Tuesday 30 November 2010

Degree discrimination.

I know Scottish students at Scottish universities pay no fees, although they do still have student loans. As far as I understand it, Scottish students at English universities pay fees, as do English students at Scottish (and English) universities. Plus loans. I could be wrong there, it's a long time since I was in a position to be affected.

What the Welsh Assembly is proposing is to pay the fees of Welsh students at any university, also to pay the fees of anyone from anywhere in the EU, except students from England.

Well, if they pay the fees for EU students, then since England is in the EU, is it legal to exclude only that EU region from their generosity with other people's money? Either we are all in the EU or we are not, and as far as I can see, England has a strong case to say that they are not. Throw out the Westminster parliament that seems to prefer every other EU region over the one it's situated in, set up your own government and stick two fingers up at the EU. Including the Welsh and Scottish, perhaps also the northern Irish mini-governments.

I was born in Wales to Welsh/Italian ancestry and now live in Scotland. I also went through university in the late seventies and early eighties and so ended up with no massive debts as a result of my education. From that standpoint, I have no axe to grind with either student fees or anti-English discrimination but it puzzles me. How can parts of the UK demand preferential treatment for their occupants, while another part, the part that houses the UK government, cannot? We are not yet separate nations and we are all part of the EU. So how can Wales legally fund students from all over the EU, except England?

If they said 'We'll fund students from all over the EU, except Poland', there would be hell to pay. The EU parliament (how many of these do we need? It seems to me we'll soon have an MP each) would step in at once, President Rumpelstiltskin would take time off from weaving Euros into gold, and the Welsh Assembly would be decried as 'racist' by all the usual suspects.

Yet they can extend their offer of other people's money to all and sundry and say 'Not you' to the English and nobody seems to mind. There has been no EU announcement decrying this action as racist and not in the spirit of the EU at all. The Lefties are content, even the English ones, because they are all barking mad and still playing 'beggar-thy-neighbour' from their kindergarten days.

And what is the big deal with getting a degree anyway? I have two and I'm not rich. In fact, all that time in education means I didn't start paying seriously into a pension until I was past 21. Those contemporaries who left school at 16 and started as apprentices have at least five more years of pension built up than me. Most of them are richer than me too. Plumbers, electricians, plasterers, joiners - skills that are always in demand and command good money. Me? I'm a specialist. When nobody needs what I do, I'm out of work. Sure, I can charge well for it when I am needed but there are spaces between those times when I have no income at all. So I can't splurge the money for that last big contract on a fancy car or leather suite. It has to last a while, and I never know how long it has to last.

Hell, those who left school at 16 and stayed on the dole have their NI contributions covered by the taxpayer. They have more pension than me!

A degree does not guarantee a good job. It does not make you redundancy-proof. You do not walk in to a higher management position, no matter how many degrees you have. Getting on to a degree course and failing it is pretty much the end of your life. Nobody wants to employ a failure. You're better to drop out than drag on to that final failure. Either way, you'll owe huge amounts of money and have no means of paying it back. You also have a three-year gap in your CV with 'fail' stamped in it and that will never, ever, go away.

If you're not suited to higher education and you blag your way in anyway, you're going to mess up your life. It's not 'elitist', it's logic. There's no point saying 'Oh, the university failed me and now I'm unemployable'. No, the university didn't fail. You did.

There are few people as smart as Stephen Hawking. I'm not one of them and I doubt anyone else reading this is either. He's lucky he had brains because a career as a steeplejack just wouldn't have worked out for him. I couldn't be a steeplejack either. Put me somewhere that high and it's not bird crap you'll be dodging. Some people are comfortable with climbing up very tall things. Others are not. Those that are not, don't apply for jobs like slater or chimney pot maintenance operative, or whatever the current PC term is.

Some people are suited to the specialist world of academia, and it is specialist. The first degree is a general one. At that point, many possible jobs are open but far more are now closed. Why? Because you have a degree. Factories won't give you work because they'll think 'oh, he'll clear off as soon as he gets something in line with his degree'. They want staff who will stay after training.

Likewise for any job outside your chosen subject. You have a degree in that subject, therefore you are interested in that subject, therefore you will leave any other job at the drop of a hat. That's how employers think.

Then there's PhD, at which point you are a specialist. My first degree was microbiology. I could have gone into brewing, pharmaceuticals, food testing, medical/technical, environmental, oil industry, all manner of things. The PhD closed all those doors. I am no longer a microbiologist, I am an intestinal microbiologist with expertise in ruminant and nonruminant mammals. I know a little about poultry guts but reptiles? Insects? Fish? Crustaceans? No idea. It really does become that specialised.

In the current world of food panic and fake doctors fainting in jungles, I am in demand. That's just down to luck. If hospitals enforced proper cleaning and hygiene, one of my more lucrative lines would close. If everyone went back to my grandmother's day, cooked everything thoroughly and didn't break down in a panic at an occasional dose of the trots, I'd be right out of business. Good old Gillian McKeith has everyone scared because few people realise that you can't tell anything from just looking at one single poo sample. Bristol score notwithstanding, one sample tells you nothing. Those little-and-large cleaning women have you all in a tizzy because they managed to find some bacteria in your kitchen, using appalling aseptic technique to collect samples. I'd be scared if there were no bacteria in the house, it would mean the whole place was being continuously irradiated or full of something extremely toxic.

So whether that degree is useful to you depends on whether the subject you chose is in demand. It also depends on whether you actually want to learn, and whether you are suited to learning that subject. I am reliably informed that UK forensic science courses produce eight times more graduates than there are jobs available, so if you're on one, you'd better be top of the class.

There is no point demanding that all these kids go to university. Most will come out of there behind on pension payments, in serious debt and actually worse off in the job market. The Tiny Blur's insistence that fifty percent of the population have degrees was and is absurd. Degrees in crochet and the social implications of Red Dwarf are degrees, but what use are they? What is the point of producing many multiples of qualified people for whom no job exists, and for whom non-degree job entry is now closed? And here we have the Welsh Assembly crowing 'Go on, boyos, we'll fund your degree in organic leek knitting or daffodil supremacy or sustainable dragon hunting no matter where you do it, and no matter where you're from, as long as you're not English, isn't it, butty boy?'

Prospective students, consider this. The politicians do not care whether you get a job at the end of your degree. They do not care if you are successful, or if you spend the rest of your days asking us if we want fries with that. You are a tick in a box, a target met, a degree in Utter Uselessness awarded. Once that target is done you can sink into specialist obscurity forever as far as they are concerned. They really don't care about you. You have one life - are you going to live it as directed by someone else, or are you going to do it your way? Look this up - where did Alan Sugar go to university? Yes, he's a git with hair designed by a scouring pad manufacturer and a face that bulldogs consider 'pinched', but he's a very, very rich git. So what degree did he get?

The Welsh Assembly came into being after a referendum that returned a resounding 'don't care' result. It happened anyway because, like those EU pretend referenda, the public consultation was a sham. Now they think they run the country and that they are entitled to take money from people and do whatever they like with it. A sort of mini-Wastemonster, but with druids and terrible gassy beer. They also believe that it's okay to discriminate against one particular EU region and that nobody in the EU will object to that. They seem to be right about that part so far.

I'm not English but if I was, I'd be looking for a Cromwell about now. Never mind these regions claiming independence from England.

England needs independence from them.


Anonymous said...

"I'd be looking for a Cromwell about now."

Believe me, many of us this side of the border would follow him/her like a light. There just doesn't seem to be anyone on the horizon .......

Anonymous said...

organic leek knitting.

Good turn of phrase,shame there is not a course on it.

Stewart Cowan said...

Organic leek knitting - reminds me of the horrible green jumpers Tom and Barbara made in The Good Life.

What is the agenda behind the expansion of further education?

Is it to get the maximum number of people into debt so that they spend their whole lives "in the system" and when the time comes to microchip the population they will be compelled to have one because "no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name."?

Is it to force youngsters away from traditional skills and trades as a reason to increase immigration to meet this manufactured skills shortage?

Could it be to give young adults another three or four years of intensive state indoctrination?

Or all of these and more?

V4V said...

There not even bothering to hide the Anglophobia anymore. Spotted this myself but was busy, can I nick some extracts from you later on ol' chap (with a link and credit of course) when I have a pop at the failings of devolved goverment.

Anonymous said...

There are some seriously pissed off people in England.
This Government unfortunately is turning into as inefficient and useless as the old one.

TheFatBigot said...

They can do it to England because England is the only country in the EU with an inherently non-socialist majority. It is, therefore, unsound. It is the kiddy-fiddler of countries and can be excluded from all the wholesome games played by the rest.

Anonymous said...

You raise the questions that I have been asking, but nobody in the MSM seems to have bothered with. Why pay for all these stupid degrees and for a hugely inflated university population. If we went back to the levels of people that should be going for a degree, funding could be free and the grant could even be returned.

And where were all these street warriors when Labour introduced fees?

Mark Wadsworth said...

"is it legal to exclude only that EU region from their generosity with other people's money?"

No it is no legal. As a general rule, no country is allowed to treat its own citizens more favourably than citizens from another Member State.

TheFatBigot said...

"As a general rule, no country is allowed to treat its own citizens more favourably than citizens from
another Member State."

Unless those from the other State are non-socialists.

Anonymous said...

What mister_choos said and now that we are where we are, the really bright working class kid who might have gone to university to read a science or humanities, won't, while Tabitha will waste three years reading Meeja Studies.


JuliaM said...

"Either we are all in the EU or we are not, and as far as I can see, England has a strong case to say that they are not. "

Perhaps we should take the legality argument to the EU ...

Ah. Right...

JuliaM said...

"And where were all these street warriors when Labour introduced fees?"

On the sofa, smoking pot and eating Pot Noodles while watching 'Neighbours'. Like all the other students...

Furor Teutonicus said...

Obviously Government jobs, where they MAY actually check up, are different, but.....

Anonymous said...

I’m English and living in Wales. Wales is land of universities and sheep. Nothing else is of any importance.
A few years ago I was asked to take a lad on work experience one day a week. It appeared that a scheme was in operation by which kids who were failing academically at school were being sent out to learn a trade! This is what the education system thinks of tradesmen and has instilled this into pupils. As a result of this those with average intelligence and an ability to use their hands are being encouraged to get second rate degrees instead of becoming first rate skilled tradesmen. The manual skills in plumbing are now considerably less than they were in the past. Have a read through the installations and servicing instructions of your new boiler! The pass mark for a gas qualification is 100%, not 30% and 50% in some degree courses.
So my council tax will rise again as more local housing becomes student accommodation (for the dregs of Europe) and ceases to contributed to local services it uses. Life is good!

Bucko said...

""Prospective students, consider this.""

They won't listen. They have spent most of their lives being told they are entitled to education and entitled to a good, well paid job on the back of it.

Harsh reality is a few years away yet.

Chris said...

What the Welsh Assembly is proposing is to pay the fees of Welsh students at any university, also to pay the fees of anyone from anywhere in the EU, except students from England.

On top of this the Welsh also voted themselves free NHS prescriptions, another perk the English don't enjoy. This has already led to health tourism in counties bordering the Principality.

"Go on Taffy, Keep voting yourself treats at the Saes' expense. Keep biting the hand that feeds. And when it - finally, finally! - all kicks off don't you dare claim you never agreed to it: you voted them in; you took the money!"

And I thought the thieving Welshman was just the stuff of nursery rhymes...

Taffy was a Welshman, Taffy was a sham;
Taffy came to my house and stole a piece of lamb;
I went to Taffy's house, Taffy was away,
I stuffed his socks with sawdust and filled his shoes with clay.

(2010 version: for 'sawdust' read 'gold', and for 'clay' read 'cheap prescription drugs'.)

Not that I blame the Celtic fringe entirely: they're just patsies being bribed with EU money to engage in their ancient pastime of needling the English.
Hate the mercenary, but blame the paymasters.

V4V said...

I had this version sung to me as a child

Taffy was a Welshman, Taffy was a thief;
Taffy came to my house and stole a joint of beef;
I went to Taffy's house, Taffy wasn't there,
taffy went to my house and found the Cupboard bare.

microdave said...

"The manual skills in plumbing are now considerably less than they were in the past." Granted the modern installer isn't going to need a pipe vice and set of dies to thread iron piping, and with push fit connections could probably manage without being able to solder. But he/she will have to know a hell of a lot of rules and regulations which didn't apply 20-30 years ago...

John B said...

The extended time at education institutions has a lot to do with establishing attitudes and perspectives that become taken for granted, imo.
These attitudes and perspectives are then used to control us without actually having to do anything other than push the buttons that have been installed in our perception and prejudices, from time to time.

Considering that people who claw their way to the top of the political heap must be both clever and tough to get there, I don't think what is happening is entirely random nor a mistake on their part.

Frank said...

The Lancashire version of 50 years ago:

Taffy was a Welshman, Taffy was a thief;
Taffy came to my house and stole a lump of beef;
So I went to Taffy's house and Taffy was in bed and I upped with the jerry and smashed it on his head.

Jerry = the piss pot that used to reside under every bed.

sixtypoundsaweekcleaner said...

You "fit" the CV to the job you are applying for. If they want a window cleaner in a pink TUTU, you say you have done that....

That's obviously where I went wrong in life.

Anonymous said...

Dear Mr Leg iron

Too much time, too little to do.

The human animal is so productive that he no longer needs to work 8 hours a day, 6 days a week, nor indeed 5 or 4 days. The Leisure Revolution, permitted in no small part by cheap oil energy, was derailed by the government.

They have created millions of public sector ‘jobs’ to do things which don’t need doing, and worse, some of which are incredibly damaging to society.

For those deemed too useless for government ‘jobs’, they built and maintain a welfare trap.

As our wealth has increased so the government has been able to steal more in taxes. As government expenditure increased so the responsibility of spending this money increased and public service salaries had to increase to compensate for this.

Now a huge army of people have a vested interest in keeping the government theft machine going: roughly 50% of people are directly or indirectly (as government suppliers) dependent upon big government, and because of all that ‘responsibility’ the average government salary is now greater than the average private sector salary, which means that the best will be attracted to government, leaving the productive sector upon which the wealth of the nation is dependent, to the rest.

Part of the role of education is to mop up surplus man-years from the unemployment registers. Extending the school leaving age from 14 to 16, now threatened to 18 and encouraging people to take worthless further education for 3 or more additional years, wastes time. That is all. Extended education from 14-21 wastes 7 additional years out of a potential working life of 52 years.

Oil production has been at a plateau since July 2004. It is likely to start irreversible decline within the next couple of years. With it goes the greatest unpinning of our current wealth, with no viable alternative in sight. People will start to become very unhappy indeed. War by 2018 anyone?

Separate point: England is not an EU ‘region’. It is NINE (9) EU ‘regions’ of which London is one on its own. England must be destroyed to fit the EU plan.


FoolD said...

@ anon 00:54

Indeed - for the EU, out of the UK only England has no place as a region. It must be destroyed. The others won't mourn our loss too much though, methinks.

It may be their turn next if they don't 'conform' though.

Anonymous said...

I've long been of the opinion that the education sector is running a protection racket. Back in the 60s businesses in some areas couldn't operate without paying off the likes of the Cray twins. Today many jobs that were open to all are now only open to those who have paid their dues to the higher education establishment and obtained a degree. The question is, who benefits apart from the higher education establishment?

John B said...

Anonymous. The higher education establishment is only a facet of the 'ruling consensus'.
I try to tackle problems from the most approachable angle.
A view I have been forced to is that a lot of things happen that don't make sense if taken at their face value.
Garet Garrett makes this point in his essay on the New Deal, written in 1938 available at: http://mises.org/daily/2726
I think the same principles apply today.

Phydeaux said...

Universities have nothing to do with education. If you want an education, go to a library; if you want to live a particular lifestyle for a few years and acquire a certificate to get you 'ahead' in the job market, go to university.

Business loves higher 'education' because it absolves them of the need to train their own people. The tax-payer does it for them (albeit not a very good job), and it is only protection from market forces, stupidity of 'tenure' and so on, that allows these essentially medieval institutions to survive in the 21st century.

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