Sir Ivor Crewe

This evening I dined at High Table at University College as a guest of the Master, Sir Ivor Crewe. Many moons ago, as a callow PhD student, I visited Sir Ivor at Essex University, for long his academic stronghold. I was interested in empirical measurements of how much constituents knew their MEPs (at the time, surely very little). Sir Ivor countered by pointing out that, actually, constituents knew very little about their Westminster MPs. He had written a book on the subject. The book never got published and, in an act I have never forgotten, Sir Ivor gave me the original typescript. This was in the days before ubiquitous photocopiers. I was deeply impressed and very grateful. It was, therefore, with characteristic generosity that Sir Ivor and his wife, Jill, graciously hosted drinks and dinner this evening. I explained to Jill how the late, great Maurice Shock gave me my first big break in life by encouraging ‘Univ.’ to open up its selection procedures to students from state schools and relatively modest origins. I was a happy beneficiary of this enlightened approach. She, in return, explained how Univ., commendably, has maintained the tradition and has one of the most active outreach programmes of any of the Oxford colleges. It was, quite simply, good to be back.