Student Speculators? Why our education is one big gamble.

An alternative take on yesterday’s protests.


Another week, another student demo. Yesterday’s protest was part of a larger one organised by the TUC  against the deep, annihilating cuts introduced by the current government.

Yes, those malicious, ideologically-driven cuts. Those drastic cuts that will increase government spending from £661bn to £709bn between 2009/10 and 2016/17. But never mind. Try not to scratch past the rhetoric; you’ll only come away empty-handed.

The usual assortment of discontents gathered to offer an ‘alternative’. An alternative which sounds much like the status-quo of unsustainable, debt-fuelled government spending (‘why worry about it today when our children can sort it out?’).

So, I hear you asking, what was the justification for students taking part in yesterday’s march for the ‘alternative’? UCLU Education and Campaigners Officer, Edwin Clifford-Coupe, a regular at such events, offered his own justification: “students are a form of worker, intellectual workers.”

Now, where did he think up such toffee? Of course there are people on campus who are ‘intellectual workers’: lecturers, people doing vocational work etc. But the majority of students are nothing of the sort. Most of us students are consumers – how many ‘workers’ do you know who pay £9,000 per year for the privilege of working?

Without wishing to blow any minds, I’d suggest that students are, in fact, something entirely different. Something that may horrify many of our left-wing comrades. Students are speculators. Yes, students are that great Satan – dare you even utter the word? – speculators.

As students we are all effectively gambling. We are speculating that our investment of time, money, and effort will ultimately, over time, be of a greater (not necessarily monetary) value than when we started. We want that juicy peach at the end of our studies: a degree. It’s something that will hopefully improve our employment prospects. If this is so, why shouldn’t we, as those who directly benefit from this, pay for it, be it now or later on through loans?

Most protesters vehemently demand a ‘free’ education. What they actually mean to say is an education paid for by someone else. They wish to take none of the financial risk of a university education by using other peoples’ money, something which sounds like the behaviour of that modern über-Satan: investment bankers. People who may have never been to university, will never personally receive the benefits of a university education, and who started paying taxes many years before most students do will have to cough-up the dough, so that little darling can spend their first year of university doing strawpedoes, in-between reading a few books.

But lets not busy ourselves with such notions. It’s far easier to spout low-level, empty inanities about the ‘dangerous ideology of the current government’ – as if there’s even an iota of difference between the main parties – than to actually think about things realistically.

Try and sleep soundly tonight, because the Tory bogeyman is coming to get you. Or so they’d have you believe.

In response to the comments made on my last piece:

As much as I enjoy being described as having ‘extreme right-wing views’, this is a) the most inane form of debate (that of name-calling) and b) utterly irrelevant. No comments dealt with the fundamental fact of the unjustness of one group of students imposing their will regarding a highly-divisive topic on another. Whether it was by a ‘landslide’ doesn’t matter a fig; unless you see the tyranny of the majority as acceptable.

And lastly the idea that I ‘lost’ the vote. Maybe this is a justified accusation, but only because I believe the vote should never have occurred in the first place.