Centre for Jewish studies
felt ambivalent reading David Friers letter (Reporter
472), reminding us of Vasco da Gamas discovery
of the sea route to India in 1497-8.
(standard enough) use of terms such as charting
the seas and maritime exploration, or
the progress of many of the modern sciences which
made long-distance navigation a feasible proposition,
implies disinterested and peaceful scientific work; I
am glad that Dr Friers last sentence explicitly
mentions European overseas "expansion".
After all, trade routes (sea and land) between India and
Europe had functioned for half a millennium previously;
they just werent controlled by European powers.
Muslims, Jews and diverse Indian communities had shared
the Portuguese reached the Malabar Coast, they werent
content with sharing. To the bewilderment of the locals
and foreign Jewish and Muslim traders, they opened fire
and conquered. Thats what exploration was all about.
first step in ethical investments
was good to see that the University has decided to disinvest
from tobacco products. I hope that ethical concerns will
inform other areas of investment as well. Organisations
like Eiris allow investors to make knowledgeable choices
by providing detailed information, not only on a companys
products, but also the way it is managed, whether in terms
of equal opportunities policy or waste disposal.
own wish is that the University would remove any investment
from companies engaged in the manufacture or sale of armaments:
Britain is second only to the USA in the export of arms.
is a recent phenomenon
Taylors letter (Reporter 473) arrived just as Id
been giving some thought to the basis of British pacifism.
1945 there has been only one year 1968 when
a British serviceman has not been killed in some war.
The 16th, 17th and 18th centuries were crowded with wars
in which we played an integral and frequently an aggressive
part. We fought with the Dutch against the Spanish, the
French against the Dutch, the Germans against the French,
the French against the Russians, the French and Italians
against the Germans, the French, Russians and Americans
against the Germans and Italians.
we have a strong pacifist movement, which holds that all
war is evil. It is a fairly recent phenomenon. Im
not aware of any pacifism in relation to Spain in the
16th, the Dutch in the 17th, or the French in the 18th
century. What gave a tremendous moral basis to pacifism
was the carnage on the western front in WW1, but it did
not have that effect in Germany or France, where the carnage
was even greater: in the latter case it gave rise to a
Maginot mentality very different from
pacifism. Russia has never been a democracy and its various
rulers have never permitted such sentiments.
notion that you turn the other cheek to aggression is
based on the teachings of Christ, but I doubt whether
the moral basis of pacifism was ever Christian at all
after all the churches were behind the state in
the anti-German wars of those times. No its moral
basis came from socialism, in the notion that all evils
derived from capitalism: all you had to do was get rid
of capitalism for everyone to be happy and peaceful. This
theory carefully circumnavigated the fact that wars had
existed on a large scale long before capitalism arrived.
Moreover some of the advocates of socialism were prepared
to use terror as a weapon: W. H. Audens poem Spain
(1937) required conscious acceptance of guilt in
the necessary murder; however he shot off to the
capitalist USA the moment the European stage of WW2 began.
The bloody arrival of socialism in the USSR did not prevent
war, and the activities of Herr Hitler put paid to pacifism,
for a while, in this country.
later attempts of the USSR to harness a peace movement
to its own international power games did not impress the
Great British Public, but some fairly large numbers were
prepared to join anti-nuclear marches, which did not exist
anywhere else in Europe on this scale. This too requires
own contribution is that the British, and to be more specific
the English, have over centuries developed a culture of
free thinking based on the virtual impossibility of foreign
conquest. The basis of this freedom is our geographical
inaccessibility, reinforced by the existence of the Royal
Navy. There is a certain irony in the fact that the great
peace demonstrations are held in Trafalgar Square.
pioneered combined studies
was sad to learn of the deaths of Fred Holliman and his
wife Dora. The University quite properly acknowledged
his substantial contribution to its life and organisation.
was not adequately recognised was his very imaginative
and thoughtful establishment of combined studies in science,
the first of its kind in the country. In four short years,
he laid the basis of a very successful system. As one
of my colleagues said, he was a trailblazer. He decided
that the standard of admission and of the courses had
to be high, comparable at least to those of the honours
courses in the contributing departments. The two subjects
had to be of equal standing, neither subsidiary to the
other. The method of determining the final joint classification
was carefully worked out. Syllabuses were agreed. A sympathetic
and eminent first external examiner was appointed. All
students were given support throughout their undergraduate
years and thereafter as needed.
both I as his immediate successor, and Chris Hatton as
mine, added to and developed combined studies (now joint
honours) in different ways, we built on the sound foundations
laid down by Professor Holliman. The success of the system
in Leeds (and to some extent of similar systems established
elsewhere) owes much to him.