Thursday, 1 December 2011

School for Scandal

The London School of Economics and Political Science has always been an institution that links more widely with governments and political elites worldwide than do many universities.  Economics and political science, too,  attract more contention than most fields of study - we all have  views and experience of LSE's central concerns for they are the central concerns of all our lives.  It is to the credit of the School that until the onset of the mass corruption engendered by New Labour governance it had kept clean hands and a clear head in much of what it did and is.  It might have been disliked, contested, accused of disruptive, even revolutionary tendencies (quite wrongly, this last, but truth-telling is often confused with  subversion) but it maintained its reputation for scholarship and research, and for the independence and distance that must be maintained by any university worthy of the name.

Lord Woolf's report on  his Inquiry into the School's relations with the recently overthrown Libyan regime and its dictator ends all that.  Couched in the careful clarity and understatement of inquiryspeak it  illuminates a hinterland of collapsed political and administrative standards,  moral standards even, that typified New Labour's Third Way and its exponents and practitioners.


Elby the Beserk said...

It will take a very long time to extirpate the New Labour placemen and women (well, you really can't write "placepersons", can you? Even with Harman breathing down your neck) inserted at all levels of the bureaucracy and academia. I think a taste of their own medicine is required - a Stalinist style purge, and our own Lubyanka for them.

gyg3s said...

At the time, I thought that Robin Cook's 'ethical foreign policy' should have extended to the eligibility for education provision of people from dubious backgrounds.

In other words, if your parents are propping up some oppressive regime should you be allowed to attend a Western University?

Nick Drew said...


Corruption with a capital C

as Woolf says, the academics are way, way behind on basic governance, and fell at the first hurdle

we know it of old: everyone (bankers, unions, MPs ...) will do it if they think they can get away with it

there must be an ethos, and failure to institutionalise a good ethos is a capital failure at the top

there are no bad soldiers (or, equally, there are no good soldiers either), only bad / good officers

hatfield girl said...

The more you look about the worse it gets ND. Gadaffi's supervisor (who admitted she knew little of what he was supposed to be writing about) is a leading light of the Centre for Climate Change Economics and Policy (or whatever its full garbage title may be) at LSE. She's an American, just as is:

Edward McClennen (prime mover in getting Gadaffi into LSE by hook or by crook)
Professor of Philosophy

'Research and Teaching Interests

Ned McClennen has focused on foundational issues in decision and game theory, and on the application of these theories to issues in social and political philosophy, public policy, political economy, moral theory, and practical reason. At the level of foundations, his book, Rationality and Dynamic Choice (Cambridge University Press, 1990) is a critique of the various axiomatic constructions of expected-utility theory, and in a series of parallel articles he has similarly critiqued the arguments that are supposed to underpin the theory of games. At the level of applications, he has written extensively and regularly taught courses on both historical and contemporary contractarian approaches to moral, social and political principles, including the works of Gauthier, Rawls and Dworkin. He is presently completing a book that explores what would qualify as a fully rational society.'

We all know about Held, Desai etc. but I hadn't got a grip on this pair.

hatfield girl said...

These were instigators not inserts, I think, Elby.

hatfield girl said...

Dubious background hardly covers incapacity g. Why was he admitted at all - he was incapable as various Departments pointed out.

Elby the Beserk said...


Quite possibly - but the problem remains the same.