Or "How will I afford to go to hogwarts now?"
So, you may have heard, but if you haven't, teenagers have decided they're not entirely fond of the idea of being made poor, and have decided to protest.
First some background.
In England and Wales Everyone who goes to Uni is obliged to pay money towards their University education (This is not the case in Scotland where education is largely free (to scottish people and non British EU nationals), but this is not the time and place for that little fiasco), at the moment this figure is capped at around £3000 a year (this is pretty much one of the highest rates in Europe, I'm not sure if it's the highest, but it's pretty high).
To pay these sums English and Welsh people apply to the student finance company which is pretty much govt owned, they pay your tuition fees directly to the univeristy and give you anything else you wish to claim, as well as some free maintenance grants you won't have to pay back.
To be honest most people weren't happy when this was brought in, but we begrudgingly accepted it.
After we earn over £15K a year we have to begin paying it back as well as any interest it has accumulated.
Ok thats the first part summed up.
Now whats happening now?
First came the Browne report, due to this unlikely being implemented in its entirity I will largely just give the basics: huge cuts in education budgets, huge increase in tuition fees to fill that gap.
The official stance at the moment seems to be this.
A trippling of the cap on tuition fees from £3000 to £9000
An increase (not actually a bad thing) in the threshold where we begin paying back our loans from £15K to 21K, at which point 9% of all money earned over that will go to paying back loans.
A change in the interest rate, with the interest rate being 0 for people at 21K and 3% for 41K
Possibly (but how well this will be implemented remains to be seen) an increase in the number of free bursaries at Univeristies that decide to charge the full £9000
On top of this there will be drastic cuts in university funding of 40% have been set out.
So will this make things worse for students.
Maybe not for the bottom 25% if the government is to believed, but overall debt will be higher.
Of course the main thing to remember here, is this cut in education funding goes along side the increase in fees, so what is in effect happening is is that new students from 2013 onwards will owe a vast amount more money than their predecessors but will get exactly the same if not worse levels of education.
As you can imagine young people aren't particularly happy that due to the actions of a bunch of wankers, I mean bankers they're going to have forced on them a mountain of debt.
But heres the kicker.
The Lib Dems.
The Lib Dems are the third biggest political party, and have the second highest amount of control due to being a part of the coalition govt.
They campaigned on and made pledges to not support any rise in tuition fees, in fact they outright wished to ban them, and there is a tendency for towns with large universities to have significant lib dem voting blocs (I wonder who they could be?).
They now have obviously gone back on the pledge and one senior member of the party even went as far as to claim he didn't make it.
Ok, so now you can see why the English and Welsh students are pissed off, as are lecturers, and well anyone who doesn't read the tabloids, or votes Conservative, and of course even some tories are pissed off because they're very worried about the implications of victimising the young for the crimes of Adults.
Now the Protests:
What do we want!: No Increase in fees!
When do we want it: We don't have a date, we want you not to set a date for the increase!
Ok now the fun stuff
On the 10th of November, Students largely organised by the national union of students descended on London, approximately 50000 or so they mostly protested outside downing street and the houses of parliament before marching towards Millbank Tower the offices of the Conservative party.
At around 1PM 200 or so people charged past the very small police presence (some say that there were so few police there due to police anger over THEIR OWN budget cuts, but that's hearsay)
Stuff was vandalised fires were set outside and shouts of "tory scum" were made, all in all, pretty exciting.
Some wanker threw a fire extinguisher off the roof and almost hit a police officer, obviously the press loved this and decided to turn the students into monsters, as has been shown since on youtube, within seconds of it happening everyone started shouting "stop throwing shit" at the top of their lungs, thus proving a vast divide between general student consensus and one twat who attempted murder, this shocking discovery will be documented in nature in an article called "Human beings between the ages of 18 and 25 don't like the idea of people being mudered: who knew?"
For those who would like to know, A suspect has been arrested for that, hooray.
All together 35 people were arrested 14 people were injured, and Tory HQ got smashed to pieces, A mixture of sadness and jubilation to be sure.
Yesterday another protest was had, this time the controversy is much more on the police than the protestors (although some was on the police in the former), due to their use of a very controversial tactic called kettling or containment, whereby the police literally block an entire section where protestors are present and hold them there for hours on end, some countries have succesfully blocked this tactic on human rights grounds largely due to in essence being a mass arrest and detainment on a large group of people without charge.
During this people are not given access to food, water, toilet facilities or sources of heat, some school children who had gone to the protest to protest education cuts in schools were trapped in this as well.
More news to follow.
If you want pictures of buildings being smashed and funny protest signs let me know.
SOME REALLY COOL PICS FROM PROTESTORShttp://forums.somethingawful.com/showthread.php?threadid=3364397&userid=0&perpage=40&pagenumber=18
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