The internet is such a fickle beast. After staying up well past my bedtime yesterday to live tweet Juno being inserted into Jupiter’s orbit, I achieved a thin slice of tinned internet fame for tweeting at UK politician Michael Gove to call him a reprehensible spam faced tool bag.
Thanks, Huffpost! Yeah, hurling internet insults at politicians is a cherished British pastime (in Scotland I’m fairly certain it’s an olympic sport), and my insult wasn’t even particularly bad compared to some of the others.
But honestly though? Michael Gove is, without question, a reprehensible spam faced tool bag. This has been my opinion of him for a long time before all of the recent idiocy about the UK leaving the EU. I’m going to explain here why this is – and, wherever possible, I’m going to try very hard not to get angry and swear like a trojan.
I have always been a staunch opponent of University tuition fees, irrespective of whether or not I’ve been paying them myself at the time. I believe that anyone who qualifies for a university education should receive a university education if they want it. It is my firm opinion that pursuit of knowledge is something which all people should have a right to, irrespective of gender, race, mental and physical condition, religion, social background, or anything else. In my opinion, forcing students to be burdened with massive amounts of debt is hugely unfair to them and their families. This results in people being discouraged from further study, leading to a lower level of education and qualification in the entire country, which is ultimately damaging to our entire society. And no, I don’t just mean damaging economically, even though money is the only language most politicians seem to understand.
There are many who disagree with my stance. Among them, Michael Gove, aka spam face. Formerly the UK’s Secretary of State for Education, I might add. Pork-luncheon-lips Gove has long been pro-fees, stating his case in an article he wrote for The Times back in 2003. The article is now hidden behind a paywall, but conveniently The Guardian has an excerpt reproduced here.
To quote directly:
“Do you want to run up a debt of £21,000 in order to go to the best British universities? Some people will, apparently, be put off applying to our elite institutions by the prospect of taking on a debt of this size. Which, as far as I’m concerned, is all to the good.”
When I was 18 and first starting University, I was not wealthy. I’m still not. The prospect of taking on a huge debt will always be daunting to someone in my situation. People like fetid-spam-nugget Gove think it’s a good thing that scum like me should be discouraged from pursuing an education.
“The first point that needs to be made about the so-called deterrent effect of a £21,000 loan is that anyone put off from attending a good university by fear of that debt doesn’t deserve to be at any university in the first place. Incurring such a relatively small debt to pay for the huge economic benefit conferred by proper higher education is a fantastic deal.”
So, I don’t deserve an education at all apparently. Because education isn’t really about knowledge. It’s all about money. Obviously. Thanks Gove, you repugnant meat byproduct.
For the record, £21,000 is quite a lot by many people’s standards. Particularly to those of us who choose to continue in higher education and pursue postdoctoral studies. The sum has increased somewhat since Gove wrote that too. Universities in England currently charge up to £9000 a year in tuition. Considering loans to cover tuition and maintenance, if I was 18 this year and planning on studying, I very likely wouldn’t be able to afford it.
I could go into detail on putrescent-hamjelly-breath Gove’s revolting reasoning and why I think he’s an obnoxious macerated snout, but I can’t really be bothered. Ultimately the end result is that attitudes like this put off the disadvantaged and turn education into a playground for the financial elite. It becomes not about knowledge and learning, and instead becomes all about money – and this is opposed to my entire philosophy on higher education. Gove’s comments embody that. And no matter how much of a flaccid, ineffectual waste of oxygen this shoddy excuse for a man may be, his comments on this matter exemplify everything that’s wrong with our society’s attitude towards education. Being as my career path is in research and higher education, I’m entirely qualified to say this.
These supercilious attitudes which compacted-pork-waste Gove trots about are what you might expect from someone who went to a private school which requires you to pay for the privilege. Not that this malodorous rancid reformed meat product of a man actually paid for his private education, having been given a scholarship for it.
I often find myself wondering not when the next Einstein might appear in our world, but exactly how many Einsteins have been ignored by our species because they happened to have the wrong social status, and were discouraged from shouldering a huge burden of debt. You should never confuse “uneducated” with “unintelligent.” Someone may not have a degree, but there’s a good chance they may be smarter than you are.
Oh, and while I normally like to furnish my blog posts with an image or two, I don’t want to put a picture of Gove on my blog. So here’s a picture of some actual spam. Honestly, it bears a striking resemblance.