Universities: a Return to the Dark Side?

A few years ago I was involved in a silly controversy about Shakespeare. I was asked to review a book which claimed that the plays attributed to him could not have been written by him, but were actually written by Sir Henry Neville. An explicit premise of the argument was that the author of the […]

In Praise of Showing Off

By 1989 I had been teaching in universities for half a lifetime, twenty one years, arguably my entire time as an adult. I had no training in the job and I had never been faced with any formal assessment of my performance. Then, like the London buses of legend, forms of measurement of one’s performance […]

Worth a Punt?: An assessment of UK Sports Policy

(An edited version of this article appeared in The Political Quarterly, Vol. 89, Issue 2, 2018) In the course of studying international sports governance Alan Tomlinson and I became convinced that an important variable which must be considered in comparing organisations is the extent to which they are real as opposed to being a form […]

Ten Thoughts on Tourism

(This was written in 2005 after a post-retirement round-the-world tour. It was published on the Social Affairs Unit website and I am dragging it out of the archive a) because I still believe what it says and b) because it was the high end of the spectrum in terms of favourable comments.) I have just […]

Isola di Paradossi

The highlight of a month’s wandering round Europe this autumn was hearing Leo Nucci sing Rigoletto in the Teatro Massimo in Palermo. The duet with Gilda was so good it stopped the show: shouts of “Bravo” and also of a lot of comments which I didn’t catch. The whole scene was played again. I thought […]

The A-team Go Over the Wall

You do it once, you’ve done it once. You do it twice, you’ve got a tradition on your hands; things may be added to the tradition, but must not be subtracted. After last year’s excellent expedition to North West England with four granddaughters there had to be a sequel. And there was no doubt in […]

Why I Booed Gaetan Bong

I’m normally rather quiet and subdued at football matches and have rarely booed anyone, but when Brighton came to Turf Moor on the 28th of April I booed one of their fullbacks, Gaetan Bong, because he had reported the Burnley native and former Burnley player Jay Rodriguez for a remark made to him during a […]

On the Expansion of the Universities

Grade inflation is a universal human tendency. There are badges of esteem, which relate in complex ways to feelings of self-esteem, and the desire to acquire these is always present as is the pressure to make them available. Thus, for example, in societies in which there is a defined aristocracy the proportion of the population […]

At Last the Rising Sun

It took me to the age of seventy one to get to Japan. There had been projects and possibilities to go along the way, but all had fallen through and my major contacts with Japan had been translations of my work into Japanese and, much more interestingly, teaching dozens of Japanese students. So what was […]

A Fundraising Speech

(Please note that at the time of posting – March 2018 – this is the only item on this site not by me. It is by my son Mike and was delivered at a large fundraising dinner in Birmingham on October 28th 2017. The total amount raised was in excess of £140,000, the previous best […]

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