Tracking David Willetts & Vince Cable
This page tracks the speeches and other interesting statements made by David Willetts, the Minister for Universities and Science, and Vince Cable, his boss at BIS. I'll be updating as and when.
It's different from the speeches page at the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills because it includes speeches and statements by Willetts and Cable that are not approved by BIS either in part or in whole, such as Willetts' speech to Oxford Brookes University on 10 June. Also, there will be some links to notable interviews with the two.
It's different to the Wikipedia entries because it stays up-to-date with new statements, is an original source (eg the full Oxford Brookes speech is not available elsewhere), and because I'll be offering my opinion on what Willetts and Cable are saying.
This page only exists because of the peculiar coalition arrangement for Willetts and Vince Cable at BIS. According to the organogram, Cable is Willetts' boss. But the political reality is that Willetts has substantial clout in his own right, also attending Cabinet for example. This makes the whole notion of BIS having a unified departmental position on any subject problematic. Although Cable and Willetts will no doubt manage to agree on many things, what about the cases where they don't?For some of the issues raised by the BIS split, see my column in Research Fortnight (requires subscription, but pretty much all UK campuses have access). More generally, for up-to-date responses to what Willetts and Cable are saying, and analysis, you should subscribe to Research Fortnight.
This intro extensively revised on 1 July 2010
2010 Most recent at the top
Willetts Interview on the Daily Politics show, 21 June, after withdrawing the loan to Sheffield Forgemasters
Willetts extends state support to "R&D", but not picking winners. It's a rather Cable-like stance in fact, though less effusive. See my commentary here.
Cable speech on growth, 10 June
Cable tackles the question of how to get growth while cutting, but, I think, says less than he seems to.
Cable column on university cuts in his local newspaper, 7 June
In 300 words, Cable gives a clear picture of what universities are facing.
Willetts Comments in the House of Commons, 17 June.
Willetts highlights role of science role in economic growth, but fails to mention third stream funding such as TSB or HEIF, again. Indeed, as I explain in the PS here, he's starting to verge on the hostile - another difference in tone to Cable.
Willetts Interview on BBC Radio 4 Today programme, 10 June
Willetts Interview with the Guardian, 9 June
Willetts warns that the cost of hundreds of thousands of students' degree courses is a "burden on the taxpayer that had to be tackled". The fees system is also "unsustainable" and in need of "radical change".
Cable speech to the Cass Business School, 3 June 2010
Cable outlines his agenda and - rather daringly - backs picking winners, when that phrase is properly understood.
Willetts Speech at the University of Birmingham, 20 May 2010
Willetts sets the scene for his term of office.