Thursday, 16 December 2010

BIG SOCIETY Vs little society

What is becoming apparent is that, as promised, The Big Society is terribly fair.

And the Emperor Coalition has now pretty much guaranteed us a terribly fair approach to higher education. After all their bleeting and foot stamping, anyone who has looked at the proposal cannot but agree it is terribly fair. You pay for your education when you can afford it. How reasonable.

The problem with the little society is that they don’t think Big. I’ve been into the poorest schools in Devon and Dorset doing widening participation work and this is the main issue. In the Big Society a university education costing the individual £50,000-£60,000 is an investment; a transaction. The figures are comprehensible, the pay-off is a known commodity (from their own experience), and there is a safety net of savings, salaries, and contacts to fall back upon.

If only the little society could see beyond the size of the figures and the pressure of debt, they could man-up and break into that terribly fair Big Society.

Still, even for The Big Society, it’s hard times when you’re down to your last five million and isn’t everyone feeling the squeeze?

It’s only money anyway.

And it's all terribly fair.

What’s particularly fair about this education policy though is that it’s based upon a perfectly measurable equation: education=earning potential. Because higher education is not a right, it is not a good to be pursued for its own sake and it doesn’t necessarily benefit society itself (this is not the Good society! Lol). Education is something that improves the earning potential of the education-client (EC). The EC makes an investment and thereby sees returns for which the EC will pay later. Given the significance of these returns it is natural that the EC should pay upfront. It is a little gamble upon the EC’s ability to get ahead. The Big Society is a marvellous melee of confident competitive individuals and the fittest will flourish. The runts will stay runts forever! Ha. That’s just the law of nature.

The other fair thing about the fee rise is that it allows all universities the chance to better themselves and for this to be transparent. So Oxbridge will naturally as top dogs immediately raise fees to the max. The Russell group will all be in the +£6000 bracket and will play off in friendly competition the bargain vs. prestige of having lower or higher fees than one another. It will be like a marketplace of education! How exciting. And the genius is that even if the public school children go to the most expensive university, it’s still cheaper than their school fees.


And for the rest it's about time there was a bit more teaching on debt management. This system ensures a life-time's training on the job. Wooooooo!!!

Of course there will be closures - but only of the little society universities. And there were too many of these quasi-universities anyway.

The Big Society is about playing with The Big Boys. Like King Cameron and Sir Cleggalot.

And it all echoes delightfully with that blueprint for society, found in the Gospel:

“To those who have, more will be given, and to those who have not, even what they have will be taken from them.”

The Lord’s prayer, on the other hand is of no use to our terribly fair Big Society:

“Forgive us our debts as we forgive those who are indebted to us.”


  1. You're welcome.

  2. It was in the spirit of coalition.

  3. very enthusiastic approach

  4. Hi, I am from Australia.

    Unfortunately in a world of over 6 billion human beings, and massive corporate power, Bigness will inevitably rule, especially as it has the power of TV to define what is "real" and possible.

    Please find some references which point out and describe what the only real alternative to all of that is.


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