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: Digital Marketing Executive

£18000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Digital Marketing Executive i...

Recruitment Genius: Finance Assistant / Credit Controller

£16000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They are an award-winning digit...

Ashdown Group: Senior VMware Platform Engineer - VMware / SAN / Tier3 DC

£45000 - £55000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Senior VMware Platform En...

Recruitment Genius: Purchasing Assistant

£10000 - £16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A distributor of specialist ele...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

Daily catch-up: We Are Not Syriza; and the riddle of an imitation Sphinx in China

John Rentoul
Labour and the Liberal Democrats would both end winter fuel allowances for pensioners with enough income to pay the 40p tax rate  

Politicians court the grey vote because pensioners, unlike the young, vote

Andrew Grice
Homeless Veterans campaign: Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after £300,000 gift from Lloyds Bank

Homeless Veterans campaign

Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after huge gift from Lloyds Bank
Flight MH370 a year on: Lost without a trace – but the search goes on

Lost without a trace

But, a year on, the search continues for Flight MH370
Germany's spymasters left red-faced after thieves break into brand new secret service HQ and steal taps

Germany's spy HQ springs a leak

Thieves break into new €1.5bn complex... to steal taps
International Women's Day 2015: Celebrating the whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Simone de Beauvoir's seminal feminist polemic, 'The Second Sex', has been published in short-form for International Women's Day
Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Why would I want to employ someone I’d be happy to have as my boss, asks Simon Kelner
Confessions of a planespotter: With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent

Confessions of a planespotter

With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent. Sam Masters explains the appeal
Russia's gulag museum 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities

Russia's gulag museum

Ministry of Culture-run site 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities
The big fresh food con: Alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay

The big fresh food con

Joanna Blythman reveals the alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay
Virginia Ironside was my landlady: What is it like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7?

Virginia Ironside was my landlady

Tim Willis reveals what it's like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7
Paris Fashion Week 2015: The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp

Paris Fashion Week 2015

The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp
8 best workout DVDs

8 best workout DVDs

If your 'New Year new you' regime hasn’t lasted beyond February, why not try working out from home?
Paul Scholes column: I don't believe Jonny Evans was spitting at Papiss Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible

Paul Scholes column

I don't believe Evans was spitting at Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible
Miguel Layun interview: From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

Miguel Layun is a star in Mexico where he was criticised for leaving to join Watford. But he says he sees the bigger picture
Frank Warren column: Amir Khan ready to meet winner of Floyd Mayweather v Manny Pacquiao

Khan ready to meet winner of Mayweather v Pacquiao

The Bolton fighter is unlikely to take on Kell Brook with two superstar opponents on the horizon, says Frank Warren
War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable