Sunday, November 28, 2010

21 Today (Tomorrow anyway)

"Tempus Fugit" type posts litter this blog but celebrating maytrees min's 21st birthday with her yesterday at Exeter University reminded us all of how precious time is and how quickly it flies by. As I said to a couple of her Wimbledon friends also at Exeter chanced upon as we were strolling to Harry's Bar, it seems like only yesterday that maytrees min was a babe in arms. They too are turning 21 yet sadly already the mother of one is recently a widow. I thought of her dad whilst passing their old family home during a Raynes Park jog a night or two back.

Harry's Bar is a good place for a family reunion and having eschewed a Streetcar to let the train from Wimbledon to Exeter Central take the strain, not a bad place to enjoy a celebratory glass of Sancerre rose too.

Being in a University city so soon after the student protests about the university fees' cap in England being increased to £9000 pa, also caused some reflection on the financial stringencies affecting so many different countries and areas of life which up until recently were almost taken for granted in the UK and other Western countries. The student protest in London earlier this week hardly seemed to be violent. The media made much fuss about one police van which was kicked around a little. If that indeed was the main violent feature of the demo then by any yardstick the protest was virtually a peaceful one although the behaviour of parents and schools casting blind eyes on participation by 15 and 16 year old pupils seems irresponsible.

As for the cause of the protests, the "education education education" words of the Tony Blair were in my view, right on the nail when he uttered them some years back and still are so deterring young people from higher education by increasing its cost by 200%, undermines the laudable objective of Mr Blair's pithy comment. I suppose the fact that the repayments will only apply when with the benefit of a good university awarded degree, the student begins to earn large sums is intended to make the paying off the extra debt more bearable. However with the cost of buying even only a modest home now so high she will need the large income to borrow sufficient to buy a roof over her head; adding 3 X £9000 to that loan would make a large load of debt for the start of living an adult life.

All that is a long winded way of saying that I agree with the students' aims though the question of quite how a fair balance between the competing demands on the available diminishing dosh should be struck by the government is impossible to answer without giving rise to protests from those who have to pay more - someone has to and alas there are not enough rich people to go round.

Back to maytrees min - she like all her older siblings is fortunate enough to have benefited from University life under the current less burdensome payment arrangements.

Happy Birthday!

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