Tails of the Unexpected

There is a strong sense of vocation in some professions, notably the law, medicine, teaching and the church. Others amount to a similar fundamental desire through a particular talent or propensity such as writers, chefs, musicians, sportsmen, designers or dancers. The decision to enter some professions does not usually demand a definitive aptitude or even, […]

BBC Trust

The BBC seems to be almost constantly under attack. When Labour was in power they were vicious in their comments surrounding the BBC’s coverage of the UK’s involvement in Iraq. The famous ‘sexed-up’ dossier story, which the Beeb covered in a very balanced way, especially considering it was true, brought Labour from behind its mask […]

National Admissions Policy

The current state of universities is intriguing. For the first time in around fifteen years a purely intellectual education for everyone is being aggressively questioned. Or at least it is in the UK. France and Germany are increasing state funding for young people to learn at the highest level and although there are difficulties, the […]

Orwell’s Clocks

George Orwell was inspired to use the library at Senate House, where I am Director, as the Ministry of Truth in his novel Nineteen eighty-four. His wife at the time was working in Senate House during WWII, as it had been commissioned by the government to provide accommodation for the Ministry of Information. On the […]


It is difficult to see the truth when it hides behind well-groomed intelligence. David Willetts, the UK’s minister for universities is the considerate, clever face of a government which either does know what it is doing, and if so should be honest about it, or doesn’t know what it is doing, and if so should […]

New Guillotine of the Masses

Ai Weiwei ‘A society lacking individual consciousness is truly gloomy and cold, and widespread abandonment will cause the very last green leaf to wither; it is capable of extinguishing the very last candle.’ Ai Weiwei Ai Weiwei is the most significant living Chinese artist. He is also one of the world’s most influential designers, architects […]

Trick Matches

Belfast is a city of unparalleled energy for one of its size. It is a capital city, the centre of the arts, higher education, business and industry for Northern Ireland. As a devolved country within the UK it is also the heart of a unique legal system and the economic engine for the region. It […]