The deputy PM deserves all the opprobrium being heaped on him for betraying students
Students bring out a violent streak in me. When I see NUS spokespeople on TV talking simplistically about tuition fees, even though I basically agree with the sentiments they express so unattractively, I want to punch them. But I also like watching them chuck stuff at the police, smash windows and jump up and down on vans. I'm not so keen on the fire extinguisher hurling – I lose my appetite for the scuffle if I think someone might get killed – but a bit of a ruck with some bobbies dressed as X-wing pilots seems entirely appropriate.
It's the peaceful protesting that winds me up: the super-keen "political" students who've nosed their way into being interviewed to show how clever they are. They seem unrealistic and unaccountable and you can smell the self-interest and grubby ambition lurking beneath the veneer of unworkable ideals. Like pre-election Lib Dems.
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What he says about the amount in repayments and debt being written off is true, but I think the amount of debt is only part of the argument. These proposals don't save the state anything at all for a very long time, and really this tuition fees thing is largely about a perception/policy shift of moving the burden of higher education from the state to the student to enable governments of all colours to shaft the students/young more in the future. Pretty much everything Mitchell said here seems right on the money to me.