Britain’s “Emergent Corporate Universities”: Academia in the Service of International Capital and the Military Industrial Complex

The Role of the Jarratt Committee


Rand Corporation Sets the UK Research Agenda

In 2009 the UK Department of Business told universities that their role was to make a ‘bigger contribution to economic recovery, and future growth and be central to the country’s economic performance in the twenty-first century’ (1).  This is the so-called Impact Agenda – one of the more overt manifestations of the neoliberal corporate takeover of UK universities.  It’s no surprise to discover that Research Impact, like so many of the ‘initiatives’ inflicted on higher education these last 30 years, is the brainchild of a freemarket thinktank: the RAND Corpration. Formed in 1946 as a tax-free thinktank to research and analyse for US armed forces, RAND was created by and for the military industrial complex (MIC), with funding from the Ford Foundation.  With an annual budget of $160 million, it is the world’s largest private research center for military strategy and organization.

Given the role of university technology in providing the instruments of global hegemony, death and destruction, RAND’s interest in university research is no surprise. But now setting national research agendas across all subject areas, should cause major concern to all academics –not just in the UK, where RAND is driving this – presumably in its preferred direction.  Not only did RAND devise the keynote Impact Agenda, it is also implementing it through the so-called Research Excellence Framework (REF). REF seeks to score UK research quality under the usual neoliberal public funding ‘accountability’ rhetoric  –  in this case:  “assessing  research quality at universities”  by appraising each funding submission made by UK higher education institutions (HEIs),  hence providing “accountability” for public investment in research, including  evidence of the benefits of each “investment”.   Note that wordinvestment.  No longer is government research funding a commitment to public good – it is an ‘investment’ in economic impact.

Impact has caused consternation and difficulty across UK universities, not least because no-one appears to know quite what it means, never mind how to measure it.  But fear not:

“In light of the challenges posed by the pending REF, RAND Europe and Ranmore Consulting Group are pleased to offer an analysis and advice package to support universities in their preparations and, crucially, to help them evaluate the impact of their research portfolios.”

More public money for RAND, then?  But crucially, intimate access to university research outputs!

Having a MIC rightwing, freemarket thinktank design and benefit from national university research policy may seem bizarre.  But it is precisely what was intended when the corportions moved to take over UK universities over thrirty years ago.  Their plan was called the Jarratt Report (2) named for the industrialist who was parachutted into the command structure of the UK academic establishment  – the Committee of Vice Principals and Chencellors (CVCP) –  as one of the first acts of the neoliberal Thatcher government.  First Jarratt was made Chancellor of Birmingham University – normally a ‘figurehead’ non-executive role.  And then, by the usual opaque British Establishement methods, he popped up as chairman of a committee that was to change utterly  British public universities’  governance, purpose, and organisational makeup to make them  – not just fit for business –  but set to become businesses.

What I will show below, is the MIC and the Security State were deeply involved, right from the start –  in fact before the ‘start’.  This was not an evolutionary tranformation; evidence now shows clearly it was a coup – and one that had been long-planned.  The RAND-style takeover of UK academic research was always the plan.

Jarratt – Mythology and Reality

The blueprint for the coup was the Jarratt report –much-cited but seldom-read – its contents have had a revolutionary effects on UK universities.  It spawned its own mythology –  that Jarratt was a ‘self-inflicted’ wound by academia, a view expressed by many academic commentators.  For example, Professor Geoffrey Alderman wrote as follows in the Times Higher Education Supplement (THES) in July 2007.

“One of the most damaging inquiries into higher education over the last half-century was the Jarratt report published in 1985. ..which, inter alia, popularised if it did not invent the notion that students are “customers”, which foisted on the sector the delusion that factory-floor “performance indicators” are entirely suited to a higher-education setting, and which led to the abolition of academic tenure and the concomitant triumph of managerialism in the academy… is – indeed – “foolhardy”. Jarratt was self-inflicted. The inquiry was not a government creation. It was established by the Committee of Vice-Chancellors and Principals.”

Thus is history re-written.  This neoliberal  narrative serves the ends of the ruling classes, for two reasons: It plays down the extent to Jarratt was long-planned and calculated in detail by political and elite interests (at that time) well outside academia; and it reinforces the idea, that as a self-inflicted wound – academics somehow ‘had it coming’.   To sustain this idea one must accept that the Jarratt protagonists within the CVCP  – (the universities’ bosses’ body ) – that commissioned Jarrett were themselves academics, and that in turn,  the members of the Jarrett team were also academics.

This simply wasn’t true.  Jarratt, along with key members of his team, were mainly businessmen, spooks, bankers, industrialists, civil servants and managers –some of them with pretty disgraceful  records of undermining the academy, including spying on, and attacking academics. Despite academic titles and university positions, members had either been infiltrated into the academy,  or carefully selected as ideologically ‘sound’ for this purpose.  Some of them were in fact actual, genuine spies, with longstanding and continuing connections to the Deep State (see below), and the MIC.

Even well-intentioned and otherwise scrupulously anti-neoliberal academic authors can get this wrong.  For example Finlayson and Hayward in their superb analysis of the mode of attack and the means of destruction of UK Universities by neoliberalism, which otherwise provides important insights into this subject, seem to have fallen for the ‘self-inflicted wound’ narrative.  To be fair, their work is largely about changes since 1980, particularly the ravages of neoliberal (New) Labour governments.  In their work there is a section Thatcher Legacy: Self-Incurred Efficiencies in which they accurately ascribe the “rapid and radical changes in UK Higher Education since 1997” to New Labour.  They go on to argue –correctly – that to understand the direction and speed of implementation of New Labour policy, it is necessary to digest the content and purposes of Conservative policy in the 1980s, upon which New Labour built:  So far; so accurate.

They remind us that Thatcher hired the then chief executive of UK stores giant Marks &Spencer, Derek Rayner, to conduct an “efficiency review” of the Civil Service (the “Rayner Scrutinies”) that led to over 100,000 staff cuts by April 1984.  Rayner “solutions” were forced on departmental heads by Thatcher’s ministers – who implemented changes with no consultation, especially with their victims. Particularly avoided was discussion with anyone with knowledge or  a care about, the service concerned and the likely adverse consequences of the enforced changes.  All of this will be familiar to present day UK University staffs.

A Self-Inflicted Wound?

This narrative rests on the fact that there was no direct political intervention of the Rayner type, and yet a similar process and outcome certainly did happen.  To sustain the ‘self-inflicted’ hypothesis it is necessary to ignore the methods used by the UK Establishment to achieve its ends.  There could be nodirect intervention in UK universities because, unlike the civil service, universities are notionally separate from the government machine and legally private and independent institutions.  But as increasing recipients of government funding their independence is compromised, and in the most dependent, is largely a fiction.

But it was, and is, a fiction that must be maintained, and as with other quasi-independent public institutions (such as the BBC) government must not be seen to directly intervene in their affairs, despite doing so relentlessly. Thus whilst there was no direct government intervention that led to Jarratt, there was a multitude of indirect means. Not least the influence exercised by the permanent government – the civil service over the previous half-century, concerning the nature and character of University governance, and the persons chosen to occupy governance roles and exercise influence.

Neoliberal reform of the universities required fundamental changes to the bodies that channel government funds to them, and a radical autocratic restructuring of the universities themselves, achieved with a degree of complicity from within. And thus, the scenario is typically painted as follows (3).

Observing the devastation in the Civil Service, the Committee of Vice Chancellors and Principles (CVCP) (4) judged that by pruning themselves they could avoid major government surgery. Rather than waiting for a government-appointed boardroom strongman to review their operations, the CVCP selected their own. In 1985 the Chancellor of the University of Birmingham (and once chief executive of Reed International), Alex Jarratt, was commissioned to conduct his own efficiency review, which was published in 1985 as the ‘Report of the Steering Committee for Efficiency Studies in Universities.

Committees and commissions are not impersonal machines. Their motive force derives from those who populate them, and steer their deliberations. It is true that the inquiry as such was not directly a government creation.  It was indeed established by the CVCP and Jarrett was a member of this body, and at the time Chancellor of Birmingham University.  But he wasn’t an academic at all, and had only fairly recently (1982)  been parachuted into his role as head of his university – in the vanguard of many similar  subsequent appointments.  He began his career in the Civil Service in 1949, and worked in number of departments, before leaving in 1970 for industry, where he held senior positions in companies including the International publishing corporation, Reed International (5) and the Midland Bank. As a civil-servant turned businessman and banker, he was an early example of the revolving door that was to be a model of the supplanting of academic leadership by business and civil service trustees that would become such a feature of the corporate takeover of the universities, and most of civic space.

A Hand-Picked Cast

It likely that a few contemporary members of the CVCP had little inkling of the true intent of Jarratt’s committee, but it is barely credible that its appointment, selection, findings and recommendations were mere happenstance.  Few things are more unlikely (6).  In the case of the commissioners and the members of the Jarratt Committee, the appropriate pre-selection processes and terms of reference (from original below) ensured the required outcome:


It is frankly inconceivable that Joseph and his department did not play a proactive role, in establishing the Jarratt process, including its terms of reference, and identification of the individuals to whom that process was to be entrusted.  A review identity and background of the main protagonists in this story will dispel any doubt about this.

Sir Keith Joseph

Keith Sinjohn, Baron Joseph, Bt, CH, PC  (2nd Baronet) was a barrister (attorney) and the wealthy son of the  1st Baronet, Samuel Joseph, head of the family construction firm,  Bovis.   He was a fervent supporter of the free-market think-tank, the Institute of Economic Affairs, founded by business magnate, Sir Antony Fisher (7) along with Ralph (Later Lord) Harris, another Thatcher confidant, and a fellow of the British Eugenics Society which had earlier helped draft Hitler’s race laws, and who was inspired by Friedrich von Hayek’s Road to Serfdom (which he apparently read only as the abridged extract in the Readers’ Digest)Following the fall of the Heath government in 1974, Joseph worked with Thatcher  to set up the right-wing think-tank, Centre for Policy Studies, for the new free-market conservatism that they both championed – and engineered.  Both of these think-tanks peddled the standard small government, free-market neoliberal policies that would emerge from the Jarratt report in respect of the Universities.   Joseph also promoted Milton Friedman’s monetarist policies, introducing them to Thatcher who made them her own.

Lord Flowers

Lord Flowers was a distinguished physicist – an expert on atomic energy (8) who as a member of the unelected House of Lords, was a founder member of the Social Democratic Party (SDP)  – a right-wing breakaway group from the moribund Labour Party – in 1981. His academic discipline lies at the core of the MIC (9) on whose behalf, along with Finance, the state now largely operates.  When choosing ‘real’ academics to participate in Jarratt, this would be precisely the kind to choose.   If he was not was in the inner circle of those who knew what was really afoot, the same cannot be so easily said about his successor as Chairman of the CVCP, Sir Maurice Shocks, to whom the Jarratt report was presented on the 29th of March, 1985.

Sir Maurice Shock

Chairman of the CVCP, Shock  was a university administrator and ‘educationalist’.  He served as Vice Chancellor, University of Leicester, 1977 to 1987.  Perhaps the most interesting thing about this apparently rather grey personage is that he had been a spy with British Intelligence.  Naturally he was an Oxbridge man, a Fellow, and later an honorary Fellow, of University College Oxford, where he was also Rector of Lincoln College until 1994, and where at the time of this writing, he remains an honorary fellow.  As in the case of Jarratt himself,  there is very little to be found written about him, although this is not unusual for spies and ex-spies.

As a member of British Intelligence, we may assume that he had links to the Deep State, described by Professor Peter Dale Scott:

“The deep state refers to a parallel secret government, organized by the intelligence and security apparatus, financed by drugs, and engaging in illicit violence, to protect the status and interests of the military against threats from intellectuals, religious groups, and occasionally the constitutional government.”

If he were as described above, then Shock may be assumed to have been very much an insider in the Jarratt process, whose outcome, as we shall see, has served well the ends of the sponsors and beneficiaries of the Deep State. We can have little doubt he was intimately involved in the inception, purpose and planning of the Jarratt process.

Members of the Jarratt Committee

The full membership of the Jarratt Committee is shown(from the original) below:

Of its thirteen members only five were true academics.  One of these (Moore) headed a business school (and had a Territorial – UK army reserve – decoration, awarded for long-service in that body, having been a regular soldier before that).  One (Swinnerton-Dyer) was a Cambridge  mathematician with family and research connections to the arms industry. He also headed the University Grants Committee    (UGC) which administered government funds to universities, and was to be the first Chief Executive of the University Funding Council (UFC) predecessor of the  Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE).

Another (Hinsley) was a Cambridge historian  who had been a code-breaker at Bletchley Park (now GCHQ). His academic subject, International Relations, inevitably  meant links to state security.

The  Vice Principal of Edinburgh’s Heriot-Watt University, (Johnson) was an apparent outsider  who later became president of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, a deeply ‘Establishment’ institution.

Finally there was the Principal of Manchester University (Richmond)  whose studies in gene manipulation resulted in numerous subsequent  business interests, including head of research at pharmaceutical giant Glaxo (now GlaxoSmithKline, GSK).  He also, knowingly or not, had links to organisations that were associated with the Anglo-American imperial project, and others involved in spying.

None of these individuals were  simply ‘main-stream’ academics.  All were, to a greater or lesser extent, establishment figures, including some who had ‘Deep-State’ involvement, including the civil service and actual espionage.  Others had family or business connections to the arms industry, or subsequently went into business. That these five unusual academics, were the sole representatives of genuine academia, tells us something about what was afoot.

The remaining eight members were either businessmen, bankers, civil servants, or university administrators. This is deeply revealing. Some of the businessmen were ex-civil servants, and some of the civil servants were sometime businessmen, mainly in banking and weapons sectors.  Some in each camp had links to state security services, providing a picture of the Deep-State revolving door tendency that was (and remains) at the core of this process.  The links between business and finance and the government service (secret and otherwise) is a persistent feature of post WWII societies on both sides of the Atlantic.  Peel away the facade that overlays Jarratt and we discover the infiltration of Deep State and military-industrial-complex actors.  Jarratt was no ‘betrayal from within’. Rather it has the whiff of a well-planned coup – at least by the insiders, led by Jarratt himself and his sponsors.

The domestic infiltration of a national system of education and research institution almost exactly mirrors the NATO model for the infiltration of European governments, East and West, before, during and after the Cold War.  Jarratt occurred at the point at which the Cold War assault against the Eastern Block was about to succeed (in its own terms). Given the backgrounds of a significant core of the membership of Jarratt, this is not really surprising, but is striking nonetheless, and consistent with the methods used by the Deep State to inflitrate and control civic space.

It resembles how NATO agents would infiltrate political groups in target countries and provoke actions, up to and including terrorism (10) as practiced by Yves Guérin-Sérac, a founder of the terrorist OAS, active in Algeria during its war of independence whose aim was to create a “Christian-Fascist New World Order”. There is evidence that he was an instigator of the Nato-inspired Gladio terrorism that gave rise in Italy to the anni di piombo that began with the false-flag kidnap and assassination of the former Prime Minister, Aldo Moro (11).

“He devised the ‘steering’ of urban revolutionaries by planting interlopers. These could in turn incite acts of terror.”

These methods are alive and well in the service of neoliberalism.  If RAND-style planning led to Jarratt, then idea that it was a key part of a  Guérin-Sérac style game-plan does not seem too far-fetched. A brief review of some of the key personalities on this committee may cast further light.

Mr JB Butterworth

Mr. JB (later Lord) Butterworth, was Vice Chancellor of Warwick University, prototype of the corporate university. He is the notorious ‘star’ of socialist historian EP Thomson’s classic Warwick University Limited (12) , and the perfect exemplar of the means by which the neoliberal outcome for acadmia was procured.  Thomson’s book arose from documents discovered when students occupied the university’s administrative building, and found damning evidence of management perfidy.  Butterworth, who had been financial administrator to an Oxford College, had employed Pinkerton-style industrial espionage methods on his own academic staff using the corporate apparatus of the business interests that controlled the University.  He was also found to  have refused admittance to students based on sneaky letters from school principals concerning their political (socialist) unsuitability. A sneak and an right-wing ideologue, he was therefore ideally suited to be infiltrated into a senior executive position in an institution that was to be the notorious trailblazer for the new-style, corporate university.  He later joined the House of Lords as a Conservative peer.  He died in 2003.

Sir Adrian Cadbury

Cadbury a doyen of the famous chocolate family, was Chairman of Cadbury Schweppes PLC, and Chancellor of Birmingham’s new university, Aston (1979 -2004).  Cadbury later gained a reputation as a champion of good corporate governance following his eponymous report that set out recommendations to mitigate ‘risks and failure’ following numerous corporate scandals of the nineteen eighties. At their core along with the criminal behaviour of the businessmen concerned, was the systemic failure of the accounting (so-called) profession to detect the frauds, or turning a criminal blind-eye to them, or – as with Enron – active collusion of accountants and auditors in the criminal enterprises concerned.  Naturally, post-Jarratt, accountants were just the people to take over the running of UK universities.  Cadbury later served as a Director of the Bank of England (1970–1994)  and of the  IBM corporation (1975-1994). Clearly a member of the ‘Great and the Good’, his Deep State credentials, if any, are at present unknown.

FA Hinsley

FA (later Sir Harry)  Hinsley was a Cambridge historian, Master of St. John’s College and subsequently University Vice-Chancellor. He had been a code-breaker at Bletchley Park, a decisive  part of the WWII espionage effort, and the predecessor of the Government Communications Head Quarters (GCHC).  GCHQ  played  a major role as a  Cold War and continuing signals spying agency.  Its activities in snooping  through Google, Facebook and other Social media have been comprehensively exposed by Edward Snowden.  Its commendable activities against the Nazis have been overshadowed  by its rather tawdry, sinister contemporary activities in spying on the UK’s own citizens’ e-mails and web activities, and countless others internationally, few posing a threat to the UK state.  Hinsley’s academic field, International Relations, inevitably meant links to state security. He edited the multi-volume official historyBritish Intelligence in the Second World War. He was therefore a trusted insider, since such official histories would not be entrusted to genuine critical appraisal and independent scrutiny. In short, he was a Court historian trusted to produce official records that would not trouble the ruling elites. He was a man of very humble origins who had done very well indeed. It is not clear whether (and perhaps unlikely) that he was a genuine insider in the Jarratt project, but as a grateful arriviste into the outer circles of power, he was useful academic camouflage, and would have been a most unlikely upsetter of apple carts. He died in 1998

Sir John Ibbs

Sir John “Robin” Ibbs, KBE,  in contrast was the real deal: A banker who was part-time adviser to prime minister Thatcher’s  Efficiency and Effectiveness in Government Unit. After military service Ibbs joined the turbine makers CA Parsons and read for the English Bar. He never practiced law, instead joining Imperial Chemical Industries (ICI) as corporate planner, joining the Board in 1976.  ICI was founded in 1926 from the merger of four MIC companies, including Nobel Explosives.  As a major member of the military-industrial complex, it currently continues as Dutch-owned AkzoNobel.

Ibbs succeed Rayner as Mrs. Thatcher’s efficiency adviser at Cabinet Office  (1980) as head of an internal government  “thinktank” promoting links between government and the private sector – which did his personal fortune no harm at all. His notorious “Next Steps” initiative promoted the neoliberalism  in the Civil Service by hiving off most governmrnt departments’ activities to free-standing agencies, later acquired by business, or becoming businesses themselves, privatizing large parts of the public services for rent extraction.

As  Chairman of Lloyds Bank (1993 to 1997) and of Lloyds TSB Group (1995 -1997) he was beneficiary of the policy of de-mutualisation and subsequent takeover of hitherto social enterprises by the banks. This involved privatization and acquisition by predatory finance capital and had to be bailed out by the public after the crash.  These acts of social and financial vandalism, mainstream neoliberal dogma reduced to practice, resulted directly in the inflation of a  gigantic housing bubble,  which along with Thatcher’s ‘Big-Bag’ deregulation of casino banking, were major contributors to the financial crash of 2007-8. They continue to impoverish the population that has borne the cost of the bailouts and re-inflation of finance bubbles, ahead of the next round of plunder.   The lagging legacy of Jarratt and  Ibbs is the current process of primitive accumulation in preparation for the perennial plunder of the country’s intellectual assets by the ruling business and financial elites.

Sir John “Robin” Ibbs, was a classic case of trustee infiltrated into a supposed CVCP committee, which arrived at conclusions highly conducive to the prevailing neoliberal political culture,  and whose true legacy is only now coming to fruition. His corrosive efforts in this domain are of a piece with the rest of his nefarious career.  He died in 2014.

Dr TL Johnson

Dr TL Johnson wasPrincipal and Vice Chancellor  of Heriott-Watt University, Edinburgh established in 1821 as the School of Arts of Edinburgh, the world’s first mechanics institute, formed to provide technical education to working men and funded by local industrialists  practicing  a ‘philanthropy’ based on  a calculation that their enterprises would  benefit from having more skilled employees. One such was  Joseph Whitworth, whose company, Sir W G Armstrong Whitworth & Co Ltd, would later be chaired by the maternal grandfather of another member of the committee, Peter Swinnerton-Dyer (see below).  Johnson was  a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, a profoundly ‘Establishment’ institition, and in that capacity was subsequently instrumental in driving the commercialisation agenda in Scottish Universities after Jarratt.

Dr G Lockwood

Dr G Lockwood, Registrar and Secretary, University of Sussex, was a long serving adminstrator who retired in 1996.  Registrars and university secretaries were to prosper mightily in the wake of Jarratt.  As administrators of University governing bodies, and heads of university management functions, they gained huge managerial powers as a result of the Jarratt revolution.  Along with university Directors of Finance, they are implementing the neoliberal takeover of UK universities which they are busy turning into ‘businesses’. It was inevitable and essential that Jarratt should have a university secretary as a member of his committee, since its role was to instigate the theft of national intellectual product – a role to which such charlatans are particularly suited.

Mr P I Marshall

A Director of Finance and Deputy Chief Executive of Plessey Company, Marshall was an accountant, and naturally, he was a senior executive of a company involved in the armaments industry. Plessey was a British international electronics, defence and telecommunications company, originating  in 1917. It expanded after WWII through acquisition and international expansion. In 1989, it was taken over by a consortium formed by GEC and Siemens. However, in the ‘national interest’ , the majority of Plessey’s defence assets were amalgamated into BAE systems in 1999 when BAE merged with the defence arm of GEC, Marconi Electronic Systems (MES) which we shall meet again presently.  BAE continues as the UK’s main armaments manufacturer with extensive interests in military aircraft, ships and weapons systems. Thus Mr. Marshall was an accountant in a major component of the UK MIC.  He was therefore doubly suited to be on the Jarratt Committee. BAE remains a major beneficiary of UK academic research.

Peter Gerald Moore

Peter Gerald Moore was a British Soldier, actuary, academic and statistician. He was Professor of Statistics at London Business School, (1965–1993) and its principal (1984-1989).  As the academic head of a business school, he would have been unlikely to object to the introduction of business methods into the running of universities.  As a long-term soldier, he would have been a major supporter of the state, and a de facto member of the MIC, if not the Deep State itself. His business positions included: Head of Statistics Reed Paper Group (1959-1965). As a senior employee of a Reed group company, he had a clear business connection with its Chairman, Jarratt.  He died in 2010.

Professor Marcus Henry Richmond

Professor (later Sir) Marcus Henry (Mark)  Richmond was Vice Chancellor, University of Manchester.   In 1985 it was a respected  English ‘Redbrick’ (13) University.  Several such institutions could have been selected to fulfill Lord Flowers stated remit of selecting individual institutions to provide:  “ a reasonable cross-section of the university system in terms of character , size and geographic location”.  In Manchester they just happened to choose the only Redbrick  headed  by a leading genetic engineer whose work would have major technological potential for gene manipulation – key to the biotech sector, including agribusiness and big pharma – technology perennially controversial since it involves creating new life forms, or taking private ownership of nature’s patrimony (a form of primitive accumulation sometimes known a biopiracy  – the plunder of nature and knowledge).   The political and economic consequences of such sequestration are hugely important and massively detrimental to the world’s poorest people, with an incalculable potential for environmental catastrophe and errosion of food security.

At the time of Jarratt, Richmond had published on bacterial resistance to antibiotics chiefly at the University of Bristol, along with Richard (later Sir Richard) Sykes  – subsequently Chairman of GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), Rector (Vice Chancellor) of Imperial College London, and then Chancellor of Brunel University.  GSK and other such companies have had a major role in the corporate takeover of the UK Universities for whose benefit they are largely now run – all  the more egregious given this company’s record in dangerous and fraudulent misrepresentation of clinical trial data concerning at least 10 drugs, including Paxil, Wellbutrin, Avandia and Advair, tax avoidance and criminal bribery in China. 

Richmond’s active research stopped on his appointment as Vice- Chancellor at Manchester during which term he became Chairman of the CVCP. He then became Chairman of the Science and Engineering Research Council (1990-1994), a fore-runner of the Biotechnology and Biosciences Research Council (BBSRC) whose activities by 2003 had been described as follows:

“The best way of gauging its intentions is to examine the research it is funding, as this reveals its long-term strategy for both farming and science. It seems that the strategy is to destroy them both. The principal funding body for the life sciences in Britain is the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC). It is currently funding 255 food and farming research projects. Twenty-six of them are concerned with growing GM crops; just one involves organic production. This misallocation of funds should surprise us only until we see who sits on the committees which control the BBSRC. They are stuffed with executives from Syngenta, GlaxoSmithKline, AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals, Merck Sharp & Dohme, Pfizer, Genetix plc, Millennium Pharmaceuticals, Celltech and Unilever.”

In 1993 Richmond became Global Head of Research for Glaxo (1993-1995).  After retirement he took a number of non-executive directorships of various companies including  Genentech, OSI Pharmaceuticals in the United States and Ark Therapeutics in the UK.

Prior to his appointment to Jarratt, Mark Richmond was a member of the Fulbright Commission (1980-1984), regarded as part of a US Cold-War propaganda programme (14) and acknowledged as part of the Cold War public diplomacy apparatus in academic analysis (15). The Fulbright Program is sponsored by the US State Department’s Bureau of Education and Cultural Affairs from an annual appropriation from the U.S. Congress, and may therefore be seen as an instrument of US foreign policy.   Fulbright scholars have been accused of spying and fomenting subversion inside the countries in which they study.   One of its fellows, Lindsay Moran, has written a book about how her fellowship was a cover for her role as a CIA agent (16)

Around the time of his appointment to Jarratt, and throughout its deliberations Richmond was a member of the Knox Fellowship (17) Committee (1984-1987) (18) – an Atlanticist imperialist organisation, in the Roundtable/Council on Foreign Relations mould, promoting imperialist ideals under the (typically Rhodesian) rubric of friendship between the English-speaking countries.  It does this “through scholarly exchange between the U.S., Britain and the dominions of the British Commonwealth”. For those interested in the imperialist subtext to organisations such Knox, details can be found in the writings of Prof Carroll Quigley (19), and for its WWI ramifications the splendid book on the subject by Gerry Doherty and Jim MacGregor (20).

Richmond was chairman of the National Committee for Microbiology (1980-1985) and a member of theGenetic Manipulation Advisory Group (1976-1984) , a credential that may have been more influential in his appointment to Jarrett than being Principal of an English Redbrick university.  Professor Richmond had other relevant qualifications.  He became a member of the International Scientific Advisory Board of UNESCO (1996-2001) which some commentators regard as part of an international Eugenics drive and population control.

As a member of the CIBA-Geigy Fellowship Trust (1984- 1991) he would have been involved in the selection of scientific fellows from the UK and Ireland to work in labs across Europe.  This would have been an excellent talent-spotting opportunity.  The Trust was funded by the drug and vaccine company CIBA-Geigy, which merged with Sandoz in 1996, to form Novartis.  Novartis divested its agrochemical and genetically modified crops business in 2000 with the spinout of Syngenta that markets seeds and agrichemicals.  The combination of seeds and agrichemicals is a potent component of international capital’s biopiracy programme to take  control the world’s food security as a major political and economic tool. If Jarratt was looking for the ‘right’ kind of biologist to suit the purposes of his committee inferred by the consequences of its deliberations, he chose well in Richmond.

Sir Henry Peter Swinnerton-Dyer

Sir Henry Peter Francis Swinnerton-Dyer, 16th Baronet (Peter Swinnerton-Dyer), is an Old Etonianhereditary knight of the British realm and a Cambridge mathematician whose academic field is number theory.  As Knight Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (KBE) he is a knight twice over, the latter in his own right, and not a merely a sixteenth generation inheritance.  His maternal grandfather was chairman of the manufacturer Sir W G Armstrong Whitworth & Co Ltd, a majorarmaments manufacturing company of the early years of the 20th century. This contributed to the private wealth that made him entirely independent of salaried income. In his academic life, he is best known for the Birch and Swinnerton-Dyer conjecture concerning the algebra of elliptical curves.  He was also an early pioneer of electronic computing, having worked on the Titan operating system which was developed jointly between Cambridge and Ferranti – a major defence contractor until went bankrupt in 1993. Thus we have a patrician academic with family and professional links to the armaments industry, and hence the military industrial complex.

As as a Fellow of  Trinity College, Master of  St Catherine’s College and University Vice Chancellor (1979-83) he was a Cambridge University–and hence Establishment – insider.  But he is best known for having been the last chairman of the UCG (1983-1989) and the first Chief Executive of the Universities Funding Council (UFC 1989-92), later HEFCE. This resulted from the Universities Reform Act 1988, which implemented the Jarrett recommendations.  His transit between these very different funding bodies and associated models of university funding suggests a profound inside involvement in the Jarratt.

However, a very revealing interview he gave to the Cambridge social anthropologist, Alan MacFarlane, leaves little  doubt as to his commitment to the Thatcher/neoliberal cause. He recalls that his entire period of office at UGC/UFC was during Thatcher’s incumbency and that he had:

“a great deal of sympathy with her views on the Universities that were widely held in the top ranks of the civil service as well, who remembered universities from their days as undergraduates and thought that there was an awful lot of rubbish needed clearing out – and indeed there was”.

So we may safely assume that Swinnerton-Dyer was personally and ideologically committed to the Jarratt process.  Interestingly, in the same interview when asked how he came to be involved in University administration  and governance he makes some waffling comments about his success a bridge player, and how that got him involved in ‘university affairs’, before stating:  “ I suppose the force was with me”.  Unfortunately he does not enlarge upon what that ‘Force’ might have been, but we may guess, since it barely hesitated before propelling him into the national roles that saw his participation in Jarratt, and becoming the executive in charge of the  replacement of arms-length UGC with the hands-on UFC/HEFC.

But lest we remain in any doubt about the centrality of his role he explains:

A lot of my job was to convince universities that they were in the late twentieth century under a Prime Minister whose deepest urge was spring cleaning; the need to persuade vice-chancellors that it was their job to lead the university, not just to make good after-dinner speeches; the need to shift power from senates to councils.

Thus his own words acknowledge his personal commitment to the transfer of the running of Universities from academics, to governing bodies, which were increasingly dominated by businessmen, and a key means of their neoliberal transformation.  Among his further revealing words are these which I reproduce here verbatim (21):

indeed, all universities have greatly changed; I had really rather little dealing with Margaret Thatcher,  but I liked her. I suppose in her latter days she got madder, but I never saw her then. The principle dealings I had were with Keith Joseph who was Secretary of State for Education most of my time at the UGC and who was a lovely man, very courteous, reasonable, prepared to think through any problem very thoroughly, and very reluctant actually to do anything as a result of thinking through it; was someone who esteemed academics, he had been a fellow of All Souls (22).                                                              

At least he accepts that Thatcher was ‘mad’ – that much was always clear  (and she would get ‘madder’ still) but she was a mere instrument for forces – or ‘The Force’ as Sir Peter puts it, that lay behind these changes.

In her case, ‘The Force’ was channelled by Keith Joseph, her éminence grise.  And of course Joseph didn’t actually have to do anything; he could rely on others like Jarratt and Swinnerton-Dyer for that.  Remarkably, for someone who occupied the most senior post in UK University administration for arguably the most important decade in their recent transformation, Swinnerton-Dyer claims to “know very little” about universities other than Cambridge.  This may be seen as a positive attribute for one who was about to destroy them.  He also expands on what he meant by “an awful lot of rubbish needing clearing out”.  He meant indolent chaps “included people neglecting their duties and not being thrown out; but being rather loved and admired” (23). From his comments we may safely assume that a substantial element of Cambridge Academia (and presumably those of Oxford too) were still, in Edward Gibbon’s words (on Oxford), “sunk in sloth and port” in the mid nineteen eighties.

Thus we are asked to believe that the alleged idleness and sloth of Oxbridge Faculty was the principle reason for a complete transformation of Higher Education in the UK – a change that just happened to suit the ends and purposes of international neoliberal elites.

As a Fellow of the Royal Society, and holder of its Sylvester Medal for mathematics, Swinnerton-Dyer was a mathematician of eminent standing.  He was therefore a considerable academic decoration to Jarratt – a fact that may for many have masked his more important role as a ‘true-believer’ and a major protagonist in its project on behalf of what he described as ‘The Force’.  His final remark is equally telling:

“I’m not terribly interested in putting things on record”.

One might think he had good reasons for that.  We may never know for sure, but from his few recorded comments we may now know quite enough.

Mr S Thomson

Mr S Thomson FCCA, Director of Finance and Executive Director, Ford Motor Company UK.  This speaks for itself.  We must assume he was there to advise on the tranformation of UK Universities from academic-led institutions, to Finance-led, business-dominated institutions. The presence of an individual of this particular species harks back to the methods and accomplishments of Mr Butterworth in Warwick.  His place as a harbinger of what was to come is undeniable in the light of subsequent events.

Mr Ian Beesley

Ian Beesley was head of Thatcher’s notorious Efficiency Unit, deputising  for Robin Ibbs when he was unable to attend meetings. Beesley was therefore the permanent civil servant who presided over its day-to-day running at that time, and hence was likely to be even more in tune with its activities than Ibbs.

Despite official rhetoric surrounding its foundation and role, apparently swallowed whole by some academics (24) (to seek efficiency savings in government departments) – it was always about something more fundamental than that –  a major part of the neoliberal kulturkampf  –  hiding behind the rhetoric  of “tackling skills and culture”, and “ thereby reforming the system”.  Behind the PR of ‘improving effectiveness’, its officially unmentionable role was to privatise for rent as much of the government machine that it could, whilst having the useful side effect of creating maximum terror in the public sphere, in preparation for complete devouring by rampant capital.  Mr Beesley was by all accounts an enthusiastic participant (25):

‘Rayner’s Raiders’, as they became known were ‘working to a strict timetable and reporting to him as well as to their Permanent Secretary’. Ian Beesley, one of the scrutinisers and later Chief of Staff for the Efficiency Unit, described the empowerment felt from the way that Rayner set them loose on the department.  ‘It was exhilarating.  You knew you had an opportunity to show that the Civil Service could improve itself and that that was a fairly rare opportunity. The second thing was that you were asked to apply your own judgment to a situation. You were asked to look at a topic. You were asked to write a report. It would have your name on it. It would go in front of the Minister with your name on it. Nobody would be allowed to alter those words. What he [Rayner] said was ‘let the facts speak for themselves and then the conclusions will follow’. That was very rare because it was an exercise in personal responsibility [and] it was done under a timescale that was fairly tight.

The culture unit was clearly a vehicle for neoliberal change.  It simultaneously served two fetishes of that cult; it created ‘smaller government’ whilst hiving off services for private piracy, and Beesley evidently  loved it .  He was an obvious choice as an understudy for Ibbs.


Jarratt and his handpicked revolutionaries set up the process by which UK Universities were captured for business and Capital. Following Jarratt prescriptions, universities were remodeled as businesses, and transformed from self-governing scholarly communities, to top-down managerialist corporations, with Taylorised staff whose labour product would be captured for Capital.

The Impact Agenda, is but the latest, and perhaps the most flagrant outcome of this process, representing a gear-change in the process of primitive accumulation:

The effects of assessing impact signal a revolutionary new emphasis in neoliberal technologies: no longer concerned solely with demonstrating productivity and the quality of research outputs in all disciplines across the UK in order to inform the UK funding bodies’ allocation of money for research (but) to ‘sanction’ research selection over the types of research being undertaken in terms of the contribution and significance for wider society. (26)

And it’s not just for the benefit of any old part of ‘wider society’, but specifically and ultimately only for the generation of profit by the capture of intellectual assets, that makes the Impact process simultaneously concerning and revealing.

The involvement of RAND Corporation in the design, implementation –  and now –  in the capture of that data for the military industrial complex, at the behest of the UK government bodies responsible for funding, and increasingly controlling its universities, is positively sinister.

RAND (through its ‘associate’ RANMORE) helpfully  offers to provide “analysis and advice package to support universities in their preparations and, crucially, to help them evaluate the impact of their research portfolios.”  In doing so, it will get unrivalled access to the publicly-funded intellectual output of every UK and European university that signs up with them. It is highly unlikely that more than a fraction of UK academics know exactly who will be ‘assisting’ them with their Impact studies.  They might like to look here:

RAND was set up in 1946 by the United States Army Air Forces as Project RAND, under contract to the Douglas Aircraft Company, and in May 1946 they released the Preliminary Design of an Experimental World-Circling Spaceship. In May 1948, Project RAND was separated from Douglas and became an independent non-profit organization. Initial capital for the split came from the Ford Foundation.

With an annual budget of $160 million, the Rand Corporation is the most important private research center for military strategy and organization in the world. It is the prestigious voice of the American military-industrial lobby. Presided over by James Thomson, among its administrators are Ann McLaughlin Korologos (former president of the Aspen Institute) and Frank Carlucci (president of the Carlyle Group). Condoleezza Rice and Donald Rumsfeld were formerly administrators, as much as their official functions permitted. Zalmay Khalilzad  (GW Bush’s ambassador to the UN) was an analyst there.

They might then ask themselves, why the heck the UK government is turning over access to their research outputs to these people.


(1) Collini, S.  2012, What are Universities for?, Penguin, London, p.40.

(2) CVCP, Report of the Steering Committee for Efficiency Studies, March 1985, Hereinafter referred to as the “Jarratt Report.”

(3) Finlayson, G and Hayward, D, 2010, accessed here

(4) Known as Universities UK since 2000

(5) The publishers, now Reed Elsevier

(6) I know a little of how these things work from my own short time in the UK Civil Service – short, but long enough to know how things are steered from there.  Once a particular policy or initiative has been decided upon (increasingly as a result of business or special interest ‘lobbying’ or other forms of pressure, or perhaps the product of some or other right-wing think-tank), appropriate opinion-formers, are summoned to briefings (I have been involved on both sides of such briefings), often under Chatham House rules (confidential and un-attributable) and these individuals are given the nod as to what will occur and what is expected of them.  There may then be some form of public ‘consultation’, or a special study group set up involving notable ‘lay’ members, but these will be chosen to ensure the desired outcome, and the terms of the ‘consultation’ will do likewise.  This will then be implemented as planned from the outset.

(7) Sir Antony Fisher (1915 – 1988) was one of the most influential background players in the global rise of libertarian think-tanks during the second half of the twentieth century, founding the Institute of Economic Affairs and the Atlas Economic Research Foundation. Through Atlas, he helped establish up to 150 other think-tanks worldwide. The most promininent include: Fraser InstituteManhattan Institute;Pacific Research InstituteNational Center for Policy AnalysisCentre for Independent StudiesAdam Smith Institute. Educated at Eton and Cambridge, Fisher was elected to the Mont Pelerin Society in 1954. The following year, he founded the Institute of Economic Affairs in London, as the first of dozens of front groups for Mont Pelerine that he would help launch.

(8) In the UK, as in the USA, Nuclear energy and its associated science and engineering cannot be disentangled from the primacy of its weapons use.  “Energy ‘too-cheap-to-meter” never was, and the costs of externalities would always need to be discounted to make even approach economic ‘viability’.  It true purpose was always as the ‘civil’ strand and cover for its true military purpose.

(9) The Military Industrial Complex is a major component, perhaps the major component, of the neoliberal power apparatus, so much so that even the WWII general turned US President Dwight Eisenhower warned of dangers as he demitted office. 

“In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist. We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals so that security and liberty may prosper together.”

Quoted In : Cottrell, Richard,  (2012). Gladio, NATO’s Dagger at the Heart of Europe: The Pentagon-Nazi-Mafia Terror Axis (Kindle Locations 373-377). Progressive Press. Kindle Edition.

(10) Cottrell, R (2012) Ibid.  Progressive Press. Kindle Edition, (Kindle Locations 239-248).

(11) Cottrell, R (2012) Ibid.  Progressive Press. Kindle Edition, (Kindle Location 248).

(12) EP Thomson (Ed) 1970: Warwick University Limited: Industry, Management and the Universities, Penguin, London.(Spokesman Edition), 2014, Nottingham, England.

(13) Originally six civic universities founded in the major industrial cities of England. The term is now used more broadly to refer to UK universities from the late 19th and early 20th centuries in major cities. All of the six original institutions gained university status before WWI and were initially established as civic science or engineering colleges.

(14) Although labelled as an Educational Exchange programme, Fullbright Scholarships were part of the US propaganda effort: “But the origins of the Fulbright program suggest it was actually established for quite different reasons—ones that are less heart-warming, but more interesting. Whatever the program became, it was first conceived as a budget-priced megaphone to transmit American ideas to the world, rather than as a genuine international dialogue… the Fulbright program started as a scheme for the United States to “clean up from World War II on the cheap” – Sam Lebovic, Boston Globe, 11th August, 2013: retrieved 19th August 2014.

(15) Kelley, JR, November, 2005 U.S. Public Diplomacy: A Cold War Success Story?” Department of International Relations, London School of Economics and Political Science 2005-06 Cold War Studies Centre Seminar Series 2

(16) Moran, L, 2005, Blowing My Cover: My Life as a Spy, Penguin, New York.

(17) William Franklin (Frank) Knox was a Boston-born soldier, newspaper magnate and politician who was part of the US invasion of Cuba with the First Volunteer Cavalry, the so-called ‘rough riders’, one of whose leaders was Theodore (Teddy)  Roosevelt.  He participated  in the Spanish- American War, a US imperialist adventure, which was mainly about preventing  Cuban independence, and whose repercussions persist to this day.  Subsequently, Knox became a reporter then owner of several newspapers including part owner of the Chicago “Daily News”.  Knox was an advocate of preparedness for  and US participation in WWI, where he was an artillery officer. Knox, described as an ‘internationalist’ and ‘supporter of the WWII Allies’, he became Secretary of the Navy in July 1940, and was involved in Presidents FD Roosevelt’s  campaign to create bi-partisan lobby for entry into that war.  Involvement with this organisation carries many echoes of the warring-imperialist Deep State, and military-industrial complex activities and associations that seem to permeate the Jarratt process.    

(18) The Frank Knox Committee is the executive committee of the Knox Fellows, elected by the Fellows each year on order to develop the ‘Frank Knox community’, of existing Fellows and alumni of the program. This is achieved through a variety of activities each year, including social events, Harvard University-sponsored dinners, and alumni communications. The Committee’s aims are ‘to build a strong global community of Frank Knox Fellows to fulfil Frank Knox’s desire to strengthen ties between the United States, Britain, New Zealand, Canada and Australia’. In 1930, Frank Knox was ‘an outspoken proponent of cooperation between all English-speaking countries’.  All of this is code and will be familiar to students of the continuing Anglo-American Imperialist project initiated by Cecil Rhodes and continued via the Alfred Milner and the Cliveden Set, Round Table groups, Royal Institute of International Affairs, the Council on Foreign Relations, and others  described by American academic historian,  Carroll Quigley.  See subsequent references.

(19) Quigley, C. (1966) Tragedy and Hope: A History of the World in Our Time, MacMillan, New York, London.

(20) Docherty, G and MacGregor, J (2013) Hidden History: The Secret Origins of the First World War, Mainstream Publishing, Edinburgh, Scotland.

(21) MacFarlane, A. 2008, An interview on the life and work of Sir Peter Swinnerton-Dyer, Transcript:

(22) All Souls holds a vital position in the Establishment, particularly in respect of the writing and dissemination of ‘official’ history and the peddling of political influence.  In his influential Book, The Anglo-American Establishment, which said Establishment tried to suppress, Quigley describes the Oxford college as ‘propaganda and patronage machine’.  Its principle weapon in this regard is Establishment control over the writing and teaching of history.  This gives academic credibility to the ruling class justifying discourse which is a major component of the neoliberal narrative.

(23) MacFarlane, A. 2008, ibid, Transcript:

(24) Haddon, C, 2012, Reforming the Civil Service: The Efficiency Unit in the 1980’s and the 1987 Next Steps Report, Institute for Government

(25) Haddon, C, 2012, ibid.

(26) Olssen, M, The strange death of the liberal university, In:  Roger King, Simon Marginson and Rajani Naidoo (Eds): Handbook on Globalisation and Higher Education, 2011, Edward Elgar Publishing, Cheltenham.

Dr John O’Dowd MBA PhD is an academic, scientist, artist and writer. He has worked in cancer and cardiovascular research, taught in universities, and worked for the UK government and several universities as a research manager.  He is currently an associate in the Finance Department at the University of Glasgow, Scotland.

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