Monthly Archives: September 2011

Education and why it is the priority.

‘Education, Education, Education’  sound familiar?

It should because it is one of the few slogans that I agree with from Mr Blair.

I often find myself discussing education fees with people on twitter.  The ‘Why should we pay for students?’ question gets raised at regular intervals by a variety of people of different persuasions.

Education improves lives, Education drives aspiration, Education creates life chances, Education leads to better jobs, Education for the many not just the elite, Education reduces poverty in the short, medium and long-term, Education helps young people make better choices on drugs, drink and alcohol. Education reduces prison populations, Education saves money in many ways, Education helps integrate a diverse population, Education makes us more tolerant and accepting, Education makes us effective problem solvers.

There are many more that I have spat back in 140 characters or less.

‘But why should I pay? They earn more over their lives, let them pay.’

It is true that educated people earn more over their lifetime (perhaps not the ridiculous sums quoted for the graduate premium) but more nonetheless.  However what does this mean?

It means more taxes raised from higher salaries, more taxes raised from higher spending (vat), it means more money available to be spent on vital public services.

‘A ha! then if they paid for their education we’d be even better off then!’   I hear those on the edge of reason reply.

‘Possibly, but our investment in education creates a better educated, economically active society with less crime and less poverty.  An economic boost if you will.  If we don’t invest in education and view it as a long-term future benefit to us all then we will go for short-term (limited) gain by disincentivising those from poorer backgrounds from pursuing a life of education and opportunity we will be stalling the engine of the future.

Tuition fees as a tool to raise some money, work. Their impact is harsh but survivable over the term of a parliament but over the long run the horrendous sums borrowed by students will reduce the ‘graduate premium’ to next to nothing.  There will, in short, be a devaluation of the currency of a degree.  Why then would young people bother?  In short, they won’t.  A whole group of young people will drop out of FE/HE and our society and economy of the future will be the poorer for it.

Education is what we should be using our taxes for.

Imagine my disgust when, on the eve of Labour Conference, Ed Miliband announces that Labour will cap the tuition fees at £6000.

What a disgrace, I cannot and will not support this as our stance for the short-term nor a graduate tax later.  None of these are the right choice.

This announcement is the acceptance of Conservative policy as the only way forward.  It isn’t and we should never accept their market driven ideology over the common weal.

The 50% goal of Tony Blair had its heart in the right place and its brain somewhere else.  We need to think closely about all routes through education.  A degree isn’t the only qualification of value.  Vocational education, better literacy & numeracy for all, Professional qualifications, workplace qualifications all of these have their place in the rich picture of a better educated, more productive society.

Nick Clegg’s volte face on tuition fees and Ed Miliband’s timidity on this one proves conclusively that the political elite have pulled up the ladder after themselves denying for the many the life chance they got.

Grants have been replaced by loans, tuition fees have been passed on to the students and through a neo-liberal pursuit of Friedman economics the opportunities for the many have been reduced.  social mobility has slowed or stalled.  Education is the only way to break this hold.

After our time in office I find that we have forgotten the value of education as a public good, something we should remember in a hurry.

In an attempt to reduce taxes and chase wealth we have forgotten why we need taxes in the first place, it is to make our society better for all of us.

Education is a vital investment in our people not a cost to be borne by someone else.  The externalities of education are massive and positive.  Time we remind everyone of this.

A parting thought – more than half of those in prison are effectively sub literate.

“25% of young offenders are said to have reading skills below those of the average seven-year-old. 60% of the prison population is said to have difficulties in basic literacy skills.” (extracted from report below).


Hackgate, the Gift that keeps on giving.

Thank you, commons culture, media and sport select committee.

The recall of the forked tongue gang that tried to tell us that it was only Clive and Des that were at it, led to a few revelations.

Crone had to spill the beans and reveal his selective amnesia.  James Murdoch lied, lied and lied again.

He knew and now his underlings have had to say so.  The father and son ‘we didn’t know’ has been scotched.

Silence was bought from Clive Goodman who felt betrayed as he was hung out to dry and played on the ‘for Neville’ trump card.

Caught breaking the law and jailed.  Obviously his dismissal from NOTW was unfair.  They were all at it and he knew it.  They promised him they’d see him all right afterwards.  Take one for the team as it were.

Coulson wanted him brought back after his jail term, but failing that a quarter of a million should have eased the pain of being booted from the bosom of News International.  Or as one of the committee suggested ‘bought his silence’.  Goodman & Mulcaire should just blurt out the whole story and land the rest of their former buddies in it.

Crone & the HR bloke attempted to answer in doublespeak and it backfired under a torrent of very direct questions.  The whole truth may never come out but it has been exposed as a house of cards with lies at its heart.  This mob wouldn’t know the truth if it bit them on the ass.  (oh wait maybe it has)

So James KNEW.  Phone hacking was endemic.  Coulson most certainly knew.

Wait a minute…….

Does that mean perhaps there is a similarity here.  Do you think DAVE knew about Andy Coulson’s involvement in the hacking scandal?

What about Mr Coulson’s rather interesting severance benefits?  When you resign from a post you don’t usually get the benefits Andy got from NI.  Mind you if the financial compensation that Clive Goodman got for summary dismissal is normal at the NOTW then maybe I am being unfair.

One thing is certain, the NOTW was riddled with some rather dishonest individuals who were prepared to do anything for a story.

The select committee and the scandal surrounding #hackgate isn’t going away anytime soon.

I reiterate my thoughts of before the summer recess, this may yet see the end of David Cameron because when the truth comes out he will be damaged and be seen to have lied about what he knew, when he knew it and what exactly the deal was with his mate Andy.

Will the committee recall James?  If they do more fireworks and sleepless nights for those who are implicated.

( BTW Dave that’s you)