Archive for October, 2010

University Challenge

Has nothing changed? The whole debate on allowing University fees is just a trick with smoke and mirrors. I listened to this woman on TV the other morning asked she pedalled the myth the students won’t pay fees to go to University, they’ll just make a contribution when they’re finished.

What a lot of rubbish. Debt is debt. The only people who don’t consider this a burdensome debt are those rich enough to afford to pay it.

That’s the issue that they have not addressed. How does it look to the working class person setting out on life. We are continually bombarded with messages from government that we need to save for the future, not to take on debt etc etc.

Any right thinking young person from a family on a budget is obviously going to be deterred from taking this type of burden on in the current climate. How are you going to manage?

And the comment that you don’t pay anything until you earn £21,000. Whoopee…that’ll do it. Have these folk worked out how much it costs to live a life?

The whole debate has been manipulated and programmed. I’ve been disappointed in the media scrutiny. It’s as if journalists are scared to criticise because they pissed it up at Uni!

The facts are:-

We all benefit from having an educated population it’s very much a public benefit (like Defence). It’s strange how no one has commented that we could not afford the Iraq war, or Afganistan, or Trident.

We need to decide what we will spend money on. Does anyone think £200 million plus for the “Bloody Sunday” enquiry was worth it?

Before you starting charging the customer extra, any business would look at costs and rationalisation. We should look at the Universities and make them more efficient. Why is it that bigger is better in so many area but many universities operate in costly 16th Century buildings that are patently unsuitable.

Compare it with the NHS, get rid of all these bosses and amalgamate them into a “Super Campus”.  We’re looking at reducing the 8 police forces in Scotland because their office costs are 25% of budget…I don’t even know how many Uni’s there are now. It’s like a new one gets advertised on the back of a bus every week!

There are stacks of things that can be done before you hack into the students. We need to look at the whole grants system and tax system before we attack the future of of our young people.


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Child Benefit versus Banker’s Bonus

This last week has finished with the discussions over the cut’s to Child Benefit. Forget all the posturing, we’re talking about saving a billion pounds in 2013.

Sneaking under the radar is the drop in the collective bonus being paid to top bankers. It’s dropped from £7.3 Billion to only £7 Billion. Thanks to the Irish papers for giving it a front page:-

And I had a wee laugh at the “Ratner” comments from Phillip Hampton (who has jumped the dyke after his effort for the previous government on “Better Regulation” ..meaning “less regulation”

 His previous work caused a lot of unrest and unease throughout the agencies he looked at over about 5 years. But at the very end it was a waste of money and effort, the last Labour Government was to busy serving it’s business masters and missed the opportunity to improve public services.  I think there was only one agency abolished afte all that work.

This is worth bearing in mind as this government postures about cutting quango’s and saving money from cut’s in public services. The sad thing they have to realise is that many of these organisations do a good job.

The announcement on Friday about the proposed abolition of Consumer Focus will be worth watching. They have a very specific role in protecting vulnerable consumers in the provision of energy.

So we’ve got business as usual for the 100,000 or so top earners in the banks. proposals to cut benefits and rights for everyone else, and plans to abolish organisations to who look after our interests.

Interesting times.

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Tommy Sheridan Trial v Andy Coulson

I was watching Channel 4’s “Dispatches” the other night and witnessed Andy Coulson (the Prime Minister’s Head of Communications) completely blanking a Select Committee. He was being asked about the News of the World story where they had hacked into the phone records of the Royal Family. He just sat there saying “I can’t recall, I can’t recall”.

Now some might find this annyoying, unlawful, etc. I just took it as one of the games of life, in the age old tradition of ” A big boy did it and ran away!”.

Fast forward to the Tommy Sheridan trial and I couldn’t help thinking that if a few of those witnesses could just have said “I can’t recall” then we could have saved a few million quid, maybe paid some child benefit, opened the odd school, bought some free personal care for some old folk, whatever.

Really, does any right thinking person feel this is a good use of public money?

Back to the TV show: The police had ssaid in the show “we have a duty to ensure that any enquiries are lawful, proportionate and involve an appropriate use of police resources”

I agree. Let’s leave the politicians and the papers to their scummy lives and let us get on with ours!

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