I Know I’ve Done This To Death, But…

Tuesday 30th November 2010

More student protests? Seriously?

By my count, these are the third round of protests about the proposed student fees increases. I would argue that this only really serves to undermine the credibility (hah!) of those students opposed to the rise, but whatever.

It’s really annoying that there still seems to be very little intelligent discussion about it. It all seems to be based upon bloody-minded opposition to fees, and a complete unwillingness to be pragmatic or to face reality. Students are involved, so I guess I shouldn’t be surprised by this…

Having read around and listened to some of the arguments, it seems to boil down to “students won’t be able to afford it” (see this, for a particularly bad example). I don’t see how that’s the case, given the loans and stuff that are available. No upfront fees and you repay when you earn over £21k… What position do you need to be in to be unable to afford that? In practice, it’s a capped graduate tax (which would probably be supported if it were labelled as such… go figure).

To put forward the “can’t afford it” argument is either wilfully misleading, or stupid. Frankly it pisses me off that it can get so much traction and lead to repeated protests. Hence the rants…

More positive blogging with resume shortly (well, I say shortly; with my record it’ll probably be next June).

Update: Here’s Aaron Porter – president of the NUS – speaking about graduate taxes. Oh dear. Here’s a letter to Porter from Nick Clegg, which is infinitely more sensible.

Posted at 7:18 pm | Posted In: PoliticsRant Tagged:



Wednesday 1st December 2010, 10:38 am

You already know my feelings on the matter of tuition fees.

As for the protests, as far as I can see it’s everyone *but* the students who should be losing credibility. There seems to be no sensible discussion on the issue because the media aren’t interested in reporting it. The police are actually provoking violence by taking ‘riot action’ before there’s actually a riot. Vince Cable is saying that he might not even vote for his own policy.

Yes, the whole thing is a shambles. But for once, I’m not convinced that it’s actually the students’ fault.


Wednesday 1st December 2010, 12:26 pm

I’m not so sure. Politicians have addressed some of the protesters’ concerns, for instance in the thing I linked to from Clegg. They’ve explained that, actually, people will be able to afford it, yet still students are saying “we wont be able to afford it”. It’s idiocy.

Lots of people are making noise about Lib Dem U-turns, forgetting that it’s a coalition, not a majority LD government (how many of those people are annoyed at the Tories for their U-turns? It’s ok for them to vote for stuff they don’t want, but not the Lib Dems? Great). I think Cable’s already commented that his instinct would be to vote for the proposals; if he doesn’t then I guess it’s because he doesn’t want to be seen voting for them…

I guess the police are trying to prevent a repeat of the violence from the first protest. Agree that their tactics are somewhat of an overreaction though; I’m just glad they’ve not killed anyone yet.


Wednesday 1st December 2010, 9:14 pm

Oh, I completely agree on the Lib Dem U-turn thing. I think they’re in a horrible position, but they should have known that they’d become scapegoats if they entered into a coalition. Nonetheless they were clearly planning to take a big U-turn had they got into power alone, and they should be held accountable for that. Hell, I voted for them and I probably would again. But that’s one of the problems with partisan politics – if you take the party line, you find yourself having to accept things that you don’t necessarily agree with.

re. the affordability issue – the way that people would be able to afford it would be by taking on a huge, huge amount of debt, even more than graduates today have. I don’t think that you can blame people for being wary of that.


Wednesday 1st December 2010, 10:56 pm

As debt goes, it’s ridiculously good debt. The sort that no-one will bang down your door to claim it back; if you don’t earn much then you just don’t pay it. I don’t particularly think it’s a huge amount either, given that it’s paid back over a relatively long period of time so that the repayments are a small proportion of earnings. There’s more to it than the headline figure, and as I said before I think it’s potentially damaging that the “can’t afford it” message is getting so much airtime. Will it dissuade people from applying to university?

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