A full blown feature in the Sunday Times about the OFFA debacle might have been the most interesting article of the weekend. True to Sunday Times style, it pushes every button for middle class parents fearful that nasty social engineers are going to deprive their child of their rightful place at an elite University. It’s title “Will this man stop your child going to a top university?”, sets the tone. The Sunday Telegraph massages their readers worst fear too, with “Private schools fear ‘social engineering’ in university admissions”

But no, a very bitchy review in the Observer by Peter Conrad of Stefan Collini’s book “What are Universities for?” pips it.

My favourite bit:

At one point Collini risks another rhetorical question. As he trudges around the quad, he wonders “what happened to youthful dreams of intellectual excitement and literary glory”. Since he gives no answer, let me do so for him. Youth passes, but if excitement expires it’s your own fault. As for literary glory, it’s not acquired by afternoons spent at “a meeting of the Cambridge University Press syndicate” or trips to London “to chair a meeting of the Modern Literature section of the British Academy”. What universities are emphatically not for is to subsidise the self-pity of those they employ.



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