Tuesday, 28 December 2010

'Old Norse ... Makes Our Country Civilised'

The quotation above comes from an interview with David Willetts, the Universities Minister, on the Guardian website back in October, which I've only just caught up with. The minister claims to 'care' about Old Norse, but in effect says it will be cut (for a good analysis of what he is really saying, see this recent entry in Seph Brown's blog).
My own blog concentrates on the lighter side of Norse and Viking life, and is an entirely frivolous (though enjoyable to me and, I hope, others) supplement to my day job. But let it never be forgotten that even such frivolities would not be possible without a lifetime spent studying Old Norse, and then all that goes with it. The minister's statement, coupled with the government's unashamed attack on academic subjects that do not bring an instant pecuniary reward (most of them, surely?) demonstrates quite clearly that the government does not actually want the country to be civilised. Tremble, everyone, tremble...

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