For the first time since starting this blog I feel prompted to write on something non sporting. You may find it slightly controversial. If so, please know that I don't court controversy, nor do I want to engage in a argument with you. These are my opinions and I'm fed up of keeping them to myself.
I see thousands of foul-mouthed, hoodied 'students' defacing statues of Winston Churchill, smashing the windows of our democratic institutions and climbing willy-nilly over memorials to our war dead.
For Chrissakes... what the hell is going on here.
I'll tell you what's going on. We've gone soft. Successive governments and generations of parents have turned this once great country into a pampering, one size fits all, everyone is a winner nation of layabouts and good for nothings who expect the world delivered to them on a plate.
And we're all to blame. As parents we abdicate responsibility to schools. We eschew discipline, allowing our children freedoms and 'rights' that they're not equipped to deal with. It's made us lazy and complacent. So lazy and complacent in fact that we've become part of the 'X Factor' generation, where success is dished out and not earned. This carries over not only to the world of work but education.
Are we really saying that, by the standards of past generations, so many of our children are equipped to attend a university? Nonsense. Of course not. Yes, I grant you, they are equipped to attend those establishments now known as universities. But real universities, for extremely intelligent young adults? I don't think so.
So why are there so many 'universities' and why are so many of our children shovelled through an education system by awarding them undeserved and worthless exam grades now so meaningless that, seemingly, a new 'top' grade needs to be invented every couple of years. I'll tell you why... because there are no jobs for these kids to leave school for and successive governments (this is an apolitical rant) have avoided grasping the nettle of realising that many trades need to be learned at the proverbial coal face rather than in the classroom. Could it possibly be that hundreds of thousands of school leavers are also kept off the dole queues if they attend further education, enabling them to be classed as adults when they leave and therefore not reflecting so badly on a continually failing education system.
Further education is not a 'must have' for all. A 'right' yes, but not a 'must have'.
As long as we enable our kids to believe that they're all suited to universities, then they'll all want to go. Why wouldn't they?
Listen up and listen good. Universities are for bright kids. They are not a three year holiday.
Also, if someone goes to university in a system that allows everyone to go then it's going to cost. Pure and simple. In the past, when numbers were limited, it was free... the state could afford it. Now they can't. So whoever goes will pay. Get used to it. We pay for pretty much everything in life and, after all, education is free until the age of sixteen. Students should thank their lucky stars they don't have to pay in advance or at the point of receiving 'the goods'. Can you imagine walking into The Savoy, demanding a suite and meal in the restaurant and not having to pay for it for several years, and only then when you earned a good enough wage to be able to afford it.
Some home truths to the protesters:
1. Marchers have the right to march. Police have the right to police. Don't be surprised if you get 'kettled' when you join up with a bunch of thugs.
2. If the thugs are a minority then you've failed in organising your march. We expect better of students.
3. If you're sixteen or under: Tough. You either shouldn't be there or you didn't figure out the risks. I don't want to hear your bleating about being on Westminster Bridge for eight hours. Unlucky.
4. You achieve nothing by violence. You undermine your cause. The nation looks at you and loses all sympathy.
5. You are not French students and never will be. At least they do a proper job of demonstration and have a track record of quality work at the barricades.
6. The statues of the people your thugs defaced are in memory of greater men and women than they will ever be.
7. This country owes you nothing yet. You owe it and your parents everything. Start delivering as a generation and we may consider funding for your ongoing education in a more benevolent light.
8. Say 'please' and 'thank you' a bit more.
9. Forget the lottery. Forget 'X Factor'. Work hard and life will deliver. Don't and it won't.
10. University will cost you money. If you're bright enough to go to university you must be bright enough to figure out if it will be of benefit. Do the math and make a decision. If you can't figure it out you shouldn't be at university.
Peace, love and kisses to you all, politicians and students alike.