A bunch of crazed and over privileged adolescents have taken the country by storm, although I am not here talking about a viral internet sensation on youtube (well not entirely), I am of course talking about the part theatrical debacle and part apocalyptic power struggle between the Eton school friends Boris Johnson and David Cameron.
These two, along with seat dodger George Osbourne, viral apologist Nick Clegg, the omnishambolic Teresa May and the Tory in red Ed Milliband are waging an economic war on us. None of them are like you and me, and none of them could dance their way into our affections using a youtube video (but that is not for want of trying is it Nick?)
Privilege begets privilege and what is happening to those of us without it is ideological; as in our role is being society is being changed. In October 2010, when the most recent student movement began, Universities Minister David Willetts prescribed that all subjects but science and Maths should have no state funding whatsoever and should be funded only by tuition fees.
Martin McQuillan the Dean of Arts and Social Sciences at Kingston University London replied to him ‘There are no workarounds, no accommodations to be made, no temporary crisis to be endured; this is the nuclear option, total irreversible wipeout… This is culture war in which critical thought is threatened with extinction.’
The reason for this is the privatisation of our education. When these parts of our academy, the parts that led to the enlightenment, to individual rights and freedoms, to cultural movements, to egalitarianism and the university model itself are turned into a commodity to be bought, a direct arrangement is produced.
The student plays the role of customer, consuming the product, and the student does this entirely at its own cost and therefore is taking an economic risk. The university becomes the purveyor of the product, so our entire university culture changes. No longer is it the refuge and heady ideal of the underprivileged, it is now an economic risk, and applications drop, and social mobility for arts and humanities thinkers and doers is almost completely extinguished. No more dreams of academia for those who come behind us if we allow this to happen.
The government is utilising compliant vice chancellors to implement this model of education. All universities outside of an elite group are destined to become business schools. As we undertake studies in the interests of the private rather than the public we find our choices and freedoms diminish. We become tradespersons, concerned only with the operation of the market, unable to benefit society.
That is left to the elites who benefit greatly from an even more unequal society. All of this is happening alongside a great privatisation of intellectual property, that can be understood as an attempt to strengthen the position of those with the most power in our society, who are undertaking a quite complex economic and cultural experiment, all of this coming from a government that did not even win the election.
Not that we can reserve any sympathy for the ineffectual and guilty opposition whose leader was booed by his parties bread and butter during the anti austerity march of the 20th October. There truly is nobody left in the party political process that can be trusted to stop this. That is why we must take immediate and radical action to make our voices heard.
No matter what you opinion on the style of protest we saw in 2010 doing nothing would be a cataclysmic measure akin to allowing the burning of books on the arts and humanities. What happens now will have everlasting consequences so what is needed is another round of large protests that do not stop until these damaging policies are rescinded. The first of these demonstrations takes place on the 21.11.12.