It’s all getting a little bit fraught in the UK at the minute. There’s a general election happening in three weeks. The media and government are at each other’s throats. Fake news abounds. There are strikers outside nearly every HEI in Scotland right now.

And I’ve run out of milk.

If you’re doing a PhD, you’ve almost certainly had someone recently ask you why you’re doing it, what good it’ll be, or why you aren’t doing a real job. “Better than working, eh?” is something I’ve actually been told recently. In a time of political strife it’s sometimes hard to feel like I’m doing something worthwhile as I’m poring over thousands and thousands of gravestone inscriptions.

All I’m going to say is this: academics are good at critical thinking. We’re trained for it. We sniff out the wheat of truth from the chaff of misleading and nonsensical rhetoric and guesswork, and present facts and reasoned interpretations of those facts to those we teach. It’s a tough time for doing that, but it’s something very important that people in the humanities get taught as standard.

If you, dear, sweet readers, feel like that’s something an academically trained person should be able to use to help others understand the political situation in their country better and improve it for the good of all people, then I’m with you!

Just don’t do it too loudly in a pub like I did .

Seriously though, I need to get some milk.

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