idiothole: (kick. ass. die. young.)
An economics professor in Finland is proposing the government change the higher education so that graduates would have to pay a tax after graduation to make things more "equal". The argument goes, those who do not get higher education still have to pay the taxes to pay for other people's free higher education. Supposedly people who have university or polytechnic degrees bring in more €€€ than those who don't, gaining an unfair advantage.

A couple of things..

1) You could have argued this back in the day when it was true that academic degrees guaranteed a well-paying job. Nowadays it simply isn't true. A plumber might get paid more than somebody with a Literature PhD. Should the plumber pay more taxes because of this? No, of course not. That's already done through progressive taxation (which we can hopefully keep around).

2) There is no equality in charging for higher education, which would only further deter the people from less-privileged backgrounds from entering higher education. Yes, there is a culture of "education heritage", ie. kids of well-educated parents going into higher education themselves. But the way to get rid of this is not taxing graduates or having tuition fees.

3) There's such a thing as "welfare state", and our (internationally recognised) education system is all a big part of that. The "unfair" argument is essentially boiled down to a question where supposedly we should only pay taxes for things we want and use. That's not, however, how the welfare state works. I pay taxes to pay for other people's kids to have state-run kindergartens, even though I do not have kids myself. I haven't used the police a lot and never called the fire department, but I'm still glad those services exist.

I'm equally glad to be paying for the education of well-educated doctors, teachers, scientists. There are also indirect benefits. The plumber might not have to go to university but isn't it great that if the plumber's kid wants to go to university, they can, even if the plumber themselves is out of work at the given moment, or has had to retire? That they wouldn't feel discouraged, knowing that they'd have to pay for it, either now or somewhere down the line?

I think there might be some good arguments for other ways to fund the university system but I definitely don't think you can argue it increases inequality.
idiothole: (chillin')
I am so glad I watched PMQs this week because it was a riotous occasion and much fun was had by all except Cameron, at the expense of Cameron. Piñata party! If you're a Tory backbencher or a Labour MP, ready that baseball bat and come have a whack.

I almost felt bad for him but then, I kind of totally did not and just rolled in glee when Ed Miliband, in his zen mode asked Cameron about Big Society. While the Tories have been busying themselves with digging themselves waist-deep in Ed Balls' past (because they of course don't actually care about Balls and he is not at all a threat to them, which is why they more or less read out his CV and cited it as failure of everything ever happened at Treasury Q's and Project Merlin statement today), Miliband's kind of figured out some of Cameron's flaws.

this is long. )
idiothole: press gang icon by me. (Default)
Being a foreign follower of British politics is interesting, partly because British politics in itself is interesting, but also because I always come at certain subjects with a viewpoint slightly different from any actual, British commentators. There are subjects where I have my views, and they're by no means unique views, and then there are subjects where I notice that my own viewpoint is so removed from the British context, I can't really swing one way or the other on it.

Such a subject is electoral reform, specifically the plans to go from First Past the Post to Alternative Vote.

Lengthy rambling. Oh joy! )
idiothole: (chillin')
olololol Guardian comments section: "Next week instead of Prime Minister's Question Time, may we have Prime Minister's Answer Time?"

So to be honest I consider tuition fees one of those Difficult Issues where I'm not entirely sure Labour stands on solid ground but benefit greatly from their opposition status because regardless of what might've happened, had they been in government, they now can side with the poor kids protesting on the streets. Whether those kids see Labour as a good alternative to the coalition is another question altogether, of course, but suffice to say Labour seems cosy.

I was kind of surprised Ed had so much ammunition on the topic but pleasantly so. He was all quick on his fee with the Bullingdon Club comeback.

Which, based on Twitter #pmqs responses, made people say Miliband was igniting "class war" or some much shit. Maybe it's my outsider's perspective on this but I read the joke completely differently. To me, it was less about the fact Bullingdon club is a wealthy young mens exclusive club but more about the club's reputation in terms of bad behaviour, trashing restaurants and the like.

probably longer than it should be. )
idiothole: (it happened during several nights)
It's interesting following Sally Bercow on Twitter. Sally's twitter bio is simple and tells you everything you need to know; Labour activist, does the odd bit of broadcasting & writing, mum of 3. Doesn't answer to Mrs Speaker.

She happens to be the wife of John Bercow, who's currently the Speaker of the House of Commons (in the UK parliament). He's also the Conservative MP for Buckingham, but of course currently tied by the impartiality of the Speaker's chair.

Sally doesn't answer to Mrs Speaker, which sends out a clear message; she's married to a man, but isn't married to his position, or the professional limitations of his position (such as impartiality). So she's vocally, fiercely Labour, and outspoken about her past life (including alcoholism and one night stands). She's feminist, regularly refers to the right-wing paper The Daily Mail as The Daily Fail or The Fail, and comes out against Tory policies.

Thanks to all of these facts, she's got haters. She typically refers to them as Fail readers or Tory trolls, which a lot of them no doubt are, but some are just angry that she exists. That she's a woman who benefits from her husband's job in terms of publicity but isn't limited by it, and doesn't feel like she needs to represent him in any way shape or form, or shut up about her views. She calls out her haters on it, regularly, and rightly calls them misogynist.

gets a bit lengthy. )
Page generated Sep. 19th, 2017 08:28 pm
Powered by Dreamwidth Studios