The worst-kept secret of academia is exposed today by a survey of university politics departments for The Independent on Sunday. Politics lecturers and professors were asked to name their heroes, and their choices betray their left-wing sympathies.
Clement Attlee, post-war Labour Prime Minister, was the only hero to collect two nominations, while other Labour legends included Aneurin Bevan and Ken Livingstone. The only Marxist on the list is Marshal Tito, the post-war dictator of Yugoslavia, outnumbered by icons of the radical liberal tradition, David Lloyd George and T H Green, and women's rights campaigners Mary Wollstonecraft and Sylvia Pankhurst.
The only Conservative on the list is Duff Cooper - an unusual preference over Winston Churchill and Margaret Thatcher. The only other right-of-centre political hero named by our panel is General de Gaulle, wartime leader of the Free French and president of the Fifth Republic.
Five of the 18 academics interviewed by Communicate Research for the IoS refused to name a hero at all. "I have different heroes for all sorts of different reasons," said Justin Fisher, head of politics at Brunel University. "Among those who wrote about politics, Alan Clark is a bit of hero. Give me Clark any time over the dreary nonsense Tony Benn writes."Reuse content