Subjective Objectivity – The Blog of The Reasonable Man

November 28, 2010

A few observations about the student protests

Filed under: Uncategorized — mikeshotgun @ 1:06 am
The following are stray thoughts. 
  1. I’ve not heard, among any of the protesters, any substantive manner of plugging the cost gap of higher education whilst increasing participation in said institution.
  2. The violence is getting a lot more coverage than it should be. To wit, the Telegraph are making it seem like every student is a violent sociopath, and the Guardian are making it seem like these kids are protesting against the Corn Laws.
  3. “Kettling” has taken on Orwellian overtones. It’s kind of pathetic to see the comfortable baby boomers who put us all in this position basically wank over their hey-day protest memories and project them on this generation.
  4. If you were to poll most protesters, I reckon the majority would not know that the new system means that tuition fees are not payable up front. Or that it’s likely that most fees will be doubled, rather than tripled. Or that the Browne Review is a document that someone could have read. 
  5. My current student debts are roughly what most three year course attendees will be facing, and are far less favourable terms than theirs will be. Far less. If am to spend more than a few months unemployed, I will have to declare bankruptcy. In other words, I am not unsympathetic to the notion of student debt.
  6. Concerns that (A) the commodification of higher education is a bad thing and (B) higher education should be an engine for social mobility, are not really compatible.
  7. I’m not certain the current Opposition, who introduced both tuition fees, top-up fees and the Browne Review, would have done much differently, as much as like Ed Miliband would like to fantasise about “talking to” students.
  8. If you celebrate “Tory Scum” as a political viewpoint, then I am afraid your commitment to our shared reality is somewhat wanting. Similarly, if you excoriate a political party whose modus operandi  was opposition to government for abandoning one of their most utterly populist viewpoints once actually presented with the responsibilities of government, then you are so naive I might question the value of your university education. 
  9. Higher education has almost nothing to do with the welfare state. A “right” that has entry qualifications is not a right – quite the opposite! That we are pretending that university education used to be some sort of socialist utopian ideal is utterly ahistorical.
  10. From the annals of irony: A graduate tax would be spread across all graduates regardless or else it’d be roughly unworkable, in essence becoming a regressive form of taxation. The proposed method of paying back kicks in over £21,000 a year, and is payable on the basis that you continue to earn that for 30 years hence. In other words, it punishes success more so. Yet the latter is favoured by a conservative coalition and the former a Labour opposition. The mind boggles. 

Again, I’d like to hear anyone’s ideas for expanding higher education participation while keeping the costs the same (or making them less!) for the consumer. Oh, and they need to be politically realistic.

Cross-posted at Something Quotable


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