@Corbyn4Leader Pandering to Middle & Upper Classes With Uni Tuition Fees Cut #JezWeCan? #Corbyn4Leader


“If your heart is on the left, don’t carry your (share) portfolio on the right.”

(Updated) graffito from the French student riots of May 1968

One has to admire the chutzpah of that portion of Jeremy Corbyn’s enthusiastic, articulate supporters who are arguing the case for free tuition fees.  They are selflessly campaigning for a policy that will, of course, in no way benefit them and their class.  Will it not, though?

Tony Blair, in introducing tuition fees for university students, levied a poll tax on middle and higher income earners.  He levied a tax on people like himself.  ‘Surprisingly’, they did not appreciate that other people were not going to continue subsidising the university education of their offspring (via the tax system).  And those ‘principled’ middle and higher income earners have been hacked off ever since.

One has some respect for those middle and higher income earners, including Tories, who have not whinged on and on about the introduction of free university tuition fees.  They seem to have been sufficiently self aware in recent years to avoid the trap of being accused of asking lower income taxpayers to subsidise the university education of taxpayers in the brackets above them.  The Tories, though, were not quite so savvy back in 2003.

What to do, if one is principled and unhappy about one’s offspring and/or the Bank of Mom and Dad paying for university tuition fees?  Of course, one does what the middle class always does in such situations.  One prays in aid the plight of the working class.  Simple, eh?

It would be simple, if it were not for the fact, that most people in the UK do not go to university and maybe never will.  I know what you are thinking.  Surely many more students from the poorest fifth of backgrounds would go to university, if they did not have to pay tuition fees?  I mean they have them in Scotland, courtesy of the left wing SNP, do they not?  And that has been a great success, has it not?  That rather depends on your definition of success:

“The SNP’s totemic policy is the abolition of tuition fees.  In 2001, the Labour-led government in Edinburgh removed “up-front” fees for Scottish students, introducing a “graduate endowment fee” of £2,000 to be paid after graduation.  This fee was abolished by the SNP minority administration in 2008.  In England, meanwhile, the higher education reforms of the previous coalition government ensured that annual fees can now reach £9,000 per year.

The cost of Scotland’s fees policy keeps rising.  Partly as a result, in 2013, the Scottish government cut bursaries for poorer students, while increasing the amount of debt students can incur.  Grants have been cut by half in real terms since 2007; Scotland now has the lowest rate of bursaries in western Europe.  As research by Lucy Hunter Blackburn, a former senior civil servant responsible for higher education, has shown, young students from families earning less than about £30,000 have lost out under the SNP: grant cuts since 2007 have more than outweighed any benefit from the abolition of the graduate endowment.”

Two months before last May’s General Election, Nicola Sturgeon in a speech at the London School of Economics “spoke of how student debt would have stopped her from going to university; but because the SNP government has prioritised funding universal free tuition over targeted grants, Scotland is the only nation in the UK where poorer students will borrow more than richer students.  The student grant system is the only welfare policy that the Scottish government directly controls, so one might also consider it indicative of where the party’s true priorities lie when it comes to choosing between helping poor Scots or appealing to the middle classes.  Tellingly, when challenged about these effects, the party has been evasive or even denied them, appearing unable to recognise, much less admit, when its decisions will be damaging to the less affluent.

At the same time, the end of tuition fees has had no impact on the number of poorer Scots going to university, according to” Sheila Riddell, Director of the Centre for Research in Education Inclusion and Diversity at the University of Edinburgh.  “Students from the poorest fifth of backgrounds made up only 8 per cent of entrants to Scotland’s ancient universities in 2008/9; in 2012/13, the share was also 8 per cent.  The same pattern is clear among entrants to newer universities: 11 per cent came from the most deprived fifth in 2008/9 and 2012/13.” “

The SNP has failed Scotland

I would have more time for those backing Corbyn, who have cited free university tuition fees as a major reason for their support, if they were calling for targeted support to give a hand up, not a hand out, to working class youths wanting to go to university.  Of course, such support would need to be about more than just money.  And past experience suggests that such targeted interventions are quite often not popular with middle class cuckoos, those people who not only know their rights, but who make sure everyone else knows they do too!

Personally, I thought it was presumptuous, if not arrogant of a member of the Labour Party, even if he has been a Member of Parliament since 1983, “to apologise on behalf of the Labour party to the last generation of students for the imposition of fees, top-up fees and the replacement of grants with loans by previous Labour governments.”

The Guardian did observe, when reporting Corbyn’s mea culpa on behalf of others, that the “move is also designed to strengthen the already strong support his campaign is gaining among younger Labour members.”  Support from people like Matt Monk who wrote an article, in The Guardian of Friday 24th July, entitled “Corbyn has given young people like me new hope in politics.

Matt is 19 and starts university in October 2015, studying politics and sociology.  I wish him well, but forgive me for thinking he is not representative of the majority of today’s youth.  “Tuition fees, graduate employment, housing, gender equality and climate change: these are the issues that young people care about, not the short-term deficit, which is fairly irrelevant to achieving these ends,” says Matt.  I think it rather significant that the cost of his university education and the type of employment that he thinks he has a right to expect, if he graduates, are points one and two in that list.

I do agree with Matt that housing is an issue for all young people, but it is not an issue just for them.  I believe, wholeheartedly, that access to rights or opportunities should be unaffected by gender, but I also think that rights should be enjoyed by and opportunities open to all, regardless of their class.  Matt does not use the word class anywhere in his comment piece.

As for climate change, I think if we stopped talking about the measures needed to address it as, well, addressing it and instead focused on those measures as being a way of creating a wide variety of jobs, improving energy security as well as lowering both energy prices and (harmful) energy consumption then we would, ‘accidentally’, produce the outputs and outcomes needed to address the problem.  I confess that such an approach lacks the sturm und drang of popular campaigning, demonstrations and going toe to toe with climate change deniers, but I guarantee it would resonate with the average voter.

Incidentally, I do not believe in climate change.  I accept the evidence for it.  No climate change denier, to date, has presented any factual arguments to change my opinion on climate change.  Even if they did, the sound economic and social arguments for de-carbonising our economy would still stand.  I know that, because I have sat in meetings with hard faced men and women of business, no hippies them, who see de-carbonisation as making good business sense.  On any other day, I might have been very opposed to their points of view, but in those meetings we were as one and that, Matt and Jeremy, is how you achieve real, sustainable change.

Like Matt, I want a Labour Party “that stands up for its values of fairness, equality and social justice.”  Alas, for Matt and Jeremy Corbyn, I do not think “the cutting of tuition fees” is about fairness, equality and social justice.  I do think it is about those, already well off in our society, seeking to further entrench their position and reduce even further social mobility.  A socialist, who believes that Labour is for the many not the few, not the advantaged, but the disadvantaged, should surely have started his bid for our party’s leadership with a policy for the many and not the few?

I do not think that Corbin’s National Education Service in any way balances his stance on university tuition fees.  The NES is a back of a cigarette pack idea which noticeably does not incorporate university education.  It is university education, with all the benefits that accrue from it, for Matt and the NES for AN Other Youth.  Corbyn is, I assume, ignorant of concerns about the perpetuation of an uneven playing field between academic qualifications on the one hand and vocational on the other?  Calling it the NES does not address that point, in fact, it underlines it!

I fear that I am sounding like an Old Labour Class Warrior, but then I was AN Other Youth.  I did not go to university.  I did work with people like me to get jobs, some of them through education and training.  I think their needs, their life opportunities should come before those of Matt, who seems to be doing more than ok already.  Arguably, if he were a real socialist, he would be writing articles in support of improving the condition of all young people and not just the privileged few.  After all, how many AN Other Youths are invited to write a Comment is Free (but facts are so sacred, we think them best not exposed to the light of day) piece?

Every generation goes through an Angry Young Man phase and I imagine Matt is no different from his forebears in that, but, by now, one would have thought that Corbyn would have got past his, at least in the matter of who really benefits from university education, regardless of the party in power.  If he is sincere in what he is saying, that university tuition fee cuts will be a bold plan to bring us in line with other European nations which do not charge tuition fees for university education, and he may be sincere in saying that, then he is too stupid to be leader of the Labour Party and a future Prime Minister (with due apologies to Aneurin Bevan).

Countries like Germany pay more than lip service to the idea that academic and vocational qualifications are of equal value as Peter Chivers discovered when he tried to claim unemployment benefit in Berlin.  The 41-year-old, from Bradford, “who speaks fluent German and has a language degree, said: “At the Jobcentre, they said to me: ‘You must have learned a trade?’ I told them that an apprenticeship wasn’t crucial to start a job in the UK – you could get a job just with a degree. But they struggled with that concept,” he said.  When Chivers asked if it could assist with job training, the Jobcentre refused. “To be honest, I found the authorities incredibly obstructive … They put every obstacle in my way that they could.” ”

I must confess to having experienced a degree of schadenfreude when reading of Mr Chivers’ experience, but then you do not have to go to a Jobcentre in Berlin to meet graduates with a well developed sense of entitlement.  You may even come across them in an inner city Jobcentre in Birmingham.

As an aside, Mr Chivers’ “experience with benefit claims stood in stark contrast to that in Britain: “When I had to apply for benefit in the UK, I just turned up at the benefit office and had to fill out one form.  Later, someone came around to check whether I really lived at my address.  That was it.  In Germany, I needed to certify everything from what kind of car I drove down to how I heated my flat.  At times it felt like I was doing paperwork for paperwork’s sake.  I found it a very demeaning experience, but then that may have been the point.” ” Actually, those detailed questions about heating may have been part of a process of awarding benefit supplements to reflect differing levels of cost.  Once upon a time, UK Supplementary Benefit included payment supplements to help those with high fuel bills.  Food for thought there, Matt and Jeremy?

Who needs a degree in politics and sociology, Matt, to get on in politics, elected or unelected?  One may fail to graduate and still get a good, well paid job at taxpayer’s expense.  I did it as did Jeremy Corbyn.  He failed to complete his course at North London Polytechnic, because he was already embarking on a life long career in politics.  I suspect graduating might actually have proved to be a drag factor back in those heady days of student sit ins, demos and the like.  Incidentally, those were the days, Matt, when students demonstrated about issues without one eye on the main chance.  I think, Matt, Jeremy also remembers those days when he says, “Education is not about personal advancement but is a collective good that benefits our society and our economy.”  Do you agree with that statement?

Finally, Matt, if you have aspirations to be a Special Adviser (SPAD) or an elected politician then reflect on the fact that voters say that politicians (and by implication the media and others) are out of touch with them.  In part they must be out of touch, because they have had different life experiences, in particular most have gone to university and graduated.  Are you part of that problem, that disconnection, or are you part of the solution?

The personal is still the political, ask Jeremy, and what suits you politically suits you personally.  Free university tuition fees, on their own, do not guarantee equality of opportunity for all young people, but they would be in your best interest.  If you want to emulate Jeremy, be “clear and explicit” in your views, genuine too, then please have the decency to admit you and middle and higher income earners would be the major beneficiaries of the end of university tuition fees.

PS  Whilst I may have got past my angry young man phase some while ago, I am still fighting the fire.

Billy Joel – Q&A: Inspiration For ‘Angry Young Man?’


18 thoughts on “@Corbyn4Leader Pandering to Middle & Upper Classes With Uni Tuition Fees Cut #JezWeCan? #Corbyn4Leader

  1. Monk

    “After all, how many AN Other Youths are invited to write a Comment is Free piece?” All of them. I responded to a tweet. Sorry I’m not working class enough.


    • No need to apologise. You are merely arguing a case for what is in your best interests. Just never try to claim that your selfish approach to politics is in any way a socialist one. Two thirds of young people do not now go to university and no more will under a Corbyn led government.

      Corbyn offers the likes of you free university tuition fees and the chance of a graduate job from 2020. He offers the rest whatever his piss poor National Education Service may deliver some time in 2022. I guess chaps like you will be looking for managerial positions within the NES?

      Incidentally, what does a degree in politics and sociology make someone fit to do? Become a SPAD?


      • Monk

        To be honest, I have no idea what a SPAD is, I am no expert in education systems, I don’t know what statistics to believe on university entry, or what the future looks like truly under the leadership of Corbyn, for neither labour, or the country.

        You’re criticising the wrong guy, I can assure you. Whilst I appreciate my parents are teachers, yes, and I have lived in a stable household with above average incomes, your presumptions about me unwarranted and unfair.

        I just finished my third year at my local comp sixth form. Yes third, I failed my first, as did a third of the boys in my year. Luckily, thanks to it being publicly provided, I didn’t have to go out and work instead, I could continue, as could they. Does the same principle not work for tuition fees?

        I’ve heard people, of all backgrounds, talk about the rising of tuition fees, it’s a common reason for some to justify not going university, especially now with the maintenance grants being scrapped (which is an outrage). It shouldn’t be reason not to go, but it is.

        But it’s not only that which stops everyone going to university, of course, it is also one of culture. My dad was the first of his family to go to university, and he made damn sure not going was never an option for me, regardless of graduate prospects. Many parents, like his parents in the 60s, do not see University as necessary, and not going would be seen as a legitimate option, after all, they didn’t go and they did fine, especially now they hear that graduate prospects are suffering.

        This is why graduate prospects is no.2 on my list. Without doubt, and with as much support to those trying as possible, it should be clear that further education should be the goal for everyone. Without good graduate prospects, we are failing the ambitious and bright students who aren’t from families like mine, we are taking away their incentives. We have a world where no one in comprehensive schools is taught by anyone without a degree, so should we not then try and make our graduates as diverse as possible?

        I want everyone to experience further education, I want everyone to experience University. I know tuition fees are not the main barrier to this, but it was all of Corbyn’s education policy I had to go on at the time, and it is at least /a/ barrier, and we should do all we can to remove it.

        Add the majority who go to university, to those who failed to make the grades, to those who didn’t see it as an option because of their hegemonic culture. We need to get people the grades, and show that university is for everyone, not just for the few. I say tuition fees and graduate prospects are priorities for all youth, because given the opportunity that I want all youth to be given, they would be the priorities for all youth. Caring about graduate prospects
        happens when you care about /everyone/ being graduated.

        I know the Guardian is big and all, but literally anyone could have been published in that if they responded to the tweet before me. Having 40k parents doesn’t make my values and viewpoints invalid.


      • No, the same principle does not apply to tuition fees. And most people are not talking about university tuition fees either. Most people have no option, but to work for a living on leaving school. You are asking them to pay for your university degree course so you may improve your future earnings potential. That is what is known as a middle class sense of entitlement.

        As an aside, what entitles someone who has only got a degree through a traditional route to a well paid job in, for example, the Civil Service? In fact, what made Diane Abbott, a history graduate of Newnham College, Cambridge, fit to be a leader of men and women at the Home Office after graduation? There is a big issue here about the relevance to today’s economy of many of the subjects people study at university. Our society is dominated by Oxbridge graduates, in particular, and it shows, does it not? We have an Establishment ready, willing and able to talk the hind leg off a donkey without ever coming to a conclusion or a decision. Arguably, university education is no longer fit for purpose, if it ever was.

        You are confusing the traditional route to a degree, higher education, with further education which is something completely different. You are, seemingly unknowingly, perpetuating the age-old British snobbery that treats vocational skills (and now vocational degree equivalents) as second class. A snobbery that seems to be beyond Corbyn’s ken.

        By the way, if the 40k is a reference to your family’s income then, yes, you and your parents are middle class which puts your values and viewpoint into context. That you are embarking on a course studying politics and sociology with no clear idea of a subsequent career path is baffling. That you do not know for what SPAD stands is worrying. And that you want people on the National Minimum Wage to pay for your studies is disturbing to say the least.

        There might well be a case for providing some with financial support to study subjects in skill shortage areas, but not I think to study politics and sociology. We have plenty of people with such degrees in politics already.

        Nice attempt at bringing in Marx with your reference to “hegemonic culture”. Small problem with that, though, as you mark yourself out as a member of the ruling class with your advocacy for the supremacy of a particular form of education whose beneficiaries dominate our Establishment. For the workers’ revolution to succeed it is you and Corbyn, members of the bourgeoisie, that they would need to overthrow. Be thankful that, like Bevan, I am a democratic socialist.

        I would recommend that you put down Das Kapital and, instead, read some George Orwell and more than just Animal Farm and 1984. There is a certain rich irony in that the old Etonian had a finer sense for the class war than Corbyn and many of his followers currently display.

        In Goldstein’s Book within 1984, Orwell asserts that the middle class has historically prayed in aid the working class to defend and extend its, the middle class’s, perquisites. Once that goal has been achieved, the middle class drops the working class. I see the cycle repeating itself with Corbyn’s free tuition fees policy. I pray your article and subsequent comments in aid of that contention.

        Labour’s new intake of members look set to saddle us with our own Nigel Farage, another middle class chap posing as a man of the people. On any other day, those voting for Corbyn would regard a late middle age, middle class, ex grammar school boy, who has made a career out of politics (and done nothing else) as being of no account. For the moment, he is their new Messiah. And he looks likely to win the leadership on a set of policies that, whilst they meet with the approval of Islington Man and Woman, seem set to make the party even less relevant to the voters, whose support it needs to win in 2020, than it is now.

        Corbynmania is a very middle class movement (as is the Labour Party). Were it otherwise, Corbynites would be campaigning for better bus services for the many and not calling for rail nationalisation for the few. I assume the latter will, purely as a by-product, create some well-paid graduate jobs.

        When the usual suspects on the Left turn on Corbyn (and even some Corbyn supporters expect the head bangers to cry traitor at the first opportunity) then us moderates will rally around him. However, there will be a price to pay. Normal Labour Party internal politicking may have been suspended for the moment, but only for the moment. I suspect, therefore, that free university tuition fees for all will not survive as a policy until May 2020.


      • Monk

        Curiously, I just watched the play adaptation of 1984 yesterday in London, it’s worth a watch, if that kind of thing interests you.

        I don’t know why you assume the worst of me. It’s almost cruel, and certainly excessively cynical. Is it not possible for someone to have good motives? I’d guess you have spent too long around not so nice politicians.

        Why go to university and study Politics and Sociology? It’s fascinating. There are problems in the world, how we organise ourselves, how people are treated, how we accept it. I want to study these things and change them. And of course, if I wish to teach, getting a degree makes that an option at least, so it was in my interests to do at least study something.

        Also, I have no apology for seeing people who work at mcdonalds along side me on my saturday job as second class. They are, and not by their own fault. It’s tragic.

        Some are so much smarter than me in ways, and smarter maybe than Diane Abbott, yet they have always been told that £16k year doing manual labour is of equal standing. That, in my opinion, is the snobbery. That some people should be doing this kind of work, and not the imaginative, creative and inspiring things they could be doing instead. /That/ snobbery is perpetuating their class, not one that wants to see them study and fulfil their curiosities and discover and create at university.


      • I suspect you may discover, whether you like it or not, Winston, that you will be developing an interest in Orwell. His collected works are more relevant to a study of British politics in 20th Century than Das Kapital, the work of a German economic migrant, who sponged off the profits of a capitalist whilst writing one of the most over rated books of all time. Personally, I prefer Groucho to Karl.

        “I don’t know why you assume the worst of me. It’s almost cruel, and certainly excessively cynical. Is it not possible for someone to have good motives? I’d guess you have spent too long around not so nice politicians.”

        Please expand on what you mean by good motives? How does your studying for a degree benefit anyone else, but you? We are all politicians. We live in polis. I was a Civil Servant for 27 years, making me an unelected politician. I worked with the two thirds who did not go to university. I think they should get a better deal than they currently do and that may well mean that someone, from your relatively privileged background, may have to make some sacrifices for that to happen.

        “Also, I have no apology for seeing people who work at mcdonalds along side me on my saturday job as second class. They are, and not by their own fault. It’s tragic.”

        Would that be, I make no apology? They are not second class, unless someone like yourself, seemingly lacking in empathy, says that is what they are.

        “Some are so much smarter than me in ways, and smarter maybe than Diane Abbott, yet they have always been told that £16k year doing manual labour is of equal standing. That, in my opinion, is the snobbery. That some people should be doing this kind of work, and not the imaginative, creative and inspiring things they could be doing instead. /That/ snobbery is perpetuating their class, not one that wants to see them study and fulfil their curiosities and discover and create at university.”

        You really are a piece of work, are you not? Manual work may not, in your world, be imaginative, creative and inspiring? Snobbery is elevating one form of labour over another rather than treating them as different, but equal. No wonder you wanted to only correspond by e-mail, if this is what you really think and feel!


      • Monk

        Separate but equal is all you have to offer? 16k a year and a repetitive job isn’t equal. They’ll tell you themselves, they want more. Telling them that’s equal doesn’t make it so. They are victims of the system and you saying that they are not doesn’t make it better, even if you are just trying to be nice.

        I know they’d rather be making films, or acting, or writing, or programming, or talking, or thinking for a job, and they’d rather earn more than they are. They are not receiving equally.

        Give them equal opportunities first, then tell them what they’re doing is equal. The five years difference in life expectancy between professionals and skilled manual isn’t equal, is it? Stop telling them they’re equal, you’re just lying. They deserve more.

        Good motives (unselfishness as you are suggesting): wanting equal opportunities, wanting good education for all, wanting everyone to enjoy their work, and earn well from their work, with difference in salaries separated by hard work, not by your who were your parents.

        I’m tired of your disconnect with normal people, and your suspicious of those who are trying to help. Your old man cynicism isn’t helpful.


      • I am tired of middle class types arguing that free university tuition fees for them and their class will lead to improved equal opportunities for all. They have not in the past so why should they in the future? I cite the white, middle class make up of our media as proof that, if you are not dissembling, then you are almost certainly naive.

        I am tired of middle class people like you denigrating the work of their ‘inferiors’. Someone has to do manual work and they deserve better pay, terms and conditions and respect (from pampered middle class kids) like you. Are you and your middle class friends volunteering to work in a care home, cleaning up vomit and changing urine drenched bedclothes so others may spend their working lives making films, or acting, or writing, or programming, or talking, or thinking for a job? Of course, without a degree (preferably from Oxbridge) and good connections, working in such fields is becoming ever harder for those from lower income backgrounds. Your class, intentionally or otherwise, is making it ever harder for people from disadvantaged backgrounds to get on. If you do not believe me then ask Lenny Henry.

        From where do you get a manual job paying £16k? And are there any current vacancies with that business, please? I have some relatives who would be interested to know. 5,592,000 people earn less than £7.50 per hour and average earnings per hour for the whole of the UK are £13.08.

        People from low income backgrounds certainly deserve better and, in today’s society, for that aim to be achieved then people like you will have to moderate your ambitions and put other’s needs before your own. Each giving, according to their needs and receiving, according to their means is a core tenet of Socialism.

        My apologies for being cynical about your motives, but then I have heard similar outpourings of ordure from wet behind the ears types like you since I before I was a Sixth Former. I suspect you wrote very little of that article in the Guardian. Corbyn speaks to your generation, does he? Only, it seems, if you are a conceited middle class snob with a mediocre intellect and suffering from an empathy bypass.

        Incidentally, “There’s no such thing as an ordinary human.” How do I know? I was born into a working class family in a place called Handsworth. My family is from Kingstanding, still one of the most deprived wards in England and I spent a part of my formative years in Yorkswood, also a deprived area. As a Civil Servant, I worked in all three areas and more; working with, not talking down to people wanting a hand up, not a hand out to improve their lot and that of their family and neighbours. People who, by dint of not being born into the middle class, were at a disadvantage in life before their umbilical cords were even cut. That is my world. What makes you think you are more connected with it than me?

        What makes you think Corbyn and the Corbynettes are more connected with it than me? Were that the case then they would be talking about bus and not rail renationalisation. A classic case of middle class concerns crowding out the needs of those on low incomes.


      • Monk

        You’re just reading what I write how you want to read it, not how it’s meant to be read and comprehended. It becomes a fairly pointless argument when you’re just ranting at me and assuming random things.

        I’m just going to correct your wrong assumptions, then if you want, you can respond with the correct knowledge and we can continue, or ignore it, and I will ignore you, because as passionate as you are, it isn’t related to what I’ve been trying to talk about.

        1. I’ve made it clear that I am opposed to the grant cuts as well as tuition fees. Tuition fees is a barrier for poorer students, as are grants. I want this barrier removed. You can make up some random motives for this if you want, you can’t just shout “EVIL” at some 19 year old and blame them for the world. It’s dumb.

        2. I have never said, nor believe, that anyone is inferior to me. Their job, however, is not what most people dream of doing, and most would rather not clean toilets. It’s a simple point. They, due to our terrible education system, have been unable to enter jobs where they get paid more and die less early. We don’t change this by charging tuition fees.

        3. I have worked at McDonalds for 3 years. I have spent a 1000 hours cleaning toilets, piling up leaking bin bags in the rain, but whatever, it’s not the worst job. But I and my friends I work with all earn minimum wage. I talk to them about why they work there, why they didn’t go to uni. Tuition fees, and graduate unemployment are up there as reasons, as well as not getting grades, ‘school wasn’t for them’. Why would they go if it’s not worth the investment? We need strong paths for those we want to help up. We don’t just tell them that what they have now is fine and hope they accept it.

        3.5 There are many 14-16k jobs at Mc Ds if you’re willing to travel. I can put in a good word for your peeps. However, I would actually rather they did something of more worth. Machines can do what we do.

        4. I wrote almost every word of the article? Minus that which was edited for grammar and clarity – as you can see my grammar isn’t the best. The meaning in every line is the same. 90% of it wasn’t touched at all. I don’t know where you got this from. Very odd. Who would write it for me? My parents? lol Just so disconnected from reality. There is no Corbyn conspiracy of white men in suits telling me what to do.

        5. I think you’re too old to be truly connected to the feelings of young people in my school or work towards tuition fees. You have to accept some disconnection from the youth at a minimum, even if you do claim to understand the motives of all classes.

        Also, you don’t have to be so abusive, it adds nothing.


      • 1. How will free university tuition fees and maintaining grants for those on low incomes increase the number of people from low incomes undertaking degree education at university? I blame you as a representative of your class. I have no time for middle class people, if they think that society can become more equal, without any sacrifices on the part of members of their class.

        2. What is your parents’ view on “our terrible education system”? Are not people with degrees in charge of all aspects of our society and economy? Are they not, therefore, responsible for the lack of opportunities within our society? You are right that we will not change our society by charging university tuition fees, but we will not change it by not charging, if the same people, from the same backgrounds go to university as now. That people are willing to pay to go to university should tell you something, should it not? They think the benefits are worth that investment.

        3. 86% of the 33,000 hourly-paid employees working in McDonalds’company-owned restaurants earn below £7.45 per hour. Were they to work a forty hour week at £7.45 then, yes, their gross pay would be £15,496.00 per annum. One assumes, given the coyness displayed by McDonalds’ answers to pay questions, on their own website, that the £15k is more likely than not an aspirational figure? However, What is a graduate job, in your opinion, please? And, therefore, what constitutes, in your opinion, graduate unemployment, please? Incidentally, do you think working in McDonald’s constitutes manual work? ONS regards it as an Elementary Personal Services Occupation so you are not exactly a horny handed son of toil when you are wrestling with the leaking bin bags in the rain. Am I telling anyone, say someone who will still be wrestling with those bags when you have got the job to which you think a degree entitles you, that what they have now is the best it might be? No, I am not, but I recognise, unlike you, with your there are machines for that throwaway line, that there are a variety of jobs that need doing in our society and that arguing, however obliquely, that some are of more value to society (and to the individuals doing them) than others is unhelpful to say the least. I want a system that recognises the value of all career paths and not one that puts one, traditional path, above the others. The latter is that for which you are arguing, because it allows you to make the case for free university tuition fees that would benefit people like you. You may not like that line of argument, you may be offended by it, but that is the line that will be adopted by the spin doctors employed by ukip and the Tories. They will seek to paint Labour as a party of privilege, out of touch with ordinary hard working families. And, if I were spinning for them then you would make a great poster boy for my campaign.

        4. I think you may have been referring there to men in white coats? No, I thought a Guardianista helped you write it and, seemingly, I was, in part, right. After all, you may have written 90% of the article and put the words in the wrong order thus requiring the sub editing and the balance of the words. As for Corbyn’s supporters, well, you may be surprised to learn that your article may not be as appealing to them as you might like, because, if what attracted you to Corbyn was free university tuition fees then you are not exactly a great advert for making Labour look less middle class and more in touch with the voters for whom the party was founded.

        5. Following your logic, no one may speak about anything with which they are not in direct connection at the moment they pronounce upon it? It is an interesting concept which undermines your claim that Corbyn speaks to your generation. I do not say he does not speak to you (and young people like you), but I do say you are wrong to extrapolate from your personal circumstances to the circumstances of all the young people of your age at this moment in time. I think I am on very safe ground in making that contention.

        You have provided evidence of a mediocre intellect, but it was, perhaps, rude of me to make that point quite so bluntly. You did say that you had to spend another year in Sixth Form to get the qualifications you needed to go to university, did you not? One of the issues about who accesses the traditional route to a degree is that some who do so, from middle and higher income backgrounds, do not take full advantage of the opportunity:






        Corbyn has been silent on increasing applications from students from under-represented groups; putting in place an admissions system to enable admissions tutors to identify and make offers to applicants from under-represented groups who have the potential to complete university degree courses programmes successfully, with the aim of increasing the number of entrants from such groups and ensuring that students from under-represented groups are given the support they need to achieve the learning outcomes and feel comfortable at universities, and to encourage integration of students from all backgrounds. Without such an approach, and an increase in the overall number of university places, then all that will happen is that the same socio-economic group will go to university as now, but with their fees paid for, in part, by people flipping burgers in a fast food joint. The personal is the political, as they used to say in the 1960s, so it is not dumb to observe that the person arguing for free university tuition fees would be a major beneficiary of such a policy, if enacted. And, if you are not part of the solution, again as they used to remark in the 6os, then you must be part of the problem. The middle class, with its dominance of our economy and society, is surely a root cause of the lack of opportunities that you decry? And, you have never denied, at least not so far, being a member of the middle class so …

        Your lack of empathy speaks for itself. Your list of what people would rather be doing omits all sorts of work that people find rewarding, for example caring for people, helping people find work, working in a factory or on a building site. There are plenty of rewarding jobs other than those you describe. Incidentally, empathy is the experience of understanding another person’s condition from their perspective. You try, as much as you are able, to place yourself in their shoes and feel what they are feeling. Empathy is known to increase prosocial (helping) behaviours. You want to help people? Then do what I did and build on the empathy you already possess. When you have done that, and routinely used your emotional intelligence, then people will not have the grounds to call you a snob. I am afraid you are stuck with being middle class.

        I never eat in McDonald’s. I am a Bevanite snob. I think what is good for the middle and upper classes is more than good enough for people from my background. Whilst I have the money, I like to eat in places where they provide good food and the staff are well paid (and treated). I think people from my background should have at least the same opportunity as that you currently have to go to university. I also think that non traditional routes to degrees as well as other forms of academic and vocational education should receive equal funding and respect. Someone who achieves a NVQ4 equivalent of a degree should not be marked down because they got it through their job rather than having spent three years at a university. Free university tuition fees will not make that change in attitude possible. If anything, they will make matters worse.


      • Monk

        1. Maintenance grants are FAR more important to this issue than tuition fees. I was annoyed when they cut tuition fees, but I was angry when they cut maintenance grants. The reason low income students need maintenance grants is the same reason they aren’t moving out of their house till their 30s. Accommodation and living costs – especially in cities. I am middle class, yes, and going to uni has always not been an issue because my parents can afford to top up my accommodation and living costs. However, this isn’t the case for everyone, and this is where these grants come in.
        Tuition fees I have previously argued as a deterrent. If you haven’t been convinced yet on that, we just disagree on how much of a barrier it is for low income students. Tuition fees aren’t my priority, My inclusion of tuition fees in my list was partly because this IS a big topic for young people, especially in the media, and was all Corbyn was in the news for at the time on education.

        2. Simply, that GCSE results are entirely based on your socio-economic background. Changing that is one of my priorities if I ever have any influence in any respect to education.

        University is definitely worth it. But reasons people go to university is not an opportunity cost calculation for the average 18 year old. It is based on, in my view, mainly on your family. Not just ‘socio-economic’ environment, but also the acceptance of some students being naturally brighter than others. People are categorised as ‘school isn’t my thing’ or ‘i’m bad at maths’ or ‘I’m just not as smart as X”, at far too young an age. Making getting bad grades, and doing manual work, a fair option that you are categorised into isn’t fair.

        3. Yes, of course not everyone is on that 16k. I wasn’t even trying to argue that this was a high wage, so you showing how poorly paid they are just shows how bad these jobs are.

        And generally yeah, it’s manual. 90% of the in store workers will clean toilets, mop floors, wash up, do the bins etc for at least a few hours a day alongside their burger flipping or tills work, and the majority won’t see customers most of the day (anyone on chicken, grills or backroom). Yet, I still feel that we should focus on getting these kinds of jobs done by machines. (This is being done with tills in some shops already) And instead get everyone trained up with skills, on higher wages and higher job satisfaction. Most clearly I hope to see this happen when cars become automated. We need to be ready for getting everyone to a level of skills that is globally competitive. I am a big supporter of apprenticeships. But I want an apprenticeship to a choice over Uni, not a forced option. “I want to work in care, so I didn’t go to uni”. Not “I didn’t go to uni so I work in care”.

        Also, I wasn’t speaking for anyone but myself in that article, not Labour, nor the Guardian. In fact, that was a large part of the changes in my article by the editor. On occasion I switched into “we feel this…”, rather than “I”. And so, I’m not bothered about how spin doctors would spin my words for the moment, and they certainly aren’t bothered with me.

        4. Oh, no, I meant 90% was the same after sub-editing. I was surprised by how little changed it, considering how new I was to writing. I was also not guided much. In fact it was,
        “We’d want 700 words on why you’ve joined, why now, what you’re going to do now you’re a member and why you think so many young people are joining up”

        My article wasn’t propaganda for anyone, or a call to vote Jeremy, just what I wanted, and an observation of what others of my age want. The title on the website itself is more aggressive then I was in my article. Writers don’t do the title or marketing etc. I was a little disappointed it ended up as a call for Labour to listen to me, which it isn’t wasn’t meant to be.

        5. My no.5 was a call for modesty about your knowledge of other peoples opinions was all. Wasn’t trying to say that you can’t have opinions on others opinions. That’s what my article is after all.


        I would say my retaking of my first year was caused by disillusionment with the system, my favourite teachers leaving for the subjects I was going to take, depression/apathy, poor subject choices for my university course, and later, ambition to go the best university I could. I got BBD in my first year, and retaking was the best decision I have ever made. Retaking, for me, has been a sign of progress, not low intelligence. It’s one of the things that made me hate Gove. Retaking took me from Portsmouth to Warwick. It’s the best. I hope to progress further at Uni.

        Your next point is an interesting sociological point. From a standpoint that everyone is more or less the same. People who have power and money respond more or less the same as everyone else would given their social learning, habitus, upbringing etc. Thus, I don’t blame the people, but the system, and that is what must be changed.

        I want everyone to have equal access to University. And that means that if they are from a low income family, or their school is shit, that they should have priority over equally achieving privately schooled children. As, on average, they have achieved more, due to there being less help. I think we agree on this. If Corbyn doesn’t agree this is the solution, then I disagree with him. However, it wouldn’t change my vote. Iraq and LGBT as well as everything else in my article swing me to him.

        “I think people from my background should have at least the same opportunity as that you currently have to go to university. I also think that non traditional routes to degrees as well as other forms of academic and vocational education should receive equal funding and respect. Someone who achieves a NVQ4 equivalent of a degree should not be marked down because they got it through their job rather than having spent three years at a university. ”

        I agree.

        “Free university tuition fees will not make that change in attitude possible. If anything, they will make matters worse.”

        I disagree. It will help change attitudes, and it will make it easier for those families that feel they can’t afford it. Those who can afford it will go anyway, tuition fees make it more elitist. The only people it really affects are low earners in my opinion.


      • Monk

        I don’t usually respond to comments are they are vehicles for trolling. I don’t want to deal with all that.


      • Then I guess we will have to leave it there.

        I am afraid that, if you want a career in politics, elected or otherwise, then you will have to develop strategies to cope with trolls. You will find that there as many in the real world as the virtual one.

        And you will certainly need to develop a thick skin if you want to support Corbyn should he become leader of the Labour Party. You will only be able to do that effectively as an activist member of the party. All the signs are that Corbyn will be deserted by those who paid their £3.00 to get him elected.


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