Sunday 14 August 2016

Why can't England provide free university education like the Germans do?

Jeremy Corbyn is proposing the abolition of university tuition fees. Of course right-wingers who favour lumbering young people from poor and ordinary backgrounds with tens of thousands of pounds in debt before they even begin their working lives will deride Corbyn's policy as "unaffordable", but one thing they can't explain is how other countries like Germany can afford to offer free university tuition to their young people while England charges the highest fees in the world for attendance at public universities.

They can't explain it because the comparison between German and English attitudes to advanced education undermines their warped ideology of sticking a price tag on everything.

There is a particularly selfish and narrow-minded attitude amongst the English that justifies lumbering kids with huge debts for the "crime" of aspiring to obtain a professional qualification. An awful lot of English people have been trained by four decades of selfish "no such thing as society" Thatcherite ideology to see the world in selfish and simplistic terms.

"Why should my taxes pay for people to become doctors, scientists, engineers, lawyers and educators?" they wail, as if there is no material benefit to living in a highly educated nation where there are plenty of doctors, engineers and lawyers. Amazingly these people have also been trained by the right-wing media to think of socialism as a selfish ideology based on jealousy, while they selfishly argue that the cost of educating future generations shouldn't come out of their taxes because they're jealous of the salaries paid to professionals like doctors, architects and lawyers!

Meanwhile in Germany people have a much better general understanding of the fact that the economic cost of training professionals at university comes with plenty of social and economic benefits. The Germans want to create a high-skill, high-pay, high-tech economy which means that deterring bright kids from poor and ordinary backgrounds from attending university with the prospects of astronomical debts like the English do would be a woefully counter-productive strategy.

The British political establishment don't see things this way. The reason they don't is that they have another priority that massively over-rides the long-term economic best interests of the nation. They have a class system to protect.

The most visible example of how the Westminster establishment defends the class system as a first priority is the way that Hugh Richard Louis Grosvenor* managed to avoid £3.6 billion in inheritance tax through the use of tax-dodging trust funds. Apparently we can't afford free university tuition for future generations, we can't even afford maintenance grants to help kids from low-income families go to university, but we can afford to let our aristocrats dodge £billions in tax.

The contrast between the Westminster political class telling us that providing advanced education to our younger generations is "unaffordable" whilst simultaneously turning a blind eye to the tax-dodging of our inherited wealth billionaire aristocrat class couldn't be clearer, but in reality the existence of the tuition fees system is in itself a manifestation of the class system.

The children of the super wealthy aristocratic class and those of the Westminster establishment club don't have lumber themselves with tens of thousands in debt to get professional university qualifications. To parents who can afford the £35,000 per year tuition fees at schools like Eton, Westminster, Harrow and Rugby, £9,000 per year is actually a significant saving.

For ordinary people the idea of finding £9,000 per year to ensure their kids don't have to go into massive debt just to get a decent level of education is impossible. This means that kids from poor and ordinary backgrounds end up leaving university with tens of thousands worth of debt and liability for a 9% aspiration tax to be deducted from their disposable income for decades, or even their entire working lives, while the children of the wealthy leave university without debts and without being subjected to the 9% Aspiration Tax.

In Germany university education is free to their youngsters because they understand the social and economic benefits of it. If you want to create a highly-skilled workforce fit for a modern high-tech economy, erecting huge financial barriers to deter students from poor and ordinary backgrounds from advanced education is an absolutely terrible idea.

Turning the UK into a successful high-skill, high-tech economy is clearly not the priority for the Westminster establishment club though. Their first priority is the maintenance of their beloved system of inherited wealth and privilege, so penalising youngsters from ordinary backgrounds who aspire to make something of their lives with enormous debts makes perfect sense to them.

Why on earth would they want to give uppity little plebs a level playing field to compete with their own offspring? 

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Hugh Richard Louis Grosvenor is the real given name of the "Duke of Westminster". Not many people have actually heard him called by his real name because of the sycophantic tendency of the BBC and the rest of the mainstream media to refer to the inherited wealth class by their aristocratic titles rather than by their actual names. I don't refer to people by their aristocratic titles because by doing so you legitimise the disgustingly outdated British class system.


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