Discrediting expertise and experts has made reaching hearts and minds more difficult. In the era of fake news, who still needs rigorous research? Everyone is the answer, of course. But our employers instead prefer to seize an opportunity this wave of current anti-intellectualism offers to them, forcing drastic cuts to our pensions which will leave us up to 20% poorer if and when we reach retirement. Yes, because research shows that life expectancy under the Conservative government is stalling and pension age is raising.
Facts seem to have become a disposable commodity these days. We are going through a phase of evidence-free policy making and post-truth politics, known in Trump’s America as fake-newsism. “I will call an expert!” has replaced the bogeyman as parents’ favourite to frighten children into good behaviour. Tory ministers and MPs dismiss any evidence (from academic researchers as well as civil servants) that doesn’t align with their ideological goals. Being an academic has become a sort of swear word, something to whisper at dinner parties (if you venture outside the university towns). The loss of status in society has offered an unmissable opportunity to academics’ employers, the universities and they are trying to seize it by pushing a draconian reform of the pension scheme of academics, that will leave them up to 20% poorer on retirement.
In this context, reaching hearts and minds with rational arguments and rigorous research has…
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