What's amazing me the most are the comments that the protesters are all doing so in their own interests as students (despite the fact in many cases the lecturers and university staff are also protesting).
That's a pretty shallow argument from the commentators. I mean, turkeys don't vote for Christmas, do they? Nobody protests at something that doesn't affect them any. Nobody feels strongly enough to protest about things that don't affect them.
Current students aren't affected by the proposed cuts;
even if you skimmed £4000 a year off the top of an already painfully low doctor's salary of around £26-28,000 (leading to skilled practitioners leaving the UK for better pay elsewhere), you're still looking at over thirty years of paying it back - or in other words you won't finish paying it back until you pass the retirement age at 60.
Have they changed that? My loan is written off after 24 years if it isn't paid back. It won't be, of course, I earn a salary that jumps every year but even at the top of the scale I won't even come close to paying it off. I'd have to be halfway up the Sergeant scale to make that stick. But they can fuck off - I won't pay back one single penny more than I have to.
That's not taking into account the cost of mortgages, having a family of your own and worse yet, trying to help fund them through the same system.
Truth. Even if you haven't been through university it's impossible to make ends meet in this country. I can honestly say I regret going to university. I wish I hadn't bothered. Wish I'd got a job from A-levels and then joined the Job from there.
Wouldn't blame it on the tories completely. It's the fault of the previous Labour government who thought they could spend billions and billions on dumb immigrants and other political correct bullshit, who aren't paying back anything in return.
Edit: and climate change of course! Why spend money on trying to lower the costs of studying, when you can waste it on trying to prevent the climate from changing instead?
And foreign aid. Don't forget foreign aid.
Labour did the right thing in trying to make HE accessible to poorer backgrounds. What they did wrong was in the implementation. Let's also point out at this point that Scottish students get it free, and Welsh students get it half-price, while English students have to pay both at home and in either of those two provinces.
There's nothing fair about the UK. The English get shafted above all else, however the British as a whole get shafted too.
Several of my friends went down from Sheffield (about a four-hour coach ride) just to protest this. The Student Council here organised massive subsidised coachloads of people, that's how much we resent it. Just to be clear, among current students the protests aren't as much about rising tuition fees as about the 79% cuts in university funding. How are we expected to improve year on year as the government demands if we only have one fifth of the resources?
The two issues are linked - the government misguidedly think that nine grand of tuition fees will offset the massive funding slash. It won't, because there'll be massively less students.
I went to a similar rally in London while I was still at uni. Actually, that's a lie - I took the subsidised coach ride and, figuring that the government could not care one whit about what us peons think (as proven time after time after agonising time, now as much as ever if not moreso), I just arranged to meet up with Xeno, Killakanz and a coupla other peeps from offsite. It was time much better spent, in my humble opinion.
But no, I am appalled that the government would go this far. Have we not been robbed enough? People work hard at uni and see no benefit - there aren't enough jobs in any of the fields people study in, and the pay is piss-poor (especially after stoppages). My salary is half as much again as what my mum's is, yet she takes home more in every wagepacket than I do. OK some of that is my pension scheme but that doesn't exuse all the other little extras.
@ Allathar: Actually it's the fault of the Labour government for flooding the higher education system with worthless degrees for people who should have left school as soon as possible. What use is a degree in Media Studies, or PE? None whatsoever. Tony Blair set up this ridiculous target of sending 50% of kids to university, figuring that graduates, on average, pay more taxes than non-graduates, so more graduates naturally means more taxes. However, he failed to take into account that graduates only pay more taxes when they earn more doing graduate jobs, which account for about 10-15% of the country's employment. Basically there are now a bunch of unemployed graduates with massive debts for no return.
Yep. I was one of them for a time. I'm now in a non-graduate job which pays more than pretty much anything else I could conceivably have gone for. I lose £55 per paypacket for something that's served me no good whatsoever. I'll lose steadily more of my hard-earned pennies until it's finally written off.
If 50% of people go to university, then that means half the population have degrees. When everyone has something, that something is worth nothing. It has to be more rare to actually be worth something - a degree used to make you employable because it set you apart from the crowd. Now, it seems, it is more out of the ordinary to not
have a degree. And just like GCSEs and A-levels are worthless, and have been for years, so too are degrees. No qualification short of a doctorate is actually worth the paper it's written on anymore.
Just give it about 22-23 years and all this bad debt will just unload itself. That private company which bought the debt has got itself a good little poisoned chalice, however the government has already lost billions on it.
In any case, I stand with the students, and while their methods are illegal I'd be lying if I said that I didn't agree with their using them. Let's face it: Times where the British government has listened and acted upon
the wishes of a peaceful protest by British people - 0 (or it was used to mask a larger shafting). Times where the British government has listened and acted upon the wishes of rioters - = or >1 (Poll tax riots, 1984)