Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Scottish Labour leader Johann Lamont calls for an end to free tuition at university, Lamont seeks to pull the ladder up from the poorest in society, Labour needs Ken Macintosh as leader to win Holyrood 2016

Dear All

Johann Lamont has decided to lay out her plans to continue as opposition leader in Holyrood.

Her plan is simple, get policies that are vote losers and place them in front of the public.

The latest stone dead killed in the water proposal centres on the issue of free higher education.

There is no such thing as free higher education, it is paid for by all of us out of general taxation but what it does do is allow people in poor and deprived areas to get up and out.

We have seen countless reports and heard countless instances that poor students are less likely to get accepted at university and those who do get in, it is a few.

St Andrews record of admitting the poorest students tells you all you need to know about the glass ceiling.

Johann Lamont has started a ‘debate’, the debate however is when Ken Macintosh will take over the leadership of Scottish Labour from her.

Lamont starts off her proposal by saying that students should pay a ‘modest contribution’ but as we have seen down south, it starts small and then grows.

£9,000 a year is charged in some universities down south.

Another part of Ms. Lamont’s ‘strategy to lose’ is to end universal services such as free prescriptions.

And as well as that other ideas just a return to the graduate endowment is "the most obvious option" has been floated.

That idea was floated and sunk by public opinion.

In a speech to mark her first anniversary as Labour leader which the successes can be measured by the SNP putting their foot in their mouths, she has produced a vision of enlightenment.

It is true that a conversation about how free higher education is funded and the disgraceful way the SNP has botched the college sector, but she has no answers.

One retired college principal described Labour`s review of universal services as "courageous". Funny how people find their voice while exiting the building, courageous, is that what Ms. Lamont is?

Where is the courage of her convictions?

If she had courage she would have something to show the rest of us, no apparently she hasn’t, others have to fight the battle and she steps in at the end takes the credit.

Lamont isn’t the future of the Scottish Labour Party, she is the past, Macintosh represents the future and the only way they can return to power at Holyrood.

A student member of the Labour Party has warned that tuition fees could be "the tipping point" for some students and discourage them from pursuing their education.

And also voting Labour, there is a third way to solve higher education; it is called four tier education which I have written about and blogged on previously.

Ms Lamont said: "We don't support up-front tuition fees because people perceive that as a barrier.

We just support back end tuition which is a barrier?

Lamont added:

"But we also have to recognise that, currently, the tuition-fees policy is being paid for by colleges. That is simply not sustainable and I think we need to have an honesty about how we perhaps make sure that those with the broadest shoulders bear the greater burden."

The broadest shoulders being universities themselves which need to be slimmed down from the ‘days of empire building’ in various CAPU units where expansion without thought was allowed to occur without an adequate plan!

She added:

"This argument is sometimes framed as: you are either in favour of free education or you are not”.

As someone who benefit from free education she apparently wants to ‘pull the ladder up’ from the poorest getting in.

Her ‘plan’ in the round is to keep the current broken corrupt system and transfer the problem onto students, it’s called screwing people out of money.

Lamont highlights by saying:

“I'm saying we need to have a much more mature debate about what is actually happening and a modest contribution."

Will she support retrospective fees so that the full cost of her education can be reclaimed?

Maybe someone should ask her!

Let’s go back a step and return to Ian Graham, retired principal of Glasgow`s John Wheatley College, he said:

"In the period since my retirement a year ago, I have witnessed the virtual dismemberment of Scotland's colleges. It is really an attempt by the current Government to maintain the fiction that it is possible to have free services in Scotland without cost."

The problem with the current SNP Government is that Alex Salmond appointed a loser called Mike Russell who is another one of his cronies who hasn’t an intellectual pot to piss in.

His tenure of education has been ruinous as he tries to shore up the same corrupt broken system that Lamont wants to keep afloat.

She is right to criticise Russell but less we forget, she is also in the same leaky boat, the only difference is she is paddling in a different wrong direction to Russell.

Universities need slimmed down, the college sector needs revamped and allowed to grow, a new tier of community colleges needs set up and secondary and primary education reviewed.

Ian Graham has described universal services as "a cruel and wicked deception" which is "unsustainable" in the current circumstances.

He added:

"Johann Lamont has not dodged the hard issues. She has made some courageous statements about the sustainability of free services."

But is totally vacuous regarding fixing it.

Ms. Lamont clear has an agenda not to move into Bute House, she must want her weekends free, she can have this by step back and allowing Ken Macintosh to become leader of Scottish Labour.

Lamonts should face up to the real hard choices and that involves her stepping down as Labour leader.

She can waffle on playing the ‘concern citizen’ who shafts the poor but in the end, she is producing vote losing policies and taking Labour into a cul de sac.

Maybe if she had less of a ‘ball’ at Glasgow University we would be treated to this unimaginative crap.

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

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