Saturday, 23 October 2010

The Lazy, Drunk and Irresponsible Backbone of the Economy

Having just watched the latest Question Time on BBC iPlayer, I came across a concept that I have started to hear a lot since the start of the coalition, that of the betrayed student Lib-Dem Voter.

The average student in this profile is portrayed as the following; when they aren't squeezing out spare time from their long hours at the library to help under-priveleged children and saving money for charitable donations instead of wasting it on alcohol, they are faced with a new burden to shoulder comparable to the recent miners ordeal in Chile, and that is overcoming the ultimate betrayal from the Lib Dems who recently came into power. This betrayal involves the party scrapping their plan to abolish student fees for University. The scandal is worsened when we are reminded that these students are the backbone of the economy, without which we would be in big trouble.

This idea embodies two naive assumptions. First of all it is to assume that any concession made by a party that received under 75% of the vote and entered into a coalition with a party that received a far larger share of public backing are not necessary compromises that are to be expected when you enter into coalition (especially as the junior partner), but instead are the ultimate acts of betrayal comparable to Judas. It's pretty simple, either you receive a clear majority of the vote and get to put your entire manifesto to action, or you enter a compromise to put some of them into fruition (or in most cases whatever your vote, put none of it into action).
Charles Kennedy. Worse than Judas.

The second assumption is that the majority of students that have been brought up under New Labour's years of excess that voted for the Liberal Democrats are hard workers with a deep concern for their ability to contribute to society. The truth is a little different. New Labour rightly believed that it was unfair that the elite of society should be based on privelege, but instead made the mistake of thinking the solution was not to increase accessibility to that elite, but to dissolve that elite, and thus devalue the very thing that they were providing access to. That elite core still exists in our vastly inflated student body and still works very hard, but simply isn't too concerned about paying back their debts, partly because they will actually go on to get degrees and jobs that justify them, but also thanks to New Labour's policy, they now need to get a second degree to distinguish themselves from the thousands of others with degrees, which no loan is available for, which naturally pools the elite again from the wealthy in society that can afford to fund it themselves and so don't worry about debt.

While no generalisation can be 100% accurate, what is left around that core, amassed from a system of easily acquired loans, and 'all must have prizes' culture is a generation of students who go to University, not for their degree but as the next step on the academic conveyor belt they started at the age of 5, under the category called 'life experience' which involves blowing most of their loan on alcohol and worst of all entails the arrogant expectation that someone else should pay for this waste of time. In order to accommodate this large increase in demand new Universities and new courses have been created (but no new jobs), producing sub-standard degrees for an increasingly sub-standard student body. In the job market, demand produces supply, yet regardless Labour recklessly added a huge quantity of supply while the demand remained the same, meaning we are now in a situation whereby in the UK alone we produce more students with photography degrees than there are photography jobs available in the entirety of Europe, and those with degrees of any worth need to be bought once by the state then again by their parents. No wonder recent surveys have shown social mobility to have fallen in Britain.

The Backbone of the Economy
There is no question that we have moved on from the Industrial Revolution and University education is essential to compete in todays global economy, and that there is still a huge number of hard-working committed students who are going to University for the right reasons. But to keep suggesting that the majority of the student body, the huge number of lazy, drunk and irresponsible, debt riddled graduates are contributing rather than draining the British economy and further, that they have been betrayed by not having their debauchery paid through the taxes of people that actually are working hard, is offensively out of touch with reality.

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