In the summer, ELSA, the English Learning and Sustainability Alliance, wrote to David Willetts MP (now reshuffled off the ministerial coil). The focus, broadly speaking, was to wonder whether the Department for Business, Industry and Skills [BIS] might pump some lead into Hefce's increasingly limp sustainability pencil.
The response took many months, but the delay happily allowed Greg Clark MP (the new Willetts) to trot out a bunch of odorous nonsense to the effect that, because Hefce has been feted by UNESCO's recent end of term report, all must be well. As such, we are invited by Clark to:
"... share [his] delight in the recent favourable verdict on Hefce's work in ... sustainability".
Well, I won't, as I see that aspect of the UNESCO report as utterly self-serving in these matters; that is, those who've been on the receiving end of Hefce largesse over the years have contributed to the report saying, unsurprisingly, how well Hefce has done. There's a word for this sort of thing.
The point is that the ELSA enquiry was about the future, whereas Clark's lazy response is all about the past. Hefce used to walk the talk in these matters; now, it doesn't even talk it. From world-leading to world-trailing in short order. Quite a triumph for BIS, Hefce, and its sustainability-sceptic leadership. All very sad and quite unnecessary.