In recent years the national and internal administration of universities has undergone fundamental change. This change parallels developments in other sectors of public life. It is matter not just of the rise of managerialism and of a takeover of control by the New Public Managers, proxies of other non-academic interests, at the cost of professional autonomy. What we are confronted with is in fact another expression of the substitution of governance for government, and in this connexion of the rise of what is called ‘soft law’. All this is bad news not only for academia but for democracy.