Well… a most enjoyable Christmas Day and Boxing Day but now, mercifully, it is time to move on. There was a very interesting article in the Observer this morning…
Call for universities to charge well-off students £30,000 a year
Former member of the Bank of England’s monetary policy committee says poor have been subsidising the rich for too long
Having been in the private sector of legal education for 25 odd years, and recently an observer of developments, it is worth pointing out that students are used to paying market-rates for legal education at the Legal Practice or Bar Vocational Course stage with fees for those courses coming in at between £8500-£14500. Danny Blanchflower, a former member of the Bank of England’s monetary policy committee, said the “poor have been subsidising the rich” for too many years. He is, I’m afraid, whether the rich middle classes like it or not, correct. He makes the point that universities are strapped for cash at the moment, that well off parents have been been paying substantial fees for private education and primary and secondary level for their children but resent paying for the most sophisticated education of all – the university degree stage; the stage that determines, more of ten than not, the future career and success of the student.
It is astonishing that those from poorer backgrounds pay the same at ther university stage as those from richer backgrounds. It isn’t fair and Blanchflower makes some valuable points – most, I suspect, unpalatable to those from richer backgrounds. Will a future Labour or Conservative government have the courage to drive through reform so that the real cost of high quality education is divided more equably? I am not holding my breath on this. If anything, it will be a very long and slow burn.
In legal education at the LPC and BVC stage the fees are the same for all students – but some institutions do provide fee reductions in the form of scholarships and bursaries which, of course, cost the institution very little in real terms once the break even has been reached. Interestingly, few, if any, institutions provide cash grants to students – so the institutional generosity is, arguably, more window dressing than natural charity to help good students – from any background. The big law firms pay GDL and vocational course fees and subsistence for their students and there are some fairly hefty scholarships available through the Inns for the brightest students. Other students have to fund their own education. There is (or was) a reasonable prospect that students taking on substantial loans to pay for the vocational stage of legal education would get a good job or career at the Bar and be able to pay the loans back over time.Very few LPC and BVC providers, I suspect, run their courses at a loss and if they do, they should close them if public money is being used to support these unprofitable courses and students should be re-directed to other public or private service providers. It is madness, in this time of austerity and cut-backs for universities to prejudice their position and resourcing in profitable or break even courses by running loss makers.
Before we start the serious stuff… my Tweet of The Week goes to Steve Shark for this…
A man who has been described as Britain’s most prolific shoplifter was jailed for one day yesterday after committing his 321st offence.
I marvel sometimes at the sheer incompetence of some people. Here is a story about Britain’s worst shoplifter. Hopeless. “David Archer, 54, from Rhyl, north Wales, has served the equivalent of two life sentences as a result of his addiction to petty crime. He has been unable to spend 14 out of the past 15 Christmases with his daughter because he has been behind bars. Yesterday, Archer admitted in court to stealing two bottles of whisky from a store at Abergele. David Mainstone, prosecuting, said Archer had a “quite horrendous” list of previous offences and 155 court appearances.” Observer
I can only assume that the man pictured left is American and some form of judicial intervention, other than prison, was handed down. I can’t see this catching on in Britain – boozed up blokes dressing up in women’s underwear is a British hobby at Christmas Parties every year and in Pantomime…. I am advised.
Another ludicrous example of political correctness?
I am grateful to Fark for reading the Daily Mail – to save me having to do so…
The Daily Mail reports:
British Transport Police have dropped the word ‘Christmas’ from a national publicity poster to avoid upsetting people who do not ‘buy into’ the festival. The word was proposed as part of a slogan on the poster, which is designed to alert people to the extra number of transport police on duty over the festive period.The slogan – devised by an advertising company commissioned by the Transport Police – read ‘Christmas presence’, a pun on the word ‘presents’.
But in a move branded ‘bonkers’ by Christian leaders, the police’s marketing department decided the word Christmas could anger non-believers or people from other faiths who disliked its Christian connotations.Instead of scrapping the poster, however, the department merely swapped ‘Christmas’ for ‘Holiday’, so the slogan now reads ‘Holiday presence’.
The whole thing is ludicrous given that the shops are stuffed to the gunnels with Christmas tat from October onwards and, in any event, atheists, people from other faiths are more than happy to give presents to each other on Christmas Day… This Happy Holidays nonsense ‘started in America’ and is now a global problem’. (Gordon Brown phoned to tell me this.) Christmas is whatever you make it. Does anyone really get offended in this country by seeing the word ‘Christmas’ ?
I quite enjoy taking pictures from the Conservative Flickr photostream and putting apprpriate or inapprpriate captions to them… but with this marvellous photograph I will use their own caption…. it isn’t political… it sends out a good message about british spirit and resilience, rings true and I liked the pic.
And finally… Afghanistan and a fascinating website I came across through friends on Twitter… well worth bookmarking for now and the future….
The Helmand blog is run by Major Paul Smyth from the UK Forces Media Ops team. The team is located in Helmand at Camp Bastion and the Task Force Headquarters and works to support the coalition forces together with the other government departments such as the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the Department for International Development.
Fascinating stuff – and a very interesting blog.
If you do fancy giving a bit of support – please do have a look at a fantastic idea from the Royal Air Force which I posted on my blog on Christmas Eve… it really is a great idea.
That’s it for today… off to do another ‘black painting’…. a bit of maths and geometry….
Best as lways,