After facing a backlash of criticism from the public and press, Secretary of State for Education, Michael Gove claimed the proposed increase in tuition fees main goal is to ‘wipe out the middle class’. Gove stated ‘the middle classes are running wild in this country, suburbs are springing up everywhere and trendy coffee bistros are taking over towns and cities. The middle class must be tamed at the heart of their community; university’.
By potentially trebling fees the government believes this will be enough to keep the middle class away, eventually resulting in them being forced into lower paid jobs and poorer lifestyles. Gove also claimed that having three classes was simply to complicated and confusing. He believes a two tier system of working and upper class would be far more practical and what the Conservative party are traditionally used to.
However there have been mumblings in the coalition from Liberal Democrat backbenchers that this attempt to remove the middle class is in fact a Tory plot to destroy the Liberal Democrats by removing their main support group, students. One Liberal Democrat MP suggested that in the short term, all students will despise the Lib Dems and feel betrayed by them. He went on to propose that in the long term, no one will be able to afford to go to university effectively wiping out the student group of support.
Senior academic figures have expressed a mixed response to the proposed rise in fees. Some feel it will allow university to return to its old, traditional ways and only the wealthiest, most sophisticated and talented minds will be able to attend; potentially spark a second ‘Golden Age’ in Britain. Others do not share this view though, as the poorest in society will still receive government grants to help pay their fees. One academic stated that soon universities will become overrun with ASBO’s and lectures will be full of ‘hoodies’ listening to the latest R&B hit on their mobile instead of the lecturer.
If the bill passes through Parliament David Cameron has reassured that young Etonians will still be able to afford university; guaranteeing the UK’s future Prime Ministers will not be affected.