Politics 9 April 2010 Attack of the academics Profs turn on the Tories. Sign UpGet the New Statesman's Morning Call email. Sign-up Colin Talbot, professor of public policy and management at Manchester Business School, has told the FT and BBC Radio that Conservative plans to save up to £2bn of government spending by controlling public-sector recruitment would translate roughly as cuts of up to 40,000 jobs. Meanwhile, Tim Besley, the professor of economics at the LSE who back in February co-ordinated a letter by "deficit hawks" to the Sunday Times supporting spending cuts by the Tories, told the Guardian that too much "election froth" over tax reduction risked distracting voters from the importance of "deficit reduction". And in a letter to the Independent, 22 leading British scientists praised Labour's "strong record of commitment to science and science-based enterprise", adding: The international science journal Nature . . . recently called the Conservatives a "vision-free zone". The Conservatives' continuing failure to address this critique is making us concerned that this lack of vision actually reflects a lack of commitment. Those of us who have long pointed out that the Tories have no policies on certain vital issues, and contradictory and ill-conceived policies on others, now seem to have the backing of some of the country's leading academics. Nice. (Hat-tip to Left Foot Forward for the references.) UPDATE: On the specific issue of the Tories and their business friends tying themselves up in knots over deficit reduction versus tax reduction, I think Dan Roberts made the right point in the Guardian: "Until recently many business leaders were united around Tory calls for more fiscal discipline and belt tightening. Now they appear to favour lower taxes over lower deficits -- a contradiction that has been slow to filter through the growing political noise." › Has Twitter ended this man’s political career? Mehdi Hasan is a contributing writer for the New Statesman and the co-author of Ed: The Milibands and the Making of a Labour Leader. He was the New Statesman's senior editor (politics) from 2009-12. Subscribe For more great writing from our award-winning journalists subscribe for just £1 per month!