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Creepy Letter from MP to uni chancellors

27 replies

OliviaD68 · 24/10/2017 20:10

Am I the only one to think this letter is creepy?

Chris Heaton-Harris, Conservative MP for Daventry and a staunch Eurosceptic, wrote to vice-chancellors at the start of this month asking for the names of any professors involved in teaching European affairs “with particular reference to Brexit”.

Creepy Letter from MP to uni chancellors
OP posts:
Spinflight · 24/10/2017 20:50


I'd imagine you are.

Mistigri · 24/10/2017 21:13

Much of twitter is up in arms, so you're definitely not alone.

It looks like a bit of an own goal tbh.

MyBrilliantDisguise · 24/10/2017 21:19

No, he's being disciplined over it. That's all we need, idiots like him trying to influence academia.

OliviaD68 · 24/10/2017 21:35


Yes, I've seen the tweets. Massive spike.

Why an own goal?

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Phosphorus · 24/10/2017 21:39

Between this guy and Andrea Leadsom, UK politics will be going to hell in a hand cart.

It's insidious.

All under an ',oh so innocent' guise that is chillingly transparent to anyone with even a basic grasp of history.

Phosphorus · 24/10/2017 21:40

Spinflight really?!

OliviaD68 · 24/10/2017 21:48


Spinflight is upset because I reacted (too) strongly to drivel from a Brexit armchair expert on another post. Don't blame her for carrying over her anger: I earned it.

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Mistigri · 24/10/2017 22:08

Why an own goal?

Because he's been widely ridiculed and no 10 has distanced itself.

OliviaD68 · 24/10/2017 22:15


Thanks. He’s the whip right? Is he being canned for his stupidity?

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Rufustherenegadereindeer1 · 24/10/2017 22:19

Bit worrying

Where is it going to stop

Dh has done some presentations on brexit...are they going to be checking up to make sure he is toeing the line?

HumphreyCobblers · 24/10/2017 22:20

It is a dreadful letter but I don't think we need to worry that big brother is actually going to get any information, everyone is pretty appalled. Even his own party.

Rufustherenegadereindeer1 · 24/10/2017 22:22

Well ive just told dh they are coming for him humphrey Grin

Dont spoil my fun

Mistigri · 24/10/2017 22:26

Olivia I kind of doubt he'll be sacked, there are cabinet ministers who've done a bunch of embarrassing shit with impunity.

Tbh I think it's a bit of a storm in a teacup - it's hardly front page news that some Tory MPs aren't greatly in favour of freedom of speech when it comes to brexit. If he were a govt minister acting in an official capacity it would be much more concerning.

OliviaD68 · 24/10/2017 22:28


Thanks. Makes good sense.

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cdtaylornats · 27/10/2017 23:05

For fucks sake read the letter

Consider it against the SNP letter to employers asking for a list of all EU citizens working for them.

Which is more sinister

OliviaD68 · 28/10/2017 08:51


That was not the thread. Not considering the SNP letter but this one to unis.

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cdtaylornats · 28/10/2017 10:16

I was merely contrasting the level of creepiness

OliviaD68 · 28/10/2017 12:32



Doesn’t make the intent of this letter any less worrisome.

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VikingVolva · 28/10/2017 12:52

Request for info is exactly the same as the SNZp request.

If universities are happy with their courses, then why shouldn't they be providing this information? Though of course they may not be staffed to answer random questions from MPs - irrespective of what the enquiry is about.

MPs employ researchers, who should be gathering this info in the first instance from published course information, and then asking (if necessary) for supplementary info (say if some unis have more comprehensive websites, bringing returns to standard of the most informative).

I think that parallels to other requests are being resisted because this is the kind of thing which is fine when it's done by someone you approve of, but nasty by others.

OliviaD68 · 28/10/2017 12:58


Huh? Really?

A bit naive are we?

Doesn’t matter whether you agree or don’t with what unis are teaching. They need to be left alone. They are not a policy instrument for Westminster or Whitehall.

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VikingVolva · 28/10/2017 13:05

thank you for characterising me in that way.

It seems you disagree with my post and think I have not given due weight to relevant issues.

But extrapolating from that to brand me personally as naive (I think the idiom is 'playing the man not the ball') is a the sort of name calling which has ruined debate on MN.

I do not assume that answering questions about what is happening in a university makes them any more or less likely to be vulnerable to curriculum interference.

Piratesandpants · 28/10/2017 13:11

Doesn’t matter whether you agree or don’t with what unis are teaching. They need to be left alone. They are not a policy instrument for Westminster or Whitehall.

Spot on.

OliviaD68 · 28/10/2017 13:15


Prima facie you are correct. Why not ask for transparency from unis?

But this is where I disagree. Things are not as they appear. And therefore point to naivety about intent.

Publishing a list can lead to a lot of other things like bullying from govt - whether covertly or overtly or indirectly via our wonderful press - or reduction of funding to coerce alignment of curricula to govt policy.

Were this not a possibility there would be no issue.

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YokoReturns · 28/10/2017 13:17

OP ignore the paid ‘shills’ on here, they are insidious. Feel free to ask me for clarification on that statement.

Yes, the letter is hideous.

YokoReturns · 28/10/2017 13:19

viking course information/lecture timetables are publicly available on uni websites, it’s not some classified secret. I have no idea why this MP would need to write to chancellors to somehow ‘declassify’ publicly available information, it’s weird.

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