Friday, September 30, 2005

From the Department of Not Very Important, but ...

The BBC reports this morning:

Gordon Brown has been appointed chancellor for the second time.

Best known as Chancellor of the Exchequer, the Fife MP has now been chosen as Scotland's first college chancellor.

He was handed the title by the Adam Smith College, in his constituency of Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath.
Mr Brown will attend graduation ceremonies and act as an ambassador for the college locally, nationally and internationally.

College principal Dr Craig Thomson said: "Scotland's colleges are central to the development of a smart, successful future for Scotland.

"The visible support of such a prominent individual as the chancellor is a vote of confidence in the role that we play."

The college was created in August, following the merger of Glenrothes College and Fife College.”

It’s not only good for the College, it is also good for a local MP who is heading to lead the Labour Party as Prime Minister – it cements his already formidable links with his constituency. It’s called covering one’s ass in the unlikely event that someday a potential rival emerges locally to challenge him.

But full marks to the Principal of Adam Smith College for speedily – and craftily – aligning his College interests with such a powerful, and well liked, figure as Gordon Brown.

The BBC staff journalist who compiled this brief report also commented on Adam Smith. The college “was named after the Kirkcaldy-born economist Adam Smith, who lived from 1723 to 1790 … best known for his book The Wealth of Nations, but also published The Theory of Moral Sentiments, regarded as a groundbreaking work on philosophy.”

Good to see Smith’s work linked in this manner (if some of the 20,000 students at Adam Smith college also become aware of these facts, that is good for Smith’s legacy).

Kirkcaldy, situated just across the Firth of Forth from Edinburgh, is adding to the recent, and we hope continuing, stream of interest in Adam Smith as a person, with recent reports here of the Literary Walk in Edinburgh to sites associated with his many years spent in the capital, the commissioning by private subscription of a statue of him to be erected opposite the place where he was a Commissioner of Customs and a few hundred yards from where he lived (Panmure House) and where he was buried (Canongate Church yard).

Most recently, there have been calls for Edinburgh and Scotland to make more in their tourist marketing of the Scottish Enlightenment, in which Adam Smith and his friend David Hume played such prominent roles.

I think something is stirring in terms of Adam Smith studies. If this re-establishes his true legacy, I for one, would be very pleased.


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