Now that I am a fully paid up member (well the grant hasn’t come through yet but I’m almost there) of the international jet setting student brigade, it’s time to get something off my chest. I was initially going to write this last year when the whinging middle class students had their yobbish protest against tuition fees (here), or I could’ve done it when George Osborne announced plans for yet more subsidies for the grasping middle class (here) or countless other times which we will go through.
To be honest I could’ve returned to this via countless articles but the latest nonsense to come out suggesting Universities represent the kingdom of heaven for the poor is from the normally sensible (if nauseatingly progressive) Fraser Nelson in the Telegraph today (here).
The consensus seems to be, whether you think people should pay fees or not, that Universities and all who go to them are great, bringing nothing but good to the areas they go and we can never have enough of them. In many ways this is unsurprising, if all the commentators are affluent middle class people who got a degree it’s no surprise to see them wrapping up their selfishness as a virtue.
So it is down to me, your humble working class hero and one of the main beneficiaries of the system to say that this is total and utter bollocks. There are three reasons I will look at and they are:
1) The system of subsidies being extended and in operation is financially unsustainable and bankrupt.
2) The winners of the expansion of Universities have largely been the affluent middle class at the expense of the working class.
3) Universities, no longer being spaces of free speech, have lost their moral right to receive a penny off the state.
Right then, let’s begin by pointing out that the current system is financially unsustainable and financially bankrupt. A Higher Education Commission report widely covered in the media at the back end of last year pointed out that by their estimates ¾’s of students won’t pay off their debt, as it gets wiped in thirty years and that we have created “the worst of both worlds” (here).
As well as this, last year it was reported that the Government is fast reaching the tipping point where the rise in fees costs them more than having fees at the level they previously had (here), seemingly not understanding that just raising the fees in a system subsidised by the state is just a pyramid scheme.
Why aren’t students paying back the loans? Well you have to ask how many of the courses students are doing a course worth the £35,000- 40,000 state subsidy they are receiving. The answer? Not many pal.
One of my beloved sites when I want to piss off my fellow sociology students and say we should gut sociology is courtesy of Higher Education Careers Services Unit (here), where you can download “What do Graduates do?”
It’s a pretty obvious picture when we break it down by subject that some subjects are better than others (HERESY!). Let’s take a real subject like, ooh I don’t know, Engineering. Of those who had a degree in Mechanical Engineering: 69.1% were working full time in the UK and of all of those in a form of work in the UK (77% of all graduates), the highest sector for the type of work graduates went into was the Engineering & Building professions at 64.2%.
Now let’s take my subject, left wing studies (officially called Sociology). Of those who graduated, less than half are working full time (46.9%) roughly 9% were unemployed after but of those in work the highest sector they were to be found in, with 23.7%, was…. ‘Retail, catering, waiting and bar staff’. So virtually a quarter of those who were in work went into jobs which a degree is certainly not necessary and will never earn enough to pay off the debt or even a big chunk of it.
It should also be noted that despite engineering clearly being more profitable and likely to pay their way, we had around twice as many graduates in Sociology (7,900) as in Mechanical Engineering (3,800).
If we look at the top degree subjects by starting salary (which is also a fair way of examining which professions will earn more in the future), we can also see what anyone with a brain already knew (here). At number eight it’s economics (the dismal science) but after that it is wall to wall ‘hard’ sciences and dentistry. Shockingly, there’s not a Media Studies or Sociology graduate in sight.
This is what happens when the state subsidies courses, it creates a false demand which does not really exist. Middle class kids want to go to University but they are not forced to study a course that can pay itself off, so they choose the easy option with no loss to them. The reality is we could gut the amount of kids doing Sociology and we as a country would lose nothing.
This leads us neatly on to part two and who the winners and losers of this whole system are. The winners are undoubtedly, as much as those leeches complain, middle class students. If they get a graduate job, great but if not they never have to pay the debt off anyway, they got to have their three year holiday and they are no worse off than they were before. They are essentially on a free role.
The other big winners, I mean the people who can hardly wipe the grins from their faces, are of course private landlords. They have a guaranteed income courtesy of 1000’s of students, who the government backs in income through loans. It means parasite landlords can let properties for 12 months, knowing the students are only there for nine months max and have successfully leeched off the state to a terrifying amount.
Finally, businesses such as nightclubs and others get to win twice. Once in the fact that they get a lot of their profit subsidised by the state & second in the fact the ‘flexible’ work hours they can push on their staff, due to the increase in labour of students who are more able to work on worse contracts as they have zero responsibilities.
Don’t just take my word for it, here’s Ryan Bourne of the libertarian/free market think tank IEA who on extolling the virtues of zero hour contracts (here). According to Ryan those who benefit from zero hours are “students in particular” with the stats showing “the majority of those on zero hour contracts are students”. Who are the majority of students? The affluent middle class.
The expansion of Universities has just widened the gap between the amount of rich and working class kids going to Uni (here) and the effect of this has been the explosion of unpaid internships (meaning the rich are even more likely to get those jobs then they were decades ago).
It’s also meant that jobs which had no need for a degree now need one, despite little evidence of a degree having increased the productivity of those in jobs where they weren’t previously needed. This has the effect of destroying in work mobility.
“Oh won’t someone think of the middle class students?!” cries Ryan Bourne. Fuck the middle class students Ryan, fuck ‘em.
So who then are the losers? Well unsurprisingly it’s those who aren’t landlords but renters, those who aren’t businessmen but workers. It is, like on most occasions, the working class who have lost out due to the immense selfishness of the middle class.
Take Shrewsbury, where a satellite University is to be built. Houses which would have once been affordable for a couple on a modest income will be sucked up by buy-to-let landlords, who will promptly hike the rent to the level the government will subsidise it. Even renting will become a no go for non-students due to the fact that the landlord can get a guaranteed 12 month income and yet leave the house empty nearly six months of the year. I won’t even go into the (much more important) annihilation of family life and community this causes.
To cap it all off, all those people who have been priced out of having a real home with their children now living in a box and having seen their work conditions collapse, will be told what wonderful ‘progress’ this is, how ‘diverse’ it’s made the town and how much of a bigot they are for (perfectly reasonably) being against it.
Of course, in Shrewsbury the two main parties are in favour of it and more sickeningly it’s a ‘Conservative’ council pushing this through and nearly all Cllrs own their own homes. In fact in Shrewsbury the MP has already stated he is going to beg the government for money to subsidise the purchase of the local barracks for students (here).
Not for local families, not for a community land trust, not for people whose rent is already sky high because to do that he would have to actually care about people born and bred in Shrewsbury. Nope, yet again it’s for grasping middle class students.
Now I expect this from Daniel Kawczynski as he is openly a progressive liberal who somehow has a Conservative nomination but when I heard that Jesse Norman was in favour of Government plans for a University in Hereford, I despaired. As a proper decent Conservative, he should know better.
Is it a good example of why both Labour and the Conservatives are dying: The Conservatives don’t care about conserving anything and Labour don’t give a rats arse about the working class.
The last reason is not financial but as it’s normally used in defence and one of the most persuasive if you believe that Universities have some higher goal than merely financial. The idea that Universities are places of free debate and thought may be a nice one but in reality that is as dead as a dodo. As a result, they have lost their right to exist.
There are countless examples so I will list just a few. In November last year, a rabble forced a debate on abortion to be cancelled because, well because they wouldn’t accept anyone suggesting someone might not hold their view on the subject and (horror) the bloke arguing against it was a bloke. This was at Oxford University folks (here).
Then the University of East Anglia banned a debate which would have featured UKIP because UKIP is, well it’s EVIL and I suspect the students know lots of working class people vote UKIP so that’s a massive no (here).
Don’t worry though, those top blokes at ISIS are alright by the NUS, who couldn’t bring themselves to condemn them but at least they know who the true enemies are: Those evil non murdering bastards who want to poison the minds of all students by debating things, the scum (here). I could go on forever as I’m on a role and they give me so much material it’s hard to stop, so we will just do one more.
Finally then, we had Julie Bindel who found herself banned (this is a regular experience for her) by a group of people who have gone so far up their own arse it’s difficult to ascertain if they are human beings anymore (here).
It’s pretty obvious that Universities long ago surrendered their role as a place of free thinking but have instead become finishing schools for the liberal progressive crap that the middle class seem to be inoculated at birth with. As a result, instead of looking down their nose and screaming at everyone who pays for them to be at University, they should be made to pay for their prejudices themselves.
Overall, these screeching students who demand other people pay for their worthless degrees, far from being hard done by, have it easier than ever. They never have to pay back the loans of their useless degrees, force people who do work (whom they pretend to care about) into miserable lives and ruthlessly silence views they don’t like, unless the psychopathic extremists are brown and not white.
For all these reasons, it would be best if we burnt the majority of Universities in the UK to the ground and I can only hope that some of the safe space, progressive liberal Sociology students get trapped inside.
Guardian 19th November 2014- Student Protest of Fees
Time Higher Education 3rd December 2014- Postgrad loans of £10,000 announced by Osborne
Telegraph 13th February – Raising tuition fees is paying off for everyone- except Nick Clegg
Independent 18th Nov 2014- ¾ won’t pay off loan
HECSU- What do graduates do?
Which? University November 2012 – Top degree by starting salary
IEA – Ryan Bourne on Zero Hour Contracts
Economic and Social Research Council 28th Feb 2012 – University expansion
Shropshire Star 17th January – Daniel Kawczynski to lobby Government for Cash
The censorship mob links
Oxford Uni mob prevent debate on abortion.
Mob prevent debate including UKIP at University of East Anglia.
Independent- ISIS alright by NUS
Spiked- Julie Bindel