Friday, November 14, 2014

George Watson remembered

I suggested in yesterday's post on George Watson that his death may have gone unnoticed, but it seems that was not the case.

There were obituaries in Times Higher Education, on the St John's College, Cambridge, website and (though it is no longer easily available) The Times.

And the journalist and former England cricketer Ed Smith devoted an article to him in the New Statesman. This showed him as an academic as well as a politician:
During the upheavals within English studies in the 1970s and 1980s, he was among the first and most strident opponents of deconstruction. He also charted, with mischievous delight, the migration of ex-Marxists towards new creeds that helped them to avoid dealing with awkward wrong turns in their pasts. 
“There is one important respect in which politics is more honest than academe,” he wrote in 2005. “In politics, when you are shown to be wrong, you have to change your mind to survive. Professors are unfortunately under no such compulsion . . . Ex-Marxists took refuge in subjectivism: no perception is false, all values are merely personal. It turned out to be a cosy place for the disillusioned.”
Many thanks to the excellent Backwatersman for sending me the link to this piece.

Thanks also to my Liberator colleague Stewart Rayment for telling me that George Watson stood as the Liberal candidate for the Leicester constituency in the 1979 elections to the European parliament.

I voted in York in that election, so I missed the chance to vote for him.

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