Leading article: In the spotlight

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Should our academics play a bigger part in the intellectual life of the nation? Some speakers at this month's conference of the British Sociological Association thought that they should. But people in this country have traditionally given intellectuals short shrift, regarding them as boring or a bit of a joke. If academics are to take centre stage, they have got to have something relevant to say, and they have to say it articulately and with style, as Germaine Greer does, or articulately and with modesty, as Lord Winston does. Too often, they are unable to communicate their ideas in simple language to a general audience.