Terry Jones: Let's make infants pay for their schooling

It makes me sick! To think of all those future fat cats benefiting from my taxes. Make 'em pay for it

Share

The theory behind Tony Blair's top-up fees is that the only people who benefit from education are those who receive it and that therefore they should be the ones to pay for it. The concept is as revolutionary as it is exciting. Back in the dark old days people misguidedly thought that somehow society as a whole might benefit from the education of its citizens.

In the Italian town of Lucca, in 1347, for example, the town governors provided every citizen who wished to study law or medicine in Bologna with the funds to do so, on the grounds that they wished "to fill the city of Lucca with virtuous men".

But of course now we know better. It is obvious that the only people who benefit financially from the activities of doctors are the doctors themselves - so why should any of us subsidise their education?

It's the same with scientists. There are really good jobs out there just waiting for people with degrees in chemistry and physics, and since getting a decent job is the only aim of science nowadays it is ridiculous to expect other people to contribute to the good fortune of those who are already so lucky.

And just look at brain surgeons and heart specialists. They make an absolute packet out of their rackets. Some of them have nice big houses and drive smart cars. Quite a few of them go on holidays to the Mediterranean and even on cruises.

Why should you or I, who have no medical qualifications whatsoever, underwrite their future lifestyle while they are studying?

It makes me sick! To think of all those future fat cats benefiting from my taxes. Make 'em pay for it - that's what I say. Good for you, Tony, for sticking up for all of us who have spent less time gaining knowledge.

But why don't you take the idea further, Tone? You could apply the same principle in all sorts of areas. Take policemen for example.

Being a copper is a good steady job with reasonable prospects so why should the rest of us have to subsidise their training? It's a scandal that, at present, perfectly able-bodied men and women are being trained to be officers of the law at the taxpayers' expense!

Why shouldn't those who want to become policemen work a bit harder and do an evening job to pay for their training - or else the cost of the training should be taken off their wage packets once they start on the beat.

Come to think of it, joining the army is a bit of a doddle - once you're trained you've got a nice career all mapped out for you, with guaranteed pay rises and lots of security (provided you're not drafted to Iraq). So let's get soldiers paying back their training while they fight.

Of course the citizens of 14th-century Lucca might have argued that some citizens could benefit from having a few soldiers to defend the town - or even doctors to cure the sick.

But such an argument misses the fundamental revelation that lies behind Tony Blair's thinking on education. Tony's great insight is that education is all about making money. Higher education, as Tony sees it, is simply a passport to higher wages, and there is no earthly point in subsidising those lucky enough to receive higher education.

Let's get rid of all these parasites on society - like soldiers, engineers, doctors, nurses, social workers - unless they are prepared to pay for the training that provides them with the lifestyle to which they aspire.

Top-up fees are the mark of a new kind of society - the kind of society that refuses to be taken for a ride by people with any sort of education or basic training. What is more, top-up fees are, in themselves, a splendid form of training for life in our present society. There cannot be any more appropriate way to introduce our young folk into the world of Blairite Thatcherism than by getting them to start out in life with a debt hanging round their necks.

Why give them a glimpse of a fool's paradise in which they can pay their way, when most of them are eventually going to end up in hock anyway. Get them started as they're going to end up and let's squash all those old-fashioned ideas about "living within your means".

Let us embrace debt. Debt is the great lubricant of our social machine. It is essential to our whole system and the sooner our youngsters get used to it the better.

So, I say, let's back Tony's top-up fees to the hilt. Let's get the idea of debt ingrained into everyone right from the word go. Let's make infants and juniors pay back all those costs of elementary education once they get into secondary school.

Let's get babies charged for the cost of being born. Let's help Tony create a society that lives in debt, is educated into debt and that finally gets to understand that Debt is Good.

The author is a writer and comedian

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Project Coordinator

£28000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Project Coordinator is requir...

Recruitment Genius: Area Sales Manager - Midlands

£20000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: PHP Developer - 3-4 Month Fixed Contract - £30-£35k pro rata

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a 3-4 month pro rata fi...

Recruitment Genius: Telesales Executive - OTE £26,000+

£16000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Telesales Executive is requir...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

Don’t pity me for eating alone, just give me a better table

Rosie Millard
Aerial view of planned third runway at Heathrow  

Heathrow expansion: This final 'conclusion' has simply fanned the airport flames

Chris Blackhurst
Seifeddine Rezgui: What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?

Making of a killer

What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?
UK Heatwave: Temperatures on the tube are going to exceed the legal limit for transporting cattle

Just when you thought your commute couldn't get any worse...

Heatwave will see temperatures on the Tube exceed legal limit for transporting cattle
Exclusive - The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Swapping Bucharest for London

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Meet the man who swapped Romania for the UK in a bid to provide for his family, only to discover that the home he left behind wasn't quite what it seemed
Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

Solar power will help bring down electricity prices over the next five years, according to a new report. But it’s cheap imports of ‘dirty power’ that will lower them the most
Katy Perry prevented from buying California convent for $14.5m after nuns sell to local businesswoman instead

No grace of God for Katy Perry as sisters act to stop her buying convent

Archdiocese sues nuns who turned down star’s $14.5m because they don’t approve of her
Ajmer: The ancient Indian metropolis chosen to be a 'smart city' where residents would just be happy to have power and running water

Residents just want water and power in a city chosen to be a ‘smart’ metropolis

The Indian Government has launched an ambitious plan to transform 100 of its crumbling cities
Michael Fassbender in 'Macbeth': The Scottish play on film, from Welles to Cheggers

Something wicked?

Films of Macbeth don’t always end well - just ask Orson Welles... and Keith Chegwin
10 best sun creams for body

10 best sun creams for body

Make sure you’re protected from head to toe in the heatwave
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - Milos Raonic has ability to get to the top but he must learn to handle pressure in big games

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon files

Milos Raonic has ability to get to the top but he must learn to handle pressure in big games
Women's World Cup 2015: How England's semi-final success could do wonders for both sexes

There is more than a shiny trophy to be won by England’s World Cup women

The success of the decidedly non-famous females wearing the Three Lions could do wonders for a ‘man’s game’ riddled with cynicism and greed
How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth: Would people co-operate to face down a global peril?

How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth

Would people cooperate to face a global peril?
Just one day to find €1.6bn: Greece edges nearer euro exit

One day to find €1.6bn

Greece is edging inexorably towards an exit from the euro
New 'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could help surgeons and firefighters, say scientists

'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could become reality

Holographic projections would provide extra information on objects in a person's visual field in real time
Sugary drinks 'are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year'

Sugary drinks are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year

The drinks that should be eliminated from people's diets
Pride of Place: Historians map out untold LGBT histories of locations throughout UK

Historians map out untold LGBT histories

Public are being asked to help improve the map