Saif Gaddafi, the son, and apparent political heir, of the late Libyan despot Muammar Gaddafi, famoussy received a doctorate in philosophy from the London School of Economics and Political science for a thesis on civil society and global governance. Doubts exist about its originality and about whether Gaddafi wrote much of it himself, or the papers he wrote for graduate course. Gaddafi is currently in prison awaiting trial for regime crimes. The raising against his father sparked concern about the relations of father and son with LSE.
A regime linked foundation donated money to LSE through its now extinct Global Governance centre. Alia Brahimi (who was involved in spending the money), a long standing research fellow at LSE can be seen on YouTube holding a sycophantic video interview with Muammar Gaddafi on LSE premises. David Held, who is well known for academic work on civil society and cosmopolitanism was the key figure, and had input into Saif Gaddafi’s thesis was the key man for the money raising and links with the Gaddafi family. The thesis was supervised by Nancy Cartwright, a very well know figure in philosophy of science, whose interests extend to the use of evidence in public policy (presumably why she was supervising Gaddafi).
The director of LSE at the time of the Gadaffi links, which lead to LSE being known as the Libyan School of Economics, was Howard Davies. He did the honourable thing and resigned in March 2011, when the uprising against the Gaddafi regime, and Saif Gaddafi’s role in the attempted crushing of that uprising, focused attention of Saif Gadaffi’s time at LSE and the financier l links LSE had with the regime. David Held transferred to the University of Durham in January of this year. While no one from LSE is saying that they asked Held to find another post, it’s obvious that is what happened, whether through explicit request or through less direct signals.
Today I’ve leaned that Nancy Cartwright is transferring to Durham. I’ve no idea what attitude the LSE administration had to her role in the Gadaffi shenanigans, but could this be complete coincidence? She will be the founding head of a ‘Centre for Knowledge and the Public Good’. Held himself is a College Master at Durham. Durham is a very good university, one of the most difficult to get into, and with one of the best philosophy departments in Britain. It’s a famous old cathedral city, with beautiful buildings and countryside. There is certainly no disgrace for Held and Cartwright being there for them, or for Durham considering their many academic achievements. Nevertheless, it looks like Cartwright might have paid a price for being swept along in the unwise enthusiasm to have Saif Gaddafi as a doctoral student at LSE, and to use his links with his father’s regime. In that case, you might wander why Alia Brahimi is still at LSE, and maybe other people linked with the Global Governance centre, that was funded by the late despot of Libya.