Second Part

0:05:07 At Worcester I made good friends; the closest were people like John Monks,  Peter Goodden and Mark Cullingham; I suppose the thing that brings back those years is actually a piece of music; in the very first summer Mark Cullingham had a college rented house in Wellington Square and he was a very keen enthusiast for a piece of music I had never heard before, and always associate with that summer, which is Prokofiev's Classical Symphony; I was driving yesterday and it came on Classic FM, and straight away I was back in that summer of 1961, the first summer we were here; another thing I remember was sitting in the Lower Library after I won the Web Medley Prize, thinking I had a golden future ahead of me, and the Cuban missile crisis appeared; I can remember looking out over this very quadrangle thinking this was all going to be vaporized fairly soon; my memory is really episodic - sounds, smells - but of course, since I have been here continuously since, there is a sense in which any memory I have may well be overlain with things that have happened subsequently; I have never quite distanced myself in the way that the rest of you have from being an undergraduate; I did some acting in the very first term in 'The Apollo of Bellac' which was directed by Henry Weiss who lived in our house, 20 Worcester Place; also in that house were Mark Davis and John Monks; I remember it as a happy time, but then I have had a boringly happy life, in many ways; one person I can remember is Paul Hyams, who really irritated me and probably contributed to quite a number of us doing better than we otherwise would have done; he would come into your room while you were writing, and pick up a piece of paper and point out errors in it; he was a pace setter; one of the things we did not have at Worcester then, but we do have now, is a sense that quite a lot of people are going to get firsts; that becomes cumulative; admittedly the number of firsts have gone up overall, but now something over a third of the college get firsts, and there is a palpable intellectual atmosphere in the College, which I welcome; I don't think it was so in those days; funnily enough, my memory is more concentrated on the people in the year ahead of us - people who were very rich and pretty stupid; we had collections in the Upper Senior Common Room, and you used to stand on the stairs waiting; I remember the collections were always late, and this particular group of rather well-heeled young men were ahead of us on the stairs, chattering away about what the poor old fool would say about their work this time; after they had gone in and had their collection they would come out rather quietly, go back down the stairs and resume their high jinks in Pump Quad where they all had rather grand rooms; there was a big gap between ourselves and the second year because most of them had done National Service, and very few of us had; they seemed considerably older; the atmosphere in my school was much like a boarding school, I rarely got home before six at night and then I would have a couple of hours homework to do, so home was where you slept; we had school all day on Saturday, and when I was a senior boy there was morning service on Sunday as well, so I might as well have been at a boarding school; being at a day school I had encountered girls, but Oxford was very liberating; it is one of the things that is very different about undergraduates now; they have free and easy relationships already before they come up, and they don't want to distance themselves from their parents in the same way that we did; you came up, you sent a trunk on in advance, and you were here for eight weeks; it was very embarrassing if your parents came up, whereas I meet parents now as we have parents' guest nights every term, and they become very integrated into the College and I observe how often they know their children’s friends; I think that is very pleasant; the parents now have often been to university and have some notion of what it is they have to do; the danger is that sometimes they try to interfere too much; my parents were remote, 200 miles away, and didn't go; my father was, on the whole, supremely indifferent to universities; he once asked me, after I had become a Don, what I did all day; there are two things that people remember about Worcester, and I am no exception, they are the people you were friends with and influenced by, and also the sheer beauty of the place; the latter is particularly so for Worcester, as I doubt that people from Exeter or some other colleges would feel that; one of the things I shall miss when I leave this house is the setting sun catching the stone; I remember Mark Cullingham's production of 'Ring Round the Moon' which was staged in the garden under a big plane tree; they lit the bark, and I never pass it without remembering it; Neville Coghill used to stage Shakespeare on the lake; the famous production that he did in 1947-48, which more people claim to have seen than possibly could have, was 'The Tempest'; in the final scene, Ariel ran across the lake on a platform under water, and then up into the trees on the far side of the lake; some years ago the cast reassembled under the tutelage of Godfrey Smith; Ariel was still alive and stood at the edge of the lake and recited his final speech; there was not a dry eye in the house; I remember War on Want lunches when Alistair Small and I would buy huge quantities of cheese, and the College would allow you to opt out of your meal plan and credited War on Want

14:55:11 I went on to Nuffield with the idea that I would do a DPhil; I went there on a Milk Marketing Board scholarship in agricultural economics; by this stage I had met my first wife and she was already well on the way to completing her course as a social worker; I thought I ought to contribute to the family budget so I looked around for a lucrative post-graduate award, and the most lucrative were both in agricultural economics, the Milk Marketing Board and the Pig Industry Development Authority; the Milk Marketing Board wanted me to go to Manchester University which had a very good reputation for agricultural economics, but by that stage I had also got into Nuffield; the Warden intervened on my behalf and the scholarship was transferred here; I went to see Terence Gorman who was the Professor of Mathematical Economics and he gave me a very bad piece of advice; I told him I was a classicist by training, that I happened to have been good at economics but knew it was a fluke, but if I was to become an economist I would absolutely have to do mathematical economics; he suggested that if I did it for two years it was likely I would be only third rate, and that I should set out to be a first-rate non-mathematical economist; that was a bad piece of advice; I should have done what I intended to do and really learnt the grammar of mathematical economics; I taught economics pretty well for ten years, but by the end of that my cover had been blown, and I don't think I would have been fit to teach undergraduates much more; the subject had moved on and in ways that I could not really follow; I had to do something that would suit the Milk Marketing Board so I did my thesis on the use of American food surpluses under their Public Law 480 food surplus as aid to developing countries: I was comparing the direct aid from America bi-laterally to countries through PL 480 with a more roundabout route where they gave PL 480 supplies to the newly established World Food Program which is part of U.N.F.A.O., then the F.A.O. distributed the food; I looked at projects in Turkey which was extremely interesting, and I also looked at what was going on in Rome and in the F.A.O. headquarters; two or three times Alastair Small and I drove down to Italy, he to go to the British School, me to work in F.A.O; then I got a fellowship at St Edmund Hall; these were extraordinary days because all of a generation teaching at Oxford, London and Cambridge went off to be the new professors in the new universities - Sussex, Essex, Warwick, Kent etc.; Dick Sargent who had been my tutor here, went to be the first Professor of Economics at Warwick; John Vaisey who succeeded him here went off fairly quickly to be Professor of Economics at Brunel; my graduate supervisor who was a Fellow of St Edmund Hall was unsettled by all this, but he moved to become the chief economist of a big American multinational food company called W.R. Grace; I more or less stepped into his shoes as Fellow and Tutor in Economics at St Edmund Hall; I remember being interviewed for a fellowship in economic history at St Peter's, which in retrospect would have been a good post to take; the chairman of the selection committee was Professor Sir John Hicks, Oxford's only genuine Nobel prize winner in economics; I told him that I didn't know any economic history and he said that I could get it up; it was a very different world in those days; after I taught for a couple of years at St Edmund Hall John Vaisey left here and went to Brunel, I was asked to come back here; I had a curious non-interview interview; I was already a Fellow of another college so they couldn't interview me, but I knew that I was meeting the interview panel, and they knew that I knew; we discussed how, in principle, one might teach economics; the effect on my DPhil was that my then university supervisor, Arthur Hazlewood, a Fellow of Pembroke, who was very non-interventionist, suggested I stopped doing it; the reasons he gave were that I would be teaching so much I would not have time to do the work, but also that it would be indecent if I got a DPhil; this was 1966-7 and not a single member of the economics faculty in Oxford had a doctorate; it was a very bad mistake not to do it; I had got a long way, and at Hazlewood's suggestion, I did write a long boring article about my thesis;  that was also a mistake because once the theme of your thesis is out in the public domain there is not much point in finishing the thesis because you have made your contribution to scholarship; the article has been cited a couple of times but I had twenty-six files of material in my attic; I had a letter from a graduate student at St Andrews who understood I had a lot of unpublished material about the early years of the World Food Program; he came and read it and I liked him a lot so I gave it to him; he used it; he transferred to Cambridge, got a doctorate, and wrote a book about it afterwards, but I felt so relieved that this albatross had gone from round my neck; I think it would have been useful to have had a doctorate because I have been completely overtaken by events; nobody can teach in a university in Britain now without one; there is a sense in which every job I have had I have felt very lucky to have got

25:36:14 After a couple of years back at Worcester I went on part-time secondment to the Treasury, for what, in the end turned out to be three years; everything in my life happens entirely by accident; this was a result of an ill judged question at a seminar; there was, and still is, a thing in Oxford called the Oxford University Business Summer School which is aimed at bright young businessmen who have not done economics; it is an intensive course, in those days lasting a month, and the pattern was that you had plenary lectures for about forty-five candidates, and you then divided into syndicates of about ten or twelve, in the morning; in the afternoon you did your own work, then in the evening at five there was another lecture, and after dinner somebody from the real world talked about the topic of the day; one of the tutors was in charge of evening session; it was very intensive and hard work, but extremely well paid; I was on duty when Sir Donald McDougall, the Government Chief Economic Advisor, gave an after-dinner talk; Donald had a very quiet voice and was a pretty unimpressive speaker; we all sat around in armchairs, in Merton as I recall it, and pretty well the whole audience was snoozing; Donald got to the end of what he had to say and I had to ask a question as there clearly would not be one from the floor; I asked him to look over the edge of the abyss and tell us how deep it was - this was 1968 - and he looked at me for a long minute and said he had never believed the view, common amongst economists, that a country could not go bankrupt; he did not know but that very morning I had been lecturing on international economics and I had said it was ludicrous to think that countries could go bankrupt; the audience were snoozing but not that much; they woke up and then plied him with the most torrid set of questions for about half an hour until I could bring it to an end; I found myself in the men’s room after the lecture with Sir Donald, and apologised profusely for asking him the question; he said I had better come and find out how difficult it was ; it seemed a good idea and a month later I was in the Treasury; I was put in a thing called FH2 which stood for Finance, Home, second group; we reported to a really bright man called Robert Armstrong, and we did monetary policy; I was there, put in at Donald's request, in order to shadow a really bright young treasury official called Andrew Edwards, who was strongly suspected of being at least covert if not a real monetarist; these were the days of the height of the monetarist-Keynesian debate, and I am, and have always been a very strong believer in the views of that great Fellow of King's; Edwards was much too clever a civil servant not to know that, and equally too clever not to circumvent me perfectly easily; nevertheless, I did monetary policy and found myself part of a group which redesigned the control of the UK banking system which was one of the specialisms I lectured on in the University; we devised between us the thing known as competition and credit control which was promulgated in 1971, and it was an interesting time; the IMF was around, and the great delight, apart from Donald McDougall who had this wonderful way of guessing at forecasts, was working with Michael Posner; he was at Cambridge by then, but was a very Oxford man at Cambridge; I think he was regarded with some suspicion by the more cerebral Cambridge economists as not quite up to the mark; at Cambridge at that time and since was one of my Nuffield contemporaries, namely Bob Rowthorn; he was what I should have turned myself into, namely a mathematical economist

32:29:10 After the three years at the Treasury I came back to Oxford and taught; fairly soon after that I was asked out of the blue to go and have lunch in London with a company which was facing arraignment before the Monopolies and Mergers Commission; I said I was not a micro-economist but they said they understood that I was a very good teacher and that was what they needed as they had to convince the Monopolies and Mergers Commission, and they were not technical economists; the company turned out to be the Pedigree Pet Foods division of Mars; I asked them to define what they regarded as success; that was 100% clean bill of health; they had something like 37% of the market and return on capital employed of 52%; I told them there was no way they would get 100% clean bill of health with those figures, but two and a half years later, we did; that was very stimulating; I was working with Jeremy Lever who was the QC, a Fellow of All Souls, and very bright, having done the MPhil in economics some years before, and a man called John Swift who was his junior, who also became a leading QC; the Monopolies Commission works a bit like a law court, there is a certain sort of adversarial system in it, and once the case was over I let it be known to various friends from the Treasury that we had been allowed to get away with various arguments which we should not have been; I was summoned to see the Minister; I assumed it was to talk about the deficiencies of the government economic service; to my astonishment he asked what I would bring to the monopolies commission as a member; I told him that at that moment it would be a strong sense of the absurd; he told me I was hired; so I found myself on the Monopolies Commission; that was a part-time job, and I did various cases, including on my fortieth birthday writing a memorandum of dissent on a case involving banks where I argued that the Hong Kong Shanghai Bank should be allowed to bid for a British bank in order to introduce more competition; gradually I got more and more senior in the Commission, but I became Deputy Chairman, as a result of another accident; the chief administrator of the Commission is called the Secretary, which always caused difficulties to companies we went to visit because if they put us up in an hotel they usually thought the secretary was very junior; I said to the Secretary after one hearing, which had been extremely badly handled by one of the deputy chairmen who had really let a company off the hook, that if I couldn't do it better than that I should be shot; he told me there was to be a vacancy within a month for a deputy chairman, and was I willing to have my name put forward; I became a deputy chairman which I did for three years; at the same time I was running the Department for Continuing Education; I had stopped being a tutorial fellow here partly because I really felt that I was getting to the point where I wasn't really capable of teaching really bright undergraduates; I stopped teaching in 1976 and took on the role of Director of the Department for External Studies as it was then called; I had always done a lot of lecturing for adult groups, for the Workers Education Association etc., as I really enjoy teaching adults, so I opted for that job and got it; I was running a university department which was largely an administrative job, although I did do WEA classes; having been Chairman of Economics and then Chairman of the Social Studies Faculty Board, I was on the General Board of Faculties; the monopolies job was three years during which time I had three years leave of absence as director of my department; in the last year I was told that the chairman wanted to apply for me to stay on but I didn't hear anything; meanwhile, the General Board was busy electing its next chairman, and they asked me to do it; I said I would, assuming I would not be asked to continue on the Monopolies Commission; two days later, a letter which had been misdirected caught up with me, inviting me to stay on as a deputy chairman for another three years; by that stage I had agreed to take the university post, and that is what I did; I became Chairman of the General Board for two years, and while I was doing that job I was asked if I would allow my name to go forward as Provost, and I said yes

40:55:00 Colin Lucas became Vice-Chancellor in about 1997; I was a final contender, but to be perfectly frank, I wouldn't have got me that far; I was disappointed in the way that one is, but in many ways it had turned out for the better because I have hugely enjoyed the job here, and I am not sure I would have enjoyed being Vice-Chancellor; in those days the Vice-Chancellor did retain whatever substantive job he had so Colin Lucas remained Master of Balliol, but it is very difficult for the College as they have to appoint somebody in your stead; the advantages that the Vice-Chancellor gets to use his official residence associated with his college job, whereas when the possibility of having a so-called professional Vice-Chancellor arose, the University bought a house for him; it is a nice house, but not a patch on this; Hood had been my graduate student and I was on the committee that appointed him; I also visited him in New Zealand; I think he misread the situation when he came in; the university's finances were extremely foggy; we had done exactly the same thing that Cambridge had done which was introduce a new accounting system based on Oracle; we thought we could avoid all the mistakes that Cambridge made, but we did not; at the time the management of the university's finance division was not up to the task; I think John interpreted this as evidence of a deep structural weakness in the way the university worked and sought to impose a different model, essentially a North American State University model where there would be a board of regents; what was actually flawed was his reading of the situation, because one of the good things that he did - (John was an absolutely first rate chief financial officer, but perhaps not the temperament and personality to be a good chief executive officer or chairman) - was to appoint a very good director of finance; the fog lifted, the University had a miraculous turnaround suggesting that the situation had never been as bad in the first place, but John persisted with his deep structural reforms and was defeated by Congregation; as it happened I had pulmonary embolism and then pneumonia in the Spring of that year when John was introducing his reforms; when I got out of hospital almost the first phone call that I had was from the Head of another College telling me that I must call my dogs off; I asked what he meant and he said the people who were persecuting John Hood and making his life a misery; I did not believe him, but I was wrong; there were at least two fellows of the College who were in the inner group that opposed John; but I would not have interfered in any case, partly because I thought they were right, and that John was trying to reform the University in a way which cut across the grain; the notion that the University is full of silly old fuddy-duddies who are all right-wing, is just absurd; the whole political centre of this university and Cambridge will be to the left of centre by quite a long way; it is not that they are not capable of radical thinking, it just is that they were not convinced that this model - a board of trustees with various things under it - was what was required, and I think they were right;  Alison Richard, John's counterpart in Cambridge, went about things much more quietly and really rather well; on the power of colleges, as we look at Cambridge, it always seems that we are weak and Cambridge Colleges are strong; Cambridge Colleges are certainly richer on the whole; it is true that there is the joint appointment system in Oxford which is not so in Cambridge; prior to my candidacy for the Vice-Chancellorship, I had been on the North Committee which proposed reforms to how Oxford worked; I voted in the end for the continuation of the joint appointment system; if I was now on a committee, I would not; I think there are advantages and disadvantages in both systems, and I think that now the balance has shifted in favour of the Cambridge system; the argument was whether you think that academics are capable of governing themselves; I think they are, and it is better that they do; I worry about the increasing incidence of "professional managers" even in universities; although I have been a strong supporter of Management Studies in Oxford and taught quite a lot for the predecessors of the Said Business School, I really do not believe there is much that is scientific about management science; I basically don't believe that there are a set of transferable skills which can be moved from the health service one week to running something else another week, or from running a major company and then a university; I think this is rubbish; I think you have to understand properly, down to quite a fine level of detail, what it is you are trying to manage; I think that is often better done by people who know where the bodies are

52:09:10 At Worcester, I don't think I am trying to manage anything, but am trying to facilitate; this is the Smethurst theory of academic management - I don't think that you are managing in the sense that you are managing a company; I actually said to John Hood that the job is similar to managing a shopping mall, it is where it is, it is not going to move anywhere else; your job is to keep the streets swept, the shops attractive, and to have good people passing through; sometimes the shops will change hands, which is good; you have got to facilitate, to enable, in film parlance, you are not a director, but a producer; you bring together the resources and let other people flourish, that is my theory of what we are supposed to do; I think you have to recognise that in a university like this or Cambridge, however good a degree you have there is a group of people who are just way beyond it; what you have to do is not be threatened by that, but just to take pleasure in it; you delight in it because you are enough of an academic to see what their skills are; that is true for the  Fellows; whether I have succeeded, I don't know; for the kids it is rather the same; they are very talented, and I think they are better-rounded people than we were, with more skills, although the degree to which they have followed anything to any depth is much less than was true in our day; I think the job of an Oxford or Cambridge College is to allow people to develop their own all-round talents to the highest degree; that is not very easy to put down in terms of targets and achievements, but is extremely important; it gives me pleasure when good people get firsts, or act well, play music well, or are good at sport; one of my children went to another college and told me that the address given to freshers was that they were there to work, work, work and work; what I say to freshers is “if all you ever do while you are here in Oxford is work, you are wasting your time; if you never go into the Ashmolean, or the Playhouse, or a concert in the Sheldonian, you have wasted your time”; I think we are trying to allow people room to grow under challenging circumstances; I think it is important we challenge them; it is extremely important that they are challenged academically, which was not true when we were undergraduates; we are much fiercer on their academic progress where we take collections, both in terms of end of term reports and college examinations, much more seriously; it is much more competitive to get into the college than it was, indeed one of the things I am most proud about is that, partly as a consequence of this big building programme I have led over the last seven or eight years, for the last five or six years we have had more applicants than any other college by quite a long way; that gives us more choice so we can choose really good people and make it a place where they really develop their talents; when I contrast this with my younger step-daughter who went to Sussex, she was absolutely determined she was not going to Oxford or Cambridge; she is very tall and fit, and at freshers week in any Oxbridge college she would be put into a boat, and she would have loved it; equally, she has grade 8 clarinet and would have been in a College orchestra; at Sussex, neither, because in a unitary university you have to be very good to be in a university orchestra, but in a collegiate university you just have to be quite good; I think that that difference is the key thing that differentiates and justifies the collegiate system, but it is hugely expensive; it does allow people to have a go at something in a kind of unthreatened way