I never had much time for Demos as a student. The right kind of women never asked me to go, and anyway, Wednesdays and Saturdays were sports days. I was political and would have smoked pot and done drugs, but didn’t like the other people who did. I got hurt in the Paris riots of ’68 but that’s a long story. We oldies like to think our riots were bigger and better, but I’m not so sure. Today’s lot smashed up stuff rather well, had a fire and quite a lot of the ‘peaceful protesters’ hooted enough to intimidate the police present.
What has taken my eye over this, apart from how pretty many of our young things are, is how dumb the protest is, and that it portends much beloved police OT and a return to sterner coppering. This latter is sad, and the OT may be is it distracts officers from local policing and the real job. Students these days are so lame it surprises me they can get any urges up, and they have the dispute nearly all wrong, but this is about right as they are as thick as mud, leaving school with worthless qualifications and as sheep with very little brain.
It doesn’t really matter how higher education is paid for. I rather approve of the kids and their families paying for it, as I would not want most of them anywhere near university in the traditional manner. It’s a waste of money. There are any number of institutions around offering quality standards (IIP is particularly crap) in almost anything – it’s all generally a licence to print money that serves no purpose other than making a few spivs rich. We need less than 15% of our kids doing the traditional route. Our teaching is over-priced, the kids don’t get enough of it and proper tutorial support and a lot of the fees go on bloated non-academic and professorial salaries and mad waste. Most 18 year olds are not in condition to benefit from university – we need more people in post-experience.
Finally, part-timers get an even break and don’t have to pay up-front. No one has to pay up front. The big protest should have been on the new interest rate arrangements which may cause substantial harm (our government once lent money to opium growers interest free) as the Smashknee, Sueyouletter and Bastard Loan Company comes after you. Science and maths students won’t have to pay so much, but then, most people can’t do these useful subjects.
We should be seeking to halve the cost of a degree by forcing universities to compete for real, double class-tutor contact at the same time and out source student recreational (sports and boozing-musak-whatever, plus theatre arty-fartying) around our towns, get experienced tutors, outlaw teacher-training for HE and get a lot more done via IT with tutors at home as well as students. I could go on and on. We could deliver degree for half the price and look to dominate the world market. I’d also bring back academic freedom to fail slackers and the totally inadequate. Most people currently associated with universities would be out of work except teaching or researching academics.
It struck when Stephenson was doing his PR at the end of the day, that most of us would be happy with our cops if they really did keep us safe – but we know they can’t even deal with vile druggie thieving louts. Millbank should, in principle be no different than anyone’s home. Today was not as bad as many get done to them and their homes because of poor policing. And if we have a democracy, how far should the cops go in stopping us rioting? There’s a clear need to do something, but my MP could do with a good shoeing because he’s an evil turd. A Swedish friend of mine was killed because she refused security, thinking not being easily approachable demeaned politics. A nutter did it. Much as I wish I’d been about to stop the clown and would have helped any officer at the protest (or arrested that shit who killed Mr. Tomlinson), I can’t help feeling we need street protests and are setting ourselves up for violent ones because political parties don’t listen. Shijuro may well find plenty of uniform OT about to comfort his retirement over the next couple of years. I hope any bricks miss him.