One of the founders of the LSE, George Bernard Shaw, famously said that “Lack of money is the root of all evil”.
This is certainly how one should see the initial acceptance by the LSE of 1.5 million pounds given by the so called “Gaddafi International Charity and Development Foundation” to fund a “a virtual democracy centre” (no, I’m not joking). In light of the ongoing cuts to the higher education budget, the pessimist might expect even more ‘moral flexibility’ concerning our sources of funding.
But don’t worry the School has recently declared that “In current difficult circumstances across the region, the school has decided to stop new activities under that programme” and that “only £300,000 has been received to date”… and the school certainly knows how difficult the circumstances are right now, as illustrated by the somewhat comical and insightful declaration by a well known member of the academic staff:
“Watching Saif give that speech – looking so exhausted, nervous and, frankly, terrible – was the stuff of Shakespeare and of Freud: a young man torn by a struggle between loyalty to his father and his family, and the beliefs he had come to hold for reform, democracy and the rule of law. The man giving that speech wasn’t the Saif I had got to know well over those years.”
If “Democracy is a device that ensures we shall be governed no better than we deserve” (Shaw once again), what do current academic governance structure ensure?