Wednesday, November 19, 2014

As I write this... a cafe near Westminster Cathedral, a cross and sullen horde of  youngish people, some with balaclavas covering their faces, is shouting outside. They are carrying placards: one says "F--k fees" and another "Free education tax the rich".

What a depressing and horrid group of people they appear to be.  I am particularly nauseated by the sight of anyone trying to look like a terrorist with a face deliberately kept hidden by a black balaclava (I hope he is uncomfortable - it is warm and mild day, unsuitable for such gear).

But above all, how sad it is to see a generation, the most expensively educated in our history, given every advantage and heirs to a freedom and prosperity unknwon to previous generations, ranting and complaining in this sullen way.

Oh, the spoilt, disgreeable, horrid, selfish narcissicism of it all...

And their freedom and prosperity was not of their making. It rests on sacrifices made by their parents and grandparents and great-grandparents...who for the most part never even dreamed of university and travel and the grand opportunities open to today's young......


Malcolm said...

I've got some sympathy.

When the economy crashed in 2008, the government made a few desultory and half-hearted cuts to public spending, and slashed higher education spending by charging youngster 9,000 a year fees. Virtually the entire burden of cuts fell on the young, the NHS and pensions were protected.

Young people are now emerging into adult life with a debt of 50,000 pounds. They've then got to compete with Baby Boomers and immigrants for housing. An average house in London is now 500,000. They just can't do it, either they live at home with Mum and Dad (or Mum and Mum's boyfriend) or they see virtually all their income drain away in rent for a tiny room. To add insult to injury, companies have stopped paying graduate recruits. it's now necessary to work for free just to get a foot in the door, piling on the debt still further.

I don't condone violent demos, and yes, life could be a lot worse. But the situation is very serious.

Michael Gormally said...

Joanna, this analysis is spot-on and unanswerable. Michael.

Joanna Bogle said...

Dear Malcolm:

I can't agree. Since the mid 20th century the number of students in colleges and universities has doubled and trebled and quadrupled. It is now considered absolutely normal to "go to uni" if that's your wish: it is no longer considered a privilege and something that is the result of hard work and struggle and sacrifice.

Taking out a loan to go to college involves responsibility. A great deal of help is available.

It is not just the shrieking anger and violence and vicious slogans that are so horrible to see on a demonstration of the kind that London saw today: it is the bleak sort of anarchy that the demonstrators seem to want to achieve. This is emphatically NOT a serious request to adopt a different form of funding for higher education. On the contrary: it is a shrieking assumption that the person wielding the placard has a right to whatever she thinks he/she wants, and that the rest of us ought to give it to him/her.

There are grave problems relating to the break-up of families and the problems of housing. The anti-marriage and anti-family policies of succssive governments have caused a mess. The ugly anger and self-obsession shown by some of the demonstrators today may well be rooted in lack of a good home life and upbringing. What a tragedy that they are not being helped to get a better understanding of how to find a way forward.

Unknown said...

My first reaction was to agree unreservedly with you, Auntie. Indeed, the behaviour and spoilt attitude of these people is appalling. As you rightly say, poor upbringing, a de-Christianised society, and anti-family policies must bear part of the blame.
In the interests of full disclosure, I am South African, and therefore have no direct interest or personal knowledge of the history of the issue. However, I can sympathise with those who may have the aptitude for tertiary study - but, in contrast with their elders, must now pay for same and are at an immediate and very large disadvantage, compared to their parents. How long were such cuts "in the pipeline" - did a generation have years to plan for such an eventuality? Here in South Africa, we have always had to pay hand-over-fist for tertiary education, but had I been raised in England and free (or inexpensive) education was taken for granted, to have it suddenly yanked, would have been frightening.

I can personally also emphathise with the frustration of having to compete with prosperous baby-boomers in the housing market. That much is the same here. Housing is so expensive it is virtually impossible to buy property - unless both husband and wife have high-paying, full-time jobs, and even then its very, very hard. Not so for our parents' generation, who could take for granted owning a home from their mid- to late-twenties onwards.

That being said, I agree this is no excuse for poor behaviour.

It is the anti-family structure of society which must be tackled - how, I do not know.