I also often disagree violently with the politics of the Anonymous Economist (AE) especially when it comes to Iraq. Yesterday, as we are wont to do, we had a vigorous online debate about British higher education. This is not surprising since we both currently have a professional interest in the subject. At the end of that electronic correspondence the AE found him/herself in the awkward position of having found common ground with me (PG).

“…frankly I think they should invest their money first and foremost in hiring better staff (which requires better salaries).

…which requires the government to free the universities from the HEFCE “we-fund-your-teaching-on-the-basis-of-your-research” model and/or needs academics in the good universities to have the balls to go private. I couldn’t agree more with you about salaries, but they can’t be raised properly because even the premier league institutions are too addicted to their state handouts to make the move to true academic freedom that would allow them to afford to compete for talent properly.

Instead of paying their way by charging rich Brit brats what their lifestyle accessory degrees really cost, they supplement their income by ripping off foreign students. They’d rather be mediocre and dependent than join the global elite. Why? Because real competition scares them out of their talentless wits. Now that *is* very “British”. But, if you look at Premier League football you can see what a massive improvement is possible from liberating one of this country’s famous old institutions and paying the talent according to how it delivers to the customers.

I hate agreeing with you.
I hate it.

Not as much as I hate agreeing with George Bush.

that sooooooooooooooooo cheered me up.