Obituary: Professor David Regan

Professor David Regan, born Chatham, Kent 9 July 1939; Francis Hill Professor of Local Government, Nottingham University 1978-94, Head of Politics Department 1991-94; married (three daughters); died Nottingham 25 July 1994.

THE resumed inquest into the death of David Regan ended yesterday with a verdict of suicide. The 55-year-old Professor of Local Government and head of the Department of Politics at Nottingham University died from carbon monoxide poisoning on 25 July 1994 in his garage on the university campus.

In six letters he left to friends and prominent public figures, Regan expressed his anger and despair about the way he felt the university was being run. He had voiced his dismay over a number of decisions made by the university's management group in the last year or two, including the notice to vacate his house on campus served on him by the university.

Regan was appointed Francis Hill Professor of Local Government at Nottingham in 1978 after working as a lecturer and senior lecturer at the London School of Economics. There he had studied, achieving a BSc (Economics) First Class and a PhD. For his PhD he had researched political parties and local government in New Zealand. Despite his glittering start his publications came more slowly though he was the author of a well-received book Local Government And Education (1978). At Nottingham he threw himself into teaching and administration including university committees and soon became a well-known figure. After becoming head of Politics in 1991 he fought hard for resources for his relatively small department but he felt he and his colleagues were undervalued. He was popular with his students whom he tried to get to know


Among his many interests on campus was the Defence Diners' Club, which brought town and gown together to discuss defence issues. Although the university was the main focus of Regan's professional interest, he made many outside contributions.

Regan was seen by some as a reactionary but by himself simply as an upholder of traditional values and institutions. Himself a product of grammar school education, he supported selective education with a good scholarship system to help those, like himself, from families of modest means. He was not against innovation, however, and played a leading role in the setting up of the City Technology College in Nottingham. He was a member of the Schools Examination and Assessment Council and the National Curriculum Council and an adviser to successive education ministers. A strong supporter of the police, who on one occasion intervened physically to help a policeman in Newark, he opposed the Sheehy Committee's proposals on police pay and conditions. He was a guest lecturer at the Police College. Although he was against the ordination of women clergy by the Church of England, as a father of three daughters he backed higher education for women.

While he was a member of the Bruges Group, rejecting a federal Europe, Regan emphasised that he was not against British membership of the European Community. He had publicly supported the restoration of German unity. He attracted most controversy by his strong advocacy of Nato and his passionate opposition to Soviet-style Communism. In Nottingham he was for some years chairman of ONE - Oppressed Nations of Europe - which brought together the local communities from the Baltic states, Poland, the Ukraine and elsewhere. He went beyond conventional views on the Soviet empire and defended the right of the peoples of the Soviet Union, as well as those of East Europe, to achieve independence from Moscow. For this he was attacked as a Cold War warrior. Some professional Slavists and Kremlin watchers attacked him as an amateur.

After his predictions came true, and the Soviet empire collapsed, some hated him even more. In the former Soviet bloc, especially the Baltic states and former Czechoslovakia, he was a welcome visitor and adviser. He helped to give East European academics the opportunity to spend time in Nottingham and elsewhere. His wife Dorothy supported him in his many activities.

Whatever his future at Nottingham University - and this was something which had preyed upon his mind - David Regan had a bright future ahead of him either in education or in other fields. Although not a member of the Conservative Party he could have expected to gain a seat in the Lords under Conservative auspices. His strange going is therefore seen by some colleagues as a deliberate act to draw attention to what he considered to be wrong in the running of Nottingham University.

Just as he will have an honourable place in the annals of the London School of Economics and Nottingham University, he will no doubt also have one on the lists of enemies held by the Communist secret police of the countries of the former Eastern Bloc.

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs People

HR Assistant / Human Resources Assistant

£Neg + Excellent Benefits: Guru Careers: An HR Assistant / Human Resources Ass...

Talent Community Coordinator

£Neg + Excellent Benefits: Guru Careers: A Talent Community Coordinator is nee...

Business Support - Banking - Halifax - £250 pd

£150 - £250 per day: Orgtel: HR Analyst - Banking - HR - Halifax - £150 - £250...

Geography Teacher

£24000 - £33600 per annum + pre 12 week AWR : Randstad Education Manchester Se...

Day In a Page

Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride
10 best reed diffusers

Heaven scent: 10 best reed diffusers

Keep your rooms smelling summery and fresh with one of these subtle but distinctive home fragrances that’ll last you months
Commonwealth Games 2014: Female boxers set to compete for first time

Female boxers set to compete at Commonwealth Games for first time

There’s no favourites and with no headguards anything could happen
Five things we’ve learned so far about Manchester United under Louis van Gaal

Five things we’ve learned so far about United under Van Gaal

It’s impossible to avoid the impression that the Dutch manager is playing to the gallery a little
Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

Screwing your way to the top?

Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
Will the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?

Will Britons fighting in Syria be able to resume their lives?

Tony Blair's Terrorism Act 2006 has made it an offence to take part in military action abroad with a "political, ideological, religious or racial motive"
Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter, the wartime poster girl who became a feminist pin-up

Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter

The wartime poster girl became the ultimate American symbol of female empowerment
The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones: Are custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?

The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones

Earphones don't fit properly, offer mediocre audio quality and can even be painful. So the quest to design the perfect pair is music to Seth Stevenson's ears
US Army's shooting star: Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform

Meet the US Army's shooting star

Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform