Ask Jeremy!
The SAVE UCL Campaign is delighted and honoured that the great sage and utilitarian JEREMY BENTHAM has agreed to become this website's agony uncle.

Please e-mail Jeremy any queries or concerns you have relating to the UCL/Imperial proposals and he will provide his answers on this page. He undertakes to respect anonymity if requested, even from Sir Derek Roberts or Sir Richard Sykes.

Jeremy's first plea was received from 'Anxious', of the Institute of Archaeology:

 Dear Jeremy, why did these proposals come from out of the blue and why are they being steamrollered through? Is there any hope of withstanding them?

Jeremy's reply:

Dear Anxious,
I share your consternation at the importunate rapidity with which Provost Roberts is advancing his arguments. He has yet, indeed, to provide any evidence of his warrant to proceed in this manner, since his remit on re-appointment was, not to do away with our institution but to provide for its reinforcement.

It was ever the case in this world, alas, that what has been painstakingly constructed over centuries may be reduced to rubble within moments. The attempt to effect the present destruction within a very short scale of time seems to me to argue in itself that its supporters are very conscious of serious inherent defects, which proper consideration would make manifest, in their proposals to incorporate a combined institution with Imperial College.

I therefore suggest that the proper course is for all those of resource, reputation and goodwill, to ally themselves so as to ensure that a proper period of consideration and discussion is set aside, in which the implications of these proposals may be thoroughly investigated. Certainly the period until December the 19th is most pitifully inadequate for such a serious task.


Jeremy also received the following mysterious message from  'Delboy' of UCL

Watch it, Jerry boy, everyone else is against me, and I don't need any aggro from you! You're just asking to be permanently locked up in that box of yours. Don't forget I've got your head in the UCL safe - funny things can happen to unattached skulls, you know.....

Jeremy's reply:

Dear Delboy,
It has been my habit and recreation to consider over the years the criminal and anti-social character. Your bearing, language and general behaviour, as instanced in your communication, induce me to consider that it were better for society if you were maintained under observation in a Panopticon than allowed to follow whatever pursuit or duties it may be that you undertake in University College. Your threats I treat with contempt, and I advise the same course to anyone else against whom you try to employ them.

 A query from our scientific community:

Dear Jeremy, Is it right to suspect an easy road for the introduction of top-up fees following any merger?
Yours faithfully,
Concerned (Physics and Astronomy)

Dear Concerned,
I much regret that there seems to be some dissimulation about this issue.
Ratiocination has led me to conclude that Sir Derek and Sir Richard had received privy advice from the First Lord of the Treasury, the Rt. Hon. Mr. Blair, that his government was in principle prepared to concede to them the right to levy additional revenues from students at some future date. This decision of the government was to have been revealed in a publication in November, which would have given apparent ammunition to those advocating a merger. However the spontaneous collpase and resignation of the Secretary for Education has now meant that this policy change will be delayed until January and perhaps even reviewed. I am hopeful that this incertitude may in itself cause members of the College Council to hesitate before pressing on with Sir Derek's folly.
Sir Derek has presented himself as quite dissociated from Sir Richard on the issue of top-up fees and has maintained that fees and the merger are 'separate issues'. This however is highly disingenuous, although it does allow the two Principals to operate on what I understand is called in modern jargon the 'Mutt and Jeff', or 'Tough Cop, Soft Cop' basis. The fees are a prerequisite for enabling whst Sir Derek hubristically entitles his 'university for the third millennium'. There can I fear be little doubt that, given government permission, fees would follow a merger as swiftly as a mongoose up a mouzhik's pantaloons. Any impartial review of the several statements of Sir Richard Sykes on this issue would reveal, from the relish that he evidences while discussing finance,  that it is the prospect of such rivers of gold which has excited him to embark on this speculative venture.
 26 Cheshvan, 5763
Dear Jeremy,
I have sought in vain for any indication of a future for the humanities departments of UCL in Sir Derek's 'worldbeater' university. I am very perplexed.
Maimonides, Dept. of Hebrew and Jewish Studies.
Jeremy replies:
Dear Maimonides,
The conclusion to be drawn from the failure of your search is only too self-evident.
Editor's note - we have received a sensational numerological interpretation of the merger crisis in response to Maimonides' enquiry
 Dear Jeremy,
When I first read of the merger proposal I thought you would turn in your grave ... but fortunately you don't have one !
Last year was difficult for many of us here at UCL - and coincided with your absence. I was very glad to see you back over the summer, in a greatly improved state of health. I seek your assurances that you will not leave us again.
In your will you entrust your executors to arrange, from time-to-time, gatherings of "your friends and disiples" - at which you would like to be present. May I be so bold as to request that your executors hold, in your honour, a "Welcome back party", at which your friends and disciples may benefit from words of Wisdom you have to offer us?
Your humble servant
Dr Tiny Farmer, Lecturer in the Faculty of Enigmatic Silences
Dear Dr. Farmer,
I am most indebted for your kind words of confidence in me. As throughout life I sought the greatest good for the greatest number, I assure you that I continue to advocate this principle insofar as an Auto-Icon has the capacity to do so.
I was in fact delighted to be present last Wednesday when the worthy founders of the Save UCL Campaign met outside my box (which some ruffian had ordered closed and locked) and resolved to prosecute the objectives set out elswhere on this site. In accordance with tradition, my name was appended to their resolution as 'present but not voting'.
Should you, and others, wish to celebrate in my vicinity when the present ridiculous proposals have been abjured and overthrown, I would assure you of my entire approbation and fellow-feeling.
 Dear Jeremy,
What about the effect of the merger on UL and particularly the smaller colleges. Are they likely to go to the wall as a result of this, and shouldn't possibility be addressed as part of the merger consideration?

Dear Troubled,
It is not without mixed feelings that I contemplate the implications for the other limbs and members of the so-called 'University of London' - 'so-called' because of course that was the original title of our present College, villanously appropriated some hundred years ago. Moreover, one of its major constituents, Kings College, was founded in a deliberate attempt to combat and undermine the educational advances which the benefactors of our college were pioneering. Nonetheless, time heals all wounds. We should now recognise that the significant destabilisation resulting from a combined UCL and Imperial will undoubtedly signal the end of UL as it stands and that its members will be forced to sink or to swim - in effect, to form their own mergers in order to survive . The resulting miscegenations may be indeed as vile, vulgar, purposeless as that proposed for UCL.  The prospect is unappetising from every point of view.
 Dear Mr. Bentham,
We would point out that by Royal Charter, the College is constituted "for ever hereafter Body Corporate and Politic by the name of University College London with perpetual succession and a Common Seal." Many procedures are defined therewithin, including that for removal of the Provost, by whose treasonable activities We are not amused.
We possess a copy of this document  which We perhaps should make available to you for public viewing on your most
excellent website.
We regret having come forward with this information at a late stage, due to Our recent involvement in defending one of Our loyal servants recently wrongfully subjected to unnecessary legal action.
Yours Graciously
Jeremy replies:
I am most deeply indebted to Your Majesty for Your support.


 Dear Jeremy,
I recently took over my office here from some old bint whose name I have forgotten, and ever since I have been pestered with phone-calls from your playmates Delboy and Dicky asking when I'm going to 'come up with the top-ups'. Seems they have some scam going which they think could make them go big-time, and if I only put out my White Paper this month it would help them with their December deadline. Well you can tell them from me it ain't coming till January the earliest. And if they don't like it, they know what they can do.
Charlie Fungus (Rt. Hon).
Jeremy replies:
I should be grateful if anyone were able to interpret this inscrutable communication for me.