Lord Mandelson has managed to secure an impressive line-up for his review of university funding, which is expected to recommended that top-up fees be increased. Lord Browne, who spent his life in BP, rising from lowly graduate recruit to CEO, is widely admired for his expertise and will be ably supported, among others, by Sir Michael Barber, the former head of Tony Blair's delivery unit, the economist Diane Coyle, formerly of this newspaper, and Professor David Eastwood, Vice-Chancellor of Birmingham University and one of the cleverest minds in higher education. Moreover he has managed to keep the NUS happy by including a young person, Ranjay Naik, who used be on the English Secondary Students Association.
The two main parties have been criticised by the Lib Dems and some newspapers for agreeing on an inquiry that will report after the next election, thus removing the issue from the party political knockabout. We think, however, that this is the right thing to do. For a highly-charged issue of this kind where misinformation and exaggeration abound, it is right to leave deliberations to independent experts who can weigh up the evidence and come to cool decisions.