Maggie & the OU

I was at an OU Graduation Ceremony at the Barbican a couple of weeks ago. In his address the Chancellor, Lord Puttnam, spoke briefly about the origins of the University, and in addition to the usual mention of Harold Wilson and Jennie Lee, paid tribute to Margaret Thatcher, who turned out to be a powerful supporter. Walter Perry, in his book “The Open University” recalls a meal with her: She suggested first that our main activity would be to offer courses on ‘hobbies’. I fear that I needle very easily […] The exchanges were sharp, short and furious. I am happy to say that , in spite of it all, we ended on a friendly note. […] When she became Minister of Education after the Tory victory in 1970 we had reason to be glad of that dinner.

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