In its 1996 White Paper, Teaching and Learning: Towards the Learning Society , the European Commission stated quite unequivocally that the purpose of higher education was to serve the needs of the economy (European Commission, 1996). In 2008, European governments were sent reeling by the global fi nancial crisis, which threatened not only the Eurozone and the fi nancial system, but also the neoliberal status quo. Austerity measures were introduced across Europe as some economies (Greece most seriously) struggled to survive and remain in the European Union. In the case of the UK, the crisis was the major factor in the Labour Government’s defeat in the 2010 general election. The Conservative success was mitigated by failing to win a majority and having to form a Coalition Government with the Liberal Democrats. The new government’s priority was defi cit budget reduction, and severe cuts were made across the public sector. Numerous demonstrations and public sector strikes took place the following year in protest against not only government austerity measures, but also what was seen as corrupt free-market capitalism. The year 2012 opened with both Conservative and Labour parties desperate to win over public support for their ‘vision’ of how to address the problems of capitalism and how to restore confi dence in the system. There was a brief period in which leaders of the main parties spoke of the need for a ‘fairer’ version of capitalism, appealing to notions of a ‘moral capitalism’, a ‘responsible capitalism’ and a ‘popular capitalism’; this soon petered out as political attention returned to economic recovery. After fi ve years of deep cuts, and to the surprise of the Conservatives and most public commentators, the Conservatives won an outright, albeit small, majority in the 2015 general election. The new administration continued with further cuts and the goal of eliminating the budget defi cit.