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Who is ready to take responsibility for the problems of higher education?

What did universities minister Michelle Donelan say to Malcolm Press, vice-chancellor of Manchester Metropolitan University, when she phoned to “offer support”? We do not know, but it could not have been an easy conversation.

When a minister phones a vice-chancellor in the middle of a media storm to offer support, it is a bit like when your newspaper is taken over and someone in a suit turns up saying: “Hi, I’m Geoff from head office and I’m here to help.” It usually means you have an hour to clear your belongings into a bin liner and leave the building.

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