In our discussions of the riots, a commenter noted that while I had grown up in comparative material poverty, I had benefited from an environment which was socially and intellectually rich – by contrast with the looters. It was a very good point, and I don’t think I had thought of it that way before. I recall a survey of educational achievement by children which found the most significant of all correlations was to the simple number of books in the parental home.
But nevertheless, my own progress – and that of my siblings – was entirely due to the availability of public funded excellent education. I was not only given higher education free, but given a full maintenance grant I could actually live on. Without that, I would have had little more opportunity than my father, forced to leave school at 13 to work.
To me, it is the greatest betrayal in the modern history of Britain, that my generation, which benefited hugely from free public education, has destroyed it rather than pay for it for the next generation.
A betrayal instigated by one Tony Bliar, public school and Oxford.
Now a survey indicates that with new tuition fees, average graduate debt might soon reach a staggering £53,000. This is in fact already blindingly obvious to those of us who are parents.
The government has effectively withdrawn all public funding from university teaching in England and Wales, the finance for universities solely covering part of research costs. No other major country in the world has done this. It is an act of crass philistinism, from a government of millionaires who never needed public educational provision and whose social circles do not need it now.
It is an act of class war, pure and simple.
That level of existing debt as graduates launch their careers (those who can find one) is also going to contribute to the inevitable major collapse of the housing market. To add to the mountain of lunacy that this policy comprises, it is further evidence of the ludicrous fallacy to which this government is so attached, that it is only public debt which damages the economy.