In the fierce debate during the second referendum in Ireland on the Lisbon Treaty, I found myself being harangued publicly by a university professor from Dublin.
I eventually asked her whether she was a Jean Monnet professor, an EU-funded post created in honour of the French political economist and EU architect. I had to push more than once, but in the end the answer came: “Yes, I am proud to hold that title.”
Ever since that day, I’ve been trying to expose the rotten state of the further education system not just in the United Kingdom but across the whole of the EU. For nothing less than a complete takeover of it has been engineered by the bureaucrats in Brussels.
That’s why last week’s attacks on Conservative MP Chris Heaton-Harris, who recently asked every university in the land for the name of each lecturer teaching about Brexit plus the content of their courses, were so predictable.
Heaton-Harris has been accused of “idiotic Leninism” by the Oxford University Chancellor and ex-EU Commissioner Chris Patten; he has been charged with “McCarthyism” by the chairwoman of the university lecturers’ union Sally Hunt; and he has been indicted with “censorship” by the chief executive of Universities UK Alistair Jarvis.
By any standards, these representatives of Britain’s tertiary education system have employed the language of intolerance to lambast a perfectly reasonable inquiry. The reason for this is that they have a vested interest to protect. Turkeys don’t vote for Christmas and British seats of learning, which receive £1.2 billion a year from Brussels, don’t want to quit the EU.
Indeed, during last year’s referendum campaign, 21 Vice Chancellors from UK universities came out in favour of a Remain vote without any reference to their own boards. They needn’t have bothered. The EU very successfully bought their loyalty a long time ago.
The sums of money involved are eye-watering. Oxford University receives £60.3 million per year. Cambridge University is given about the same. The Russell Group of Britain’s top 24 universities collects about £400 million in total. Is it any wonder that Heaton-Harris triggered such thunderous outrage?
Worse than this annual dependency on money, though, is the fact that there are now a series of well-funded Jean Monnet chairs and centres of excellence scattered across our higher education system.
The professors are paid to promote the EU. Many will wonder how this propaganda machine aimed at indoctrinating our young people has been allowed to flourish.
I would agree with them. It is simply outrageous. Yet time and time again I’ve found myself in radio and television debates with university professors who have turned out to be part of the Jean Monnet project.
As anyone who follows the news knows, universities these days are pretty confused and confusing places thanks to the attitudes of the snowflake generation attending them.
Whether students are campaigning to erase history via the Rhodes Must Fall movement, or insisting on gender neutral lavatories, it’s clear you don’t stand a chance if you are in any way perceived to be on the “wrong” side. In many cases, this includes the EU question.
What’s so disturbing about the Heaton-Harris row is the attitude of Patten and the others who joined him in condemning the MP. They seem to have picked up a trick from the teenagers and those in their 20s who attend their universities. In their way, Patten and his friends have shown themselves to be just as fanatical as some of these narrow-minded students.
The tragic fact is that some of the world’s finest educational establishments have allowed themselves to be corrupted. Opposition to the EU will not be countenanced even though our country voted to leave by a clear majority last year. They appear to be in denial about the outcome of the referendum and we know why.
By accepting hard cash, they have become political machines. It is deeply shameful but, I have to admit, it has been very successful: Ukip has found itself banned from many campuses. What more evidence do you need?
Free and open debate on subjects like the European Union has disappeared in British universities. Critical thinking has gone out of the window. Increasingly, our young people are taught that one side of the argument is correct, and the other side and its proponents are evil.
Something drastic needs to be done to counter this. In the meantime, I congratulate Chris Heaton-Harris for lighting the flame under what has become one of the most rotten set of institutions in Britain.