I see that Nick Clegg is threatening universities with all sorts of punishments if they don't do as they are told about "fair access". Not quite the freedom that institutions were promised, I note. Not very liberal either. Just another politician seeing universities as "creatures of Whitehall to be bossed around by ministers" as Iain Martin blogged recently. And all this despite institutions' efforts over many years to widen access and build relationships with schools which are to count for little it seems; in the end it will be a crude numbers exercise. Clegg sounds increasingly like Gordon Brown in his Laura Spence moment, no doubt trying to curry some favour after breaking all those promises to students, and just a little bit embarrassed about the decline in social mobility which he and the Cabinet (and the Labour front bench) represents. I'm not the only person to note that lowering access grades seems a cheaper policy than raising school standards. Pity.