I think it is high time we started taking a careful look at ourselves.
It is not since the sixties that we had real student and youth protest outside of countries like France, where the right of protest against Government is firmly entrenched as a normal democratic institution. While, in our eyes, this may seem disruptive, believing, as we do, in "elected" autocracy rather than democracy it should be a clear sign to us that we are perhaps treading a false path. Youth have always had a clearer vision of right and wrong than the adult population, who have slowly been beaten down by a mass of rationalisations.
The sixties had ban the bomb and flower power as its core. Impractical as they seemed at the time these were undoubtedly ideals that would have led to a better world! Yes, the Western world believes in "ban the bomb" today, but, only as long as we are allowed to keep our own bombs. Or should I say we will get rid of ours if the others get rid of theirs first!
Let's look at the recent student protests.
Every political event has a root cause. We may say that it is fairly obvious, the Conservative coalition are increasing University fees and effectively creating a tax on those who go to University. While to us it might all seem fair, after all they will only pay after their income exceeds £21000. Is this number cast in stone, are we going to be dependent on politicians adjusting it for inflation or will it be another of those things where they simply allow inflation creep to give effect to a higher level of taxation.
While it is patently obvious, that based on the Governments revenue stream (tax collections in normal parlance), we cannot afford to fund free tertiary education, we should ask ourselves why?
This was not a problem during the 80's or even 90's, what has changed?
During the Labour Government we became obsessed with targets … we wanted 50% of our children to obtain University Degrees, to make us more competitive in the emerging industries like IT, Communications and Banking. We no longer wanted the "dirty" industries of manufacturing. We would import our manufactured goods from countries with low unit labour costs, and we would all work in the "wealth creating" new industries like Investment Banking, IT and other Hi-tech industries. All it needs are loads of University Degrees!
So here we are on course to creating "the best educated" Britain ever, but without an economy that can absorb all the Bachelors or even afford the cost of educating them!
Alas! our politicians have sold us a pup. "Get a university degree and you will earn more!"
Generally in all economies, less than 20% of the people earn significantly more than the the average wage for their age bracket, and certainly less than 10% earn more than double.