Chris Heaton-Harris letter sent a chill down my spine, says university vice-chancellor David Green

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

A university vice-chancellor has revealed he felt "a chill down my spine" when he received a letter from Tory MP Chris Heaton-Harris.

The eurosceptic lawmaker has written a letter to all university vice-chancellors asking for information about the courses they provide involving European affairs "with particular reference to Brexit."

This has led to accusations of McCarthyism - a term which dates back to the anti-Communist witch hunts conducted in America during the 1960s - and of suppressing free speech.

David Green, of the University of Worcester, agreed that Heaton-Harris's approach amounted to McCarthyism, adding: "I have no doubt this was an attempt to abuse his position and get me to supply a list of names of people who were teaching things he didn't agree with."

Green continued by saying that the letter was "sinister" adding that when he wrote back to Heaton-Harris, he told him "if he's committed to freedom, which he now claims he is, you'll write back to me apologising."

However Julia queried her guest when he admitted he didn't know what his lecturers were teaching about Europe, and indeed had no wish to know.

Green suggested there was no need to scrutinise professors in this way, but Julia argued there was every chance professors were putting their views into their lectures.

The interviewee signed off by saying the Tory government was "beleaguered" - leading Julia to question whether it was really true that academics were really objective in their judgement.