Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Students Feel My Wrath

OK, when I went to university back in 1998, I only paid £1,000.00 a year tuition fees – though in my second year that did work out to about £250.00 per lecture (perhaps if I had turned up more then it might have worked out better).
So perhaps you could sit there and think, well it is ok for me to be arguing against higher tuition fees as I did not have to pay them and won’t have to (unless I ever have kids and they want to go to university of course, though I will encourage them to be bankers if that is so, so I can then retire earlier. Small problem, James – you are 30 already…better find a wife quick sharp if you want to retire early on this plan. One which doesn’t watch X-Factor. Oh you’ll be working until 75 then).
Anyway, and but, when I went to university, we didn’t have a humongous debt as we had just had 17 years of the Conservatives running the country, and had just handed over the running of the country and the economy to a Labour party which was still continuing sensible Conservative economic policy, for a couple of years at least. We also had no huge budget deficits. In fact, we were in a good economic position and could afford to hugely subsidise university education.
Now things are different – there are a huge amount more graduates than graduate jobs – we absolutely cannot have any more reckless spending on what we cannot afford, and also do not need.
If you feel let down by the government then you probably have a point. But it was the previous Labour government who wrecked the economy. Students, and anyone else suffering, should point their wrath at them. The coalition government is trying to rescue the country from financial Armageddon. Which is far from assured despite the cuts, thanks to possible defaults in other countries and our own huge debt and budget deficit.
There should not be any entitlement to a subsidised university education. Yes I had one and so have millions of others. But until the country gets back to a good economic position which won’t be for many many years, perhaps two decades, then this is a luxury that we cannot afford.
Besides if this means less students going to university, then you will also have less graduates to compete with in the jobs market. There are also plenty of other options to kick-start a career (Open university, the army, starting a business, to name just three) – university is only one. It is not the be-all and end-all. And the new higher education bill actually looks after poorer students and lower-paid graduates far more than now and is in my opinion, much fairer.
I despise this current protesting – where were you when the previous government were destroying the country? Where were you when they nearly bankrupted the country? Why are you not angry with them? What is your suggestion for reducing the deficit? Shall we scrap pensions instead? Privatise the NHS? Increase tax by a few percent? Double alcohol tax? Increase VAT to 25%?  Answers on a postcard - or stop moaning and get back to studying.  Or drinking.  Or dossing.