr Grumble is reading George Monbiot today.

The article is called “Captive Knowledge.” The key message is short and sharp.

“The funding for academic research has been taken over by business.”

He asks:

“Why is the Medical Research Council run by an arms manufacturer?

“Why is the Natural Environment Research council run by the head of a construction company?

“Why is the chairman of a real estate firm in charge of higher education funding for England?

George Monbiot then gives his answer to these questions.

“Because our universities are being turned by the government into corporate research departments. No longer may they pursue knowledge for its own sake: now the highest ambition to which they must aspire is finding better ways to make money.”

And he goes on:

“At the end of the month, unremarked by the media, a quiet intellectual revolution took place.”

Yes. The silence of the media was loud.

Funny that.

It is unlikely the media professionals didn’t know about this end stage creep. And it is unlikely the important consequences were not understood by them.

Even this old witch managed to pick up on it.

But then, I suppose, since she started wondering about the reasons why MMC turned into a rogue form, The Witch Doctor has been waiting for this news breaking. Especially after she read The Leitch Report.

God help you if you suffer from a condition so rare that research into it could never bring in a commercially viable income.


This is, of course, unrelated to the current recession. This was planned long before the recession. It seems to The Witch Doctor that this government will use the recession opportunistically to justify anything they do that may seem unsavoury to voters.

Many years ago, The Witch Doctor remarked to colleagues that the day would come when it would be necessary to buy yourself into a permanent university post: you would need money in the from of a substantial grant. This would be tagged on to your name in invisible ink after the letters indicating the qualifications you have earned.

The sum of a £ sign followed by six figures would be most acceptable.

“In fact a £ sign followed by six figures or even more may be all that is required. The other information such as MB ChB, MD, PhD, DSc etc would become an embellishment. It would be the grant money or the high likelihood of forthcoming grant money that would cut ice, “ The Witch Doctor said.

They laughed.

After all, witches are the most eccentric of beings.

Who is laughing now?

When you have to buy yourself into a university post, and funding essentially originates from commercial interests, it is a chicken and egg situation. “The Haldane Princlple” becomes irrelevant.

Indeed, the The Haldane Principle was interpreted in various ways over the years and in 1971 The Rothschild Report was published. This resulted in 25% of the funds of the Medical Research Council being transferred back to HMG. The government of the day, for whatever reason, could decide on what type of research was to be funded with this 25%.

Fair enough.


Now, in 2009, the figure is 100%.

End stage Creep, slowly, by stealth.

Game, set, and match to this government or rather those who pull the strings.

Wall Street and the London Stock Exchange are now in control of the academic brain.

And you didn’t really notice it happening. Did you?

Read all about it here.


And, you indolent Humankind, as you read it, will you pay particular attention to the bits about Lord Drayson, Sir John Chishom, and Lord Sainsbury!

And ask yourself this:

“Did I vote for these people to run the country?”

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