Saturday, 26 June 2010

I know it was a million years ago but...

I'm still not quite over the whole meeting David Cameron thing. And I think the reason why is due to the way in which we see politicians in this country - it's like they are celebrities. I know it would be hard to have it any other way, them being in the limelight so frequently and at least we're not Italy but still, they seem to have that sort of 'fame' aura around them. I blame the press.

My beef with the conservatives is their general air of superiority. Being just a normal lass from a normal, working class background, having attended a normal comprehensive school, university was something that loomed over my family with great pride and ambition but also an element of unattainability. Not because we aren't bright enough, but because it is so bloody expensive. My parents couldn't afford to go; back "in their day", only the richest kids went and everyone else got a job. Hence why my father has now been building for 45 years. With potentially 10 more to go. My parents would never have let their finances get the better of me or my brother's futures, which is why they saved. Like crazy. And that's why I could go. That and government support.

But what scares me is that a government like the conservatives aren't going to be really petrified about the cap on tuition fees being loosened. I can't imagine it bothering them at all. So that means 7 or 8 grand a year. And with drastic cuts, who's to say that generous government support for poorer families will be so securely kept in place? I'm already there, this won't affect me. But other families I know could be affected. University should be offered to anyone from any background - merit over money. Whether that means the government putting their hands in their pockets to help some bright sparks out or not, it shouldn't make a difference. My parents have worked public sector jobs all their lives; it's nice to know that some of the money they have given is coming back our way.

I anxiously await the cuts to be imposed. Don't forget about the little guy, George.


  1. Quite. I realised this year that my parents are proud of me for having gone to university once, and deciding to go again this year. I'm in a similar situation to you, and I'm just very glad I was given the opportunity.

    It is ironic that this current sham of a government, who were all educated for free, feel it necessary to stop younger generations from enjoying the same opportunities as them. Maybe it's just what happens when you get old. Maybe they're just being silly. Time will tell.

  2. I know my situation is somewhat different, being decidedly not a working class lad from not a working class background, but the idea that anything other than talent or ability or intelligence should dictate what education someone receives is abhorrent. As someone who wholeheartedly believes in the abolition of the private schooling (albeit replaced by a return to a universal, state-run, reformed tripartite system), it perturbs me that we have a education sector which panders to some misplaced support for parental rights (like the right to indoctrinate their children or the right to inheritance etc.), rather than recognising that rich parents don't equal smarter or more deserving children.

    I recognise that, in the interests of pragmatism about the actual and current situation, money must come from somewhere. The graduate tax is probably one of the most sensible policies we will hear from this, or any, government. That way, assuming a flat rate percentage with a minimum threshold, only those who truly benefit from their degrees will bear the brunt of retrospective finance, and those who benefit the most will pay the most back. The government can subsidise the transition, they will most certainly recoup it, and the economy will benefit.

    This may also help to sort out the worth of some degrees. University is not a right like basic education, it should be reserved for the best and brightest, and, while Labour did a lot of good to ensure fairness in this sector, we can hopefully abandon the absurdity of policies like 50% of people in university. This has led to the creation of substandard universities with poor faculties, useless courses and wasted students. Of course, education has value in and of itself, but a lot of universities are just people postponing their lives by getting pissed for 3 years, leading to courses with neither educational nor training value. Equality of opportunity is the target, not sameness. We need apprenticeships and the like, we will not survive as a pure knowledge-based economy, which is not to mention that some people are simply not capable of such.

    Anyway, rant over. I promised I'd read your blog, bet you're regretting it now :P

  3. Hey Jimmy, I'm not sure if I made my opinions clouded in any way, but you have mirrored all that I believe in terms of university: Personal merit should be the only thing of interest in regards to choice of student; universities should rule by retaining high standards from everyone and not offer courses with diminished grades just for those who are under the allusion that university is the only option, regardless of academic talent. And as for taxes, I never mentioned those so I'm not sure why they have made an appearance in your rant.

    But rant on, if you will sir, just know that you aren't ranting against me (if that is what you intended).

  4. No, I wasn't intending to rant against you at all, sweetheart, nor were you unclear in any way. I was merely mentioning relevant problems which are at the heart of the education debate. It's just nice to have a forum on which to unload my anger at the injustices within the system, and an intelligent ear to receive said ranting.

  5. Ah, well that is perfectly acceptable then! I apologise for getting on my proverbial high horse, but as I am sure you can imagine, I am a touch defensive over said topic.