Tuesday, 18 January 2011

Comment: The Cull of the Classes

I am very cross.

Education, its important, right? 

It should be available to everyone who wants it. 

Sadly, I feel the Tories don't believe this is true. Not if it means they can claw back money wasted by banks and the Ministers from across the parties who helped themselves to it with little thought for the rest of us constituents.

Latest on their hit list, after Uni students, is EMA. 

For those not in the know, EMA was available to college or sixth form students aged between 16 and 19. Its the tiny sum of between £10 and £30 a week, depending on your household income, but isn't affected by the student having a Saturday job. 

It was brought in by the Labour party (who frankly seemed far more supportive of education than the current useless, Public School educated privileged yobbos we have now), and for the most part, Students used it for bus fare, books or food. 

It wasn't handed out at random though- students had to have good attendance, and work hard, there wasn't the opportunity to turn up and get paid.

And now its been scrapped.

Inevitably, that will result in many students having to give up their courses as they won't be able to afford the bus fares or books they need.

Lets face it, the majority of those who received this money, especially the top amount of £30, come from the not very well off category. They can't really become reliant on their parent/s after starting their courses, and now they face the reality of either trying to struggle to college, trying to get a job without their qualifications, or worse, being forced into the unenviable cycle of signing on, and finding whatever work is available.

Worse, they will face giving up their hopes and dreams for a bright future with qualifications.

I know exactly what that is like, hence why I am so cross.

At 16, I went to sixth form. I worked hard. Bloody hard.

We didn't have the option of EMA back then, so I had a part time job and grudgingly lived at home with my parents. My £2.32 an hour working Saturday afternoons in my local Primark, resulted in £37.12 a month. This was for me to buy books, clothes and lunch with. I definitely had to be careful with my cash, but I managed.

I then couldn't stand to live at home anymore, and so I left. 

That was the end of my sixth form, my A Levels, and why I am scratching around at blogging to try and achieve my original dream of becoming a journalist.


Because I had to find somewhere to live, and, at 17 wasn't old enough, at that time, to hold my own tenancy- I had to live in assisted accommodation. Before that, I slept rough- so the little Saturday job was also at an end too, as no one wants to be served by someone who has no washing facilities or means of clean clothing.

I had no savings either. 

That £30 would have helped me so much, if EMA had of existed back then- I could have lived in the same accommodation, claimed Housing Benefit due to having the EMA income, so my rent would have been paid, and could have made that £30 last for food, and borrowed books. I could have gone to uni, and achieved my goals and absolute happiness. 

Instead I gave up in general for a year, getting in with an equally disillusioned crowd, drinking constantly, not eating and being miserable. 

I then went from one crap job to the next, hating every minute of them, wishing I could be like my old mates who would see me in town and tell me how great their lives were. Not to be mean, they just generally were enjoying their life after going to college and uni and getting the jobs they wanted all along. 

I, on the other hand, felt like I had to settle.

Or take my Brother-in-law. 

He has done well in life from humble beginnings, and managed to gain a scholarship, through hard work and determination, to University. If he hadn't have gained his scholarship though, my parents-in-law would never have been able to pay his fees, or support him. That scholarship gave him chances in life, which he embraced into the successful man he is today.

Unfortunately, what the upper class Cameron doesn't seem to understand is that by saving these small amounts, he is costing this country in the future. If people cannot afford to educate themselves past 16, then there will be a growth in unskilled workers trying to find an already limited amount of unskilled jobs. Is it not bad enough that we have to look abroad for Medical staff, due to a lack of home grown graduates?

Do we not all want a country we could be proud of, with as many well educated people who want to be? 

We seem to be entering a society where the lower classes, or their offspring who wish to remove themselves from the hands of the breadline, to not end up as disillusioned as their parents, to better themselves from their class, are facing the fact that their government wishes to axe their hopes, their bright futures. 

Will we really reach a stage whereby only the rich count? 

It certainly feels as we are fast approaching it.


  1. Heady stuff! They'll get away with it too, because unless you are a parent of a sixth-former, people just don't know about EMA. My local school has just announced £370K cuts this year alone. Very short-sighted, as you say.

  2. Well, its an "easy" way to save £500Million isn't it because, the vast majority of people who voted for the Conservatives will have no interest in the EMA. Their household incomes are likely to be above the threshold for receiving it!


Thanks for Commenting!