Sunday, 12 December 2010

Rise in Tuition fees and Education Cuts.

I haven't used this blog in a good while, over six months in fact. I have gotten rather attached to another blogging site called Tumblr, but I can't post my political/religious views or at least I wouldn't feel comfortable doing so.

Right, first off I want the very few people who actually read my blog to understand how angry I was when the proposed plan to triple University tuition fees in the UK, due to government cuts on continued education. The average annual fees were usually around £3000, so raising it to £9000 seemed unreal. I'll admit, I was ready with my picket signs, my 'disastablishmentarianism' attitude and a head filled with government conspiracy theories.

This rise in tuition fees weren't going to affect me. These plans were to be put in place in 2012, and I am attending University next year- but that wasn't the point. I thought of my friends in the year below, I thought of my bright, younger sister but me being a keen sociologist thought of the recreation of the class system.

Surely the rise in tuition fees would mean that only the upper-middle classes would be able to afford such an education? Dooming the working class to lack of opportunity and resulting in jobs that pay not even nearly as well as a career founded on a degree? This proposition would mean we went back to "The rich stay rich" and I was fuming.

I then spoke to my dear friend Chris who lives in Philadelphia and is also planning on going to University next year, but is staying in the states. I vented to him about the horrendous rise in fees and his reply is simple:
"In the states we pay $1600 on average. How much is that in pounds?"
Oh crap. That's about £9000.
However, he did tell me that there were a lot of grants that students can get from Universities, and asked why there weren't similar programs put in place in the UK.
Oh crap. They do do that.

So I was unintentionally and gently pushed off my political high horse by one of my best friends. I had heard the debates on the television, I had numerous debates myself with my parents and grandparents and yet one boy making a harmless comment through me off.

My solution? More focus on vocational subjects in schools. My school in particular puts a huge emphasis on the importance of attending University to bump the numbers up and make the schools reputation appear as if more intellects were emerging from the premises. Everyone wants to be rich, and a degree seems to be the way to do this.

BUT ANYWAY. Turns out it doesn't effect Welsh citizens now anyway, and it's been passed in England, so they're going to have to pay a fair bit for their edumacation just for being English.

So really this blog was slightly pointless :)

Tuesday, 15 June 2010

Childhood Countdown.

As my eighteenth birthday approaches, I thought it appropriate to read back on the blogs I have written in the last 6 months. The blog explaining my confused feelings about my status made me smile. In 2 days I am officially a legal adult.

I highly doubt in 2 days my parents will treat me any differently, although stating that I am "18 years old" seems to be more effective than "seventeen and a half." I highly doubt in 2 short days I will feel any differently than I do now.

So why on earth do I feel so apprehensive about it?

I have waited SO long to be 18, seriously the independence factor seems like a huge deal.

To me, being eighteen means you are officially an adult in the eyes of the law- and that's good enough for me. It means I can have a say in the running of the country as I can vote. It means I can go out and drink. It MEANS I can literally do whatever my parents can do. I am no longer a child with limited options. I can do whatever I like! Right?


I am stupidly giddy with excitement. Writing down the number of days left to go on my wrist and holding the amount of days left on my fingers until my friends stick the middle finger up at me. Truth is, I cannot wait.

But then yesterday, as I expressed my complete and utter impatience for my birthday my grandfather decided now would be a time to tell me that he can remember when he was eighteen, and how it seemed like yesterday...and HOW going from 18 to 83 had gone oh too quickly. He spoke about deterioration, the aches and pains of being old. How much he longed to be that age again... and how quickly it will all go for me now.

Thanks Bamp.

I had a driving lesson today, and I was cruising along outside the city centre and announced to him that I was in fact, 18 in 2 days. He then informed me it was his birthday today!
Totally BAFFLED why on earth he would book me in for a lesson on his birthday I asked him if he was mad.

He told me he forgot when his birthday was.


He told me how he hated birthdays after his eighteenth, how 19, 20, 21 and so on were a constant reminder that life will never be that fun again...and he was slowly creeping towards death.

That's lovely.
Thank you very much.

But, despite your predictions, I am convinced I will love EVERY birthday and life does not end at eighteen. If anything...

This is only the beginning :)

Wednesday, 21 April 2010

Simple rules.

When we are young, (say, 3-6 years) we are taught to follow simple rules. Rules that teach us how to behave in public and how to be sociable, simple life rules that young children have to learn and these are repeated into our brains until it's wired into our system:

1. Share.
2. Violence is wrong.
3. Use words to get what you want.
4. Treat other how you would want to be treated yourself.

We have all heard them and we all remember them even when we are adults because we teach our own children these exact same rules.

Which is fine.

But I can't help noticing we never apply these simple, primary school rules that are embedded into our systems when we become adults.

1. Share:
We live in a Capitalised society. What's mine is mine, I earned it, I worked for it and I am not giving anyone who had a lot less than me a penny.

(I am aware we give to charities and millions are raised...but NO-ONE can say everyone is this country gives enough to balance out the money in the world...or even the UK and the US alone)

2. Violence is wrong:
War. One word and a mistake we never seem to learn by.

3. Use words to get what you want:
OR! You could bomb them... that's the quicker way.

4. Treat others how you would want to be treated yourself:
The most important, and the closest to home. We are all selfish. We all fight for what we want to get what we want...and usually we don't care who we hurt along the way. We happily move into that house that that the other family can't afford to live in. We will happily take that promotion, even if someone is made redundant.

At this point, you're probably thinking I am being too black and white...and yes I am.

I know that people give hundreds of thousands to charities.
I know that we pay taxes so others can afford to live

But those simple rules we are taught, those black and white rules with no loopholes get bent as we get older.

It's okay to hit someone if...
It's okay to not give something they need if...

Simple rules that children 3-6 years seem to abide by.
I think it's time to take our own advice.

I think it's time to take a leaf out of their book.

Monday, 12 April 2010

UK 2010 Election,

As the UK election approaches, I find that's the only thing the News wants to talk about; rightly so.

Each day a different person (usually male) insults their competetors and and tells the nation why their party should be in power.

They look into that camera into our living rooms with such genuine looks on their faces, passion in their hearts and friendly smiles on their faces.

Damn, I didn't know that MP's had Dramatic Arts training?

After the MP's scandle I don't understand how anyone could buy what they're selling. Perhaps I am being cynical but I certainly don't.

The campaign ad's infected our televisions and poluting every corner of billboards around the country; It's advertising.

And just like advertising they are desperate for us to buy what they're selling.

Adverts use all sorts of techniques to convince people to buy products; tricks.

This is what this campaign has turned into: the tricks of advertising.

AND THAT Ladies and Gentlemen, are the people you have elected to run our country. THEY are the people who decide how much money you pay them.

Good Luck, Gordon Brown
Good Luck, David Cameron
Good Luck, Nick Clegg

All I have to say is: I'm glad I can't vote this year.

Thursday, 7 January 2010

"So Kate, today would you like to be a child or an adult?"

To be perfectly honest, I know I sound like a three year old when I repeat to my parents that I am "seventeen and a half!" The constant reminder, even if unnecessary. I'm pretty sure my mother remembers the day that she went through epic pain on her 27th birthday. Truth is, on reflection I don't think I'm reminding them- I'm reminding myself.

Not so much reminding perhaps, but trying to figure out what that means, that somehow by repeating the age I will figure out what the hell I am. My sister is 13, a teenager, a child. My mother and father are adults, and then there's me- seventeen and a half...what am I?!

Legally I'm not an adult for another six months
Technically I have the body of a woman
Mentally? It changes.

We had guests staying from Switzerland and my parents witty banter made me blush slightly when they announced to the table the topic of my "tantrums" included me screaming my exact age down the stairs, or muttering it under my breath in disagreement. At this point, one of them suggested very amusingly that I should announce what I want to be for the day. For example waking up and declaring "Today, I am a child" or "Today I am an adult" and sticking to that label throughout the day. I joked, noticing the amount of washing up after our meal as it was New Years and announced "Today, I am a child." My father then reminded me that children cannot drink champagne.

Although, I am guilty for changing my label, so do my parents. If they want something done and it isn't, or I having done the washing up I am an adult and I "should do this without thinking now". However, if I want to go out when I want then I have miraculously become a child and therefore cannot leave the house. (Although, my parents are pretty reasonable when it comes to going out)

I have many theories why I am so stuck in the middle.

1. Yes, I could leave school and get a job, but I am still dependent on my parents for food and shelter...and anything else I need.
2. Connecting to number one, they are paying for university, and therefore my future.
3. In six months I will be able to legally go clubbing, my parents can also tell me, no I cannot go.
4. I have the body of a woman, but I cannot reveal it inappropriatly because my father wouldn't let me out of the house.
5. I can have a boyfriend, yet he cannot sleep over.
6. I am dependent on lifts from my parents.

It's funny, I argue against most of the points...when I write it out, it makes sense...
sorry mum and dad, hopefully I'll get it before my eighteenth birthday...

Although sometimes I wonder if my parents really remember being my age, it's tough!I'm one of those people who needs to plan and needs to know what's going on before I do anything and yet, I have no idea where I stand.

I am in conflict with my own body.

Physically I am an adult
Mentally I am an adult (although I an act like a child occasionally)
So why on earth do I get treated like a child by some and an adult by others?!

So today, I am going to be a youth:

Old enough to know better,
Too young to care.

Binge Drinking and Knife Crime est. since 2007?

I think not.
As I was pouring my cereal this morning, and my mother was cleaning down the surfaces, there blazed the ultimate day-time morning TV show; Jeremy Kyle. For those who don't know, 'Jeremy Kyle' is a talk show similar to America's 'Jerry Springer', however unlike JS it's a lot more realistic, British and they actually help the members on the show. This was a bit of a different episode though, the host went out on the streets of Britain to "tackle" teenage binge drinking. My mother at this point shook her head and spoke about "how this wasn't around in her day" (my mother isn't eighty to point out, she's only talking thirty years ago) and how she believed this 'new founded' binge drinking was down to the lack of respect the youth of today had gained. I, being an A level Sociology student wanted to scream, yet for once, I kept my mouth shut.

I have my AS exams next week and to prepare I went to my Sociology teacher's house for help with revision. I asked her what she thought of the "rise of binge drinking" and the rise of under aged drinking. She left the room and came back with a piece of paper; a newspaper article over one hundred years old, and guess what? It was all about binge drinking. Now, me being me and being seventeen (which I love to point out to my parents at least once a day) ate this up.

The thing is, it's all a moral panic, many will disagree with me I know, but the youth of today have such a disgraceful light shone upon them I had to share my opinion. I believe the media to have more power than we give them credit for. I'm not one of those weird conspiracy people, but the media does arguably change and somewhat control society. All the news seems to talk about at the moment is knife crime and binge drinking; the rise of it...I'd like to point out I haven't been around long and my history knowledge isn't too fantastic but I'm pretty sure there were knives before I was born, and alcohol for that matter, and alcohol addicts. I wish sometimes my parents would stop to think of the possibility that perhaps the media is sensationalising for more viewings? After all, it still fights for viewings...technically it's a TV show, how far will they take it?

I'm not naive. I know that knife crime has in fact doubled in the last two years...but you've guessed it! I blame the media! There was a tiny rise in knife crime a few years ago and BOOM they've attacked it, broadcast it, the works; let the moral panic begin. Then more and more young people start carrying knives. Coincidence? I think not. Ask a teenage boy why he carried a knife, I dare you. The answer is disturbing and unsettling; "I carry a knife for protection."

I ask you now to open your minds.

  • Slight rise in knife crime, media 'advertise' this
  • Young people learn of others carrying knives
  • Young people worry and carry them for protection

These days we can see everything anywhere, CCTV allows us to view every street corner... thirty years ago we didn't have that sort of technology, think about sixty or even one hundred years ago. Perhaps we never noticed it before? Perhaps the police have cracked down on certain crimes and therefore charged more people with these crimes?

Point is, The Kings and Queens of Britain have been known to drink themselves into a paralytic state and 'brave' men fought with a sword for a woman's heart.

Have things really changed?

I think not.