Saturday, December 11, 2010

English student riots

So I understand the scruffy student body of England is a little miffed at the coming rise in student fees.

I can understand that, but that doesn't give you the right to act like a mob of thugs and generally terrorise the place as your own method of throwing a tanty.  Apparently the chase car officers in that scenario were armed, and no doubt there would have been cries of police brutality if they had capped a round off into a few of the yobs.  I'd be cheering.

Then the liberal media runs crap like this (and actually I think it's a remarkably balanced article for a middle market tabloid).

'The police were getting very violent at that point. Where I tried to get out they were charging with horses. We had to run back.'

Gee, my dear - do you think that might have something to do with them being under attack by yobs throwing missiles and setting fire to things?

'Alfie is not a violent person. He wouldn't have done anything silly. He's not the sort of person who would have been carrying weapons. He's very political, engaged and passionate, but he's not a violent person at all.'

No, he's not violent at all.  He's a good boy, such a nice boy.  He must have been an unwilling participant in the street riot, eh?

About the only redeeming story I have head come out of this whole disaster is this one.

'I was just trying to get across to them that the cause that we're here for today isn't about 'I hate the police, I want to burn the police and I want to destory [sic] everything they represent.  It's about university fees and its about how education should not be a business.' She expressed concern that some non-students were using the protest for thier [sic] own purposes. 'There's a lot of people doing this to supoprt [sic] the cause but others are here to have a day off school, and burn stuff, and be rebellious as a pose (rather than) actually add anything to our cause.'

Apart from the THREE spelling errors (coming back to that shortly) this demonstrates precisely why this sort of crap should be met with tear gas, rubber bullets and truncheon charges.  There's not enough respect left in society for authority, but the gen-Yers who are out there protesting against authority will be the first to have their hands out for a publicly funded handout.  As for the hangers-on who think it's just cool, maybe a biff in the back of the ear, a night in the cells and a $500 fine for providing the biff and accommodation would improve their attitude towards formenting public disorder next time.

Now, back to the spelling errors, and also why I tend to have very little sympathy for the 'students' in the first place.  Higher education in the world is increasing becoming a joke.  The number of people walking around the place who are unable to do basic maths, spell, construct a legible sentence, and generally communicate in an effective manner really is beginning to plumb the depths of the absurd.

When you've got one in four trainee teachers unable to pass basic literacy and numeracy tests, the thickest and most trenchant advocate of "education for all" must have to admit there is something badly, badly wrong.

By the way, Zoe Williams (the student from the second last link above) is wrong about education not being a business.  It is.  Education costs money, my dear, and someone has to pay for it.  I'll grant that if you meet certain standards of accomplishment and demonstrable educational attainment then society should assist and subsidise tertiary education as a means of ensuring the propagation of advanced knowledge.  However, that's not a free-for-all licence for every scruffy long-hair who wants to do a vanity degree, or hasn't done anything to earn the placement, or wants to 'go to uni' as a way of deferring the need to get off your arse and do some work for another three year to sponge off the taxpaying public.

If you want to be a full fee-paying student and fund your own studies, go right ahead.  I applaud your desire for self-betterment.  Quite apart from the fact that the public isn't paying for it, the fact that you're willing to do so demonstrates that you actually have some sort of commitment to the idea.

But while it's now the norm to go through tertiary education, I can't help but feel that the whole concept is degraded to the point where it means nothing any more.  Secondary education is increasingly viewed as a joke, because 'everybody' goes to uni, so why bother, and 'everybody' gets a place in the nanny state where you don't have to meet any sort of entrance standards, or indeed pay for it.

So in terms of jacking the fees up, I say go for it.  If we can't do anything about entrance standards then this will at least give serious pause to the dilettantes and time wasters who will still be unemployable, liberal arts degree or not, and maybe, just maybe, they might have to get off their arses and GET A JOB.

In the nanny state, nobody sweeps floors, waits on tables, cleans dishes or drives a truck.  We're all financiers, surgeons, stock brokers and rocket scientists - or at least the idealistic would like to believe.  Sorry guys, chances are you're the liberal arts major I referred to earlier.  Disillusionment awaits.

So, my rioting malcontents; the police are lining up again for another baton charge, the bad news is that I'm not going to be funding your degree in philosophy next year (or the student union lesbian whale protection society either), and your choices are a cudgel to the head or put your tail between your legs, go home, and start applying for a job in line with your nonexistent skills and abilities tomorrow.

I'm good either way.

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