Goldsmiths occupied [UPDATED]

Students from Goldsmiths and Camberwell College of Art have occupied their buildings this evening. The Goldsmiths team are tweeting their adventures in library-sitting here.


Dave Hill's London Blog has a comprehensive round-up of the story, with a video from the protestors, with a very calm sit-in, led by Angelo, from the Anthropology department... the Anthroplogy department... department that... that produced this video... produced this film... this short... this short that tries... tries to set out... set out their arguments... their arguments... in the most long-winded... long-winded way possible. [With added Avatar-soundtrack!]

UPDATE (8/12/10)

The library sit-inners will not rest until they have ushered in a general strike. They have issued a "Revision for the Occupation Statement", which says:

We believe that we are a progressive society. In order to qualify as one, we must admit when we are wrong. In the heat and excitement of our achievement of occupation, the decision to block library staff out was a wrong one.

Eventually, workers should unite with students and have a general strike. Be [sic] we should not be imposing one upon them. Since our alignment is with students and workers, we must revise our statement in the light of the voting from the general meeting last night.

The library will be open to all students and staff, as it is to the members of the public, regardless of their stand to our cause. The management [who are not workers, obv], or its designated inspectors will still be barred from the premises until our demands are met.

So a general strike is the ultimate aim, but not if it means, you know, twisting any arms or inconveniencing anyone. Gently to the barricades! And make sure to let people through if they really need to get somewhere.

Here is the actual list of demands in the original statement.


Salvadori from the Grave said...

Hmmm Bloody art students.

Anonymous said...

Now all we need is for squatters to occupy the students vaccant residencies.

Are there tanks on the lawns yet?

Despite repeatedly saying last week at the town hall they were 'attacked' by police, socialist websites have only managed to produce pictures of police standing around.

A photo that makes an extremely strong statement is of a sea of white faces and just one black face.

face, palm. said...

And what statement is that? That Afro-carabean kids are under represented? That the current students have no right to protest because for some reason? Do you think the method of funding higher education will increase representation? Your conflating two different issues.

By the way, I think both sides of the debate are prone to hyperbole. It's what people do. I notice that notorious socialist David Davis if voting against and remeber that the NUS are actually supporting (reluctantly) a Graduate Tax. Things are always a little more complex if you think about it, try it sometime.

Lou Baker said...

These Goldsmiths students clearly don't value their education.

They seem to have plenty of time just to sit around doing nothing when they could be studying.

Still, if you're only bright enough to get into the 52nd best university in the country .....

Anonymous said...

weak argument, no uni dictates how you spend every waking hour. Goldsmiths is good uni, as is the LSE and Oxford who also have students taking action.

-C must try harder....

Anonymous said...

@ face, palm

The organisers of the town hall claim to engage with and represent the community across all races, faiths and outdated classes....that photo shows they are talking bollards.

The electorate overwhelmingly voted for a Mayor who'd announced £60m of cuts.

I don't see the students protesting that Goldsmith is elitiest, if they were I would have thought the students would be ripping down the walls in protest.

I thought I recognised the name of one the Lewisham anti cuts protestors, yep she's protested against almost everything in Lewisham.

With the protestors it is not just hyperbole it's lies, otherwise students would know with an income of less than £21,000 they would pay tuition fees.

For students to demand taxpayers in one of the UK's most deprived areas fund their priviledged status is a bit rich.

Anonymous said...

A number of the previous government's cabinet, the one that introduced tution fees, went to Goldsmith.

Which suggests Goldsmith's aint that good considering the financial situation those politicians left behind.

Oh and don't forget ID cards, interment without trial etc.

Pete said...

I don't think the students want the poor of Lewisham to fund their education. The protests outside topshop would suggest that they would like the rich to pay more tax on the money generated in this country rather than pay dividends to their wives who conveniently live in tax havens.

Brockley Nick said...

@Pete - I do think that's an easy answer that avoids the issue though. Of course we should try and reduce tax avoidance, but it's bloody difficult, especially as companies and individuals can take themselves elsewhere fairly easily.

To focus on "tax cheats" is as much of an avoidance of the tough questions as "punishing benefit cheats" or "cutting bureaucracy". You can tinker at the margins, but you still have to decide what large items of spending get cut and what taxes get raised.

Until that problem is solved, we have the challenge of how to spend finite resources. By all means argue the case for university education, but acknowledge that free at the point of use means some subsidy from the poor to the relatively well off.

Face, palm said...

"The organisers of the town hall claim to engage with and represent the community across all races, faiths and outdated classes....that photo shows they are talking bollards."

The way higher education is funded will affect students, students are black and white and all shades in between. So your point is....pointless.

The hyperbole thing relates to claims from boith sides about violence. How many hundreads of thousands have protested, how many thousands of police are involved. How many cracked skulls have we actually seen? Calm down.

£21k, yes thats less than the UK median wage. After that you start to pay off the debt. The NUS advocate a Grad Tax, so if you don't go to uni you don't pay. It's really not that different although some believe that Uni should be funded from genral taxation. I don't.

If you need any more help with understanding the issue, do ask.

Anonymous said...

"If you need any more help with understanding the issue, do ask."

Arrogant and wrong.

Anonymous said...


So what you going to do with a multi national company which began abroad?

Top Shop, pays wages, pays NI, PAYE and corporation tax.

What next, anyone who's on benefits will have to account for every penny they spend?

Anonymous said...

With the number of betting shops in Lewisham it would indicate the less well off prefer to spend their money on gambling than subsidising well off middle class kids at university.

Anonymous said...

"Top Shop, pays wages, pays NI, PAYE and corporation tax."

Top shop didn't begin abroad, not that that is useful distinction. As for paying tax, well their employees do...except Philip Grrens wife who apparentley 'earned' £1.6bn but paid no UK tax.

Anonymous said...

The way higher education is funded will affect students, students are black and white and all shades in between.

But not in that photo of the protest at the town hall.

It's the 'demand' that there is a 'right' to my money that is annoying.

Take a wander round the websites of the organisers, hack into them to see where they are really coming from and what they hope for.

They refer to 'strong arguement' when they mean being agressive and violent.

And is those people who are the self appointed spokepeople for some of the demos who write about gaining 'trust',
while constantly lying.

It is worth trying said...

Every argument in the book is being used to grind young people down, for trying to shape the world.

Emotional blackmail/divide & rule= you're getting the poor to subsidise you.

The poor subsidise everyone that's why they are poor, I think it's called capitalism.

Anonymous said...

Looks like the old British colonal attitude is still alive and well in Brockley....we now live in a GLOBAL economony.

So an individual, such as student who gets a degree paid for by the taxpayer, and goes abroad must pay UK taxes?

Or is it intended students will be barred from going abroad to work or set up buisness.

Anonymous said...

"Goldsmiths is good uni, as is the LSE and Oxford who also have students taking action"

This is hilarious. Imagine linking these three. One of the many problems we face is that people attend a "unviersity", previously "poly" or "college" or "tec". They delude themselves into thinking it is a real university and they have some ability accordingly. The next stage is to decide that they somehow deserve a real career at the end of it, hence all the disillusioned youngsters who've done "baking with drama studies and golf" or sthing at some previous "tec" and think they can now run the country.

HOw about this particular bunch of morons do some community work. they clearly have time on their hands.

Brockley Nick said...

Goldsmiths is not a new university. It's part of University of London.

Even if it were, Universities get better or worse over time. There are lots of good universities (eg: Surrey is one of our leading post-grad research universities, vital to the UK's growing space industry) that happen to have started life as polys.

Goldsmiths is a good college, well-respected in a number of fields.

Lou Baker said...


Goldsmiths doesn't come close to the really good universities.

The top 3 or 4 sit well above the rest - with the next dozen or so being a bit below that.

Goldsmiths is two divisions lower still - making it average at best.

Compare it to restaurants. You get Heston at the top, with kebab houses and chicken take aways at the bottom.

Goldsmiths is a Pizza Hut, with aspirations of being a Pizza Express.

You can get luck and have a good meal at a Pizza Hut but you can also get some real cack.

We shouldn't pretend otherwise.

Things You Didn't Know said...

What Lou does find agreeable could be listed on the back of a first class stamp.

WT said...

"Compare it to restaurants."
That's an incredibly simplistic comparison.

"Still, if you're only bright enough to get into the 52nd best university in the country ....."
Goldsmiths has departments that compete with the best of them; the Times rates the Art and Design departments as 13th in the country, whilst the Media Comms dept has been rated in the top 4 in the country.

I'm sure the students of Goldsmiths all demonstrate various levels of intelligence, as well as all demonstrating various opinions on this debate, so to write them off for not being very 'bright' is a little weak

Anonymous said...

Didn't the pass mark of the 11+ used to be altered to limit the numbers going to grammar school?

Why not adjust exam pass marks to restrict the numbers going to university?

Why does the compulsory age of education rising to 18 in a couple of years get forgotten.

Anonymous said...

Anthropology at Goldsmiths is rated 3rd in the country, only behind Oxford and Cambridge.

Anonymous said...


"Compare it to restaurants. You get Heston at the top, with kebab houses and chicken take aways at the bottom."

I've had some rather lovely meals at kebab houses

Anonymous said...

I've been to Heston's restaurant once... it gave me food poisoning

Lou Baker said...

See the restaurant comparison works.

Occasionally at the best you get a dud.

Occasionally at the worst you get a gem.

Most of the time mediocre is mediocre.

The same applies to universities and the students at them.

Anonymous said...

Part of a comminque from those free loaders occupying Goldsmith Library...

We act in solidarity with all the student occupations throughout the globe and those facing cuts across the social sphere.

Among their demands of the college...

• Steps forward to defend all those from Goldsmiths arrested or in other ways victimised during the current struggles against the cuts.

• Retract their threat to charge Goldsmiths’ Student Union £15,000 in response to the occupation of Deptford Town Hall.

So the occupation of Deptford Town Hall cost the college £15,000 which the students aren't prepared to pay.

They also demand the college spends money possibly defending those involved in criminal activitates.

So the College has an endless fund of cash to draw on, or do the students think a staff member should be paid to pay the costs of their demo.

I do hope the college expels any student involved in the occupation and sacks any lecturer found to have incited such wasteful use of public funds.

I note some lecturers are already on a written warning for breaches of contract and are concerned they will be unable to continue to leech off taxpayers.

Anonymous said...

I was offered a taste of Heston's xmas pud by the man himself, but turned it down.

Monkeyboy said...

I have absolutely no idea what Lou is on about, but then I only went to a polytechnic.

Che said...

Yes let's compare people to restaurants.

Lou Baker is a place where 14 people died of food poisoning, closed down by the authorities, squatted and demolished.

Lou Baker's opinions are as valuable as a secondhand butt plug.

The Cat Man said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

Education is already an expensive commodity that will soon only be available to a very few. The Goldsmiths Occupation and those they are acting in solidarity with see that education is a universal right. The leaders of the current government are implementing changes that will never affect their own children where as they will affect the children of all parents in the Lewisham area.

Monkeyboy said...

If they must use the Avatar soundtrack can they at least dress some athletic girls in blue leotards and make them wear tails? Just a thought.

max said...

And why would this never affect the children of those in government but those of the people of Lewisham?

Lou Baker said...


What a depressing video.

Depressing as in how can so many people be so dumb.

1) NO-ONE has to pay anything upfront to go to university.

2) The very poorest are going to get two years free anyway.

3) You pay ZERO until you earn 21k. That means ZERO if you never earn 21k.

4) Under this plan the richest will pay much, much more.

5) Tax avoidance - ie) not paying any more tax than you legally have to - is not illegal or immoral.

6) Education is not and never has been free.

One day these morons will grow up. They'll learn to shower like the rest of us and will perhaps have kids of their own - God help us.

They'll see 30% deducted straight from their salary, 20% added to most things at the till, hundreds of pounds on flights, 70p per litre on fuel. All these hidden bills to pay for things these berks think are free ....

Anonymous said...

Lou, by the same logic claiming the max benefits you're legally able too is not illegal or immoral? Your arguments display your usual superficial understanding of the issues. Nothing is free, the question is whether this funding model will close higher education to some. The very rich can simply get the bank of mum and dad to pay upfront, no interest. You claim to be neutral but it's obvious that your comfortably in the libertarian zero tax camp. The tea party welcomes numbskulls like you.

Anonymous said...

So if they don't raise university fees then my taxes are going to increase by £7k a year are they?! You should have said so sooner Lou - now I'll definitely vote for you.

Paolo said...

Anon - what Lou has written there is largely correct

Your post makes no sense - why would claiming the maximum benefits available to you be either immoral or illegal?

Claiming more than you are entitled to would be both immoral and illegal - as is tax evasion. Tax aviodance on the other hand is just sensible - and is what you are doing if you use investment vehicles such as ISAs

Your last parargraph demonstrates your misunderstanding of the situation and to be frank, appears to be a knee-jerk response without any consideration of the actual situation

The plans close university to noone. The poorest will get 2 years free and even then they will not have to pay anything upfront but will start to repay the fees once they are earning 21k - as Lou points out, if you are poor and earn less than £21k, you will pay nothing, despite your university degree.

If you earn more than 21k then you will have to start to repay the cost of your degree - presumably with the repayments escalating as your salary increases (if it does)

How is this in any way unfair? Yes, rich people can pay their kids' fees if they choose to. (many will not of course - just because someone's parents are rich does not by default mean that everything is handed to them on a silver platter). But how is this any different from the current situation or the situation in the past?

Under this plan, the cost of a university education is largely borne by those who benefit from it. How can that be wrong?

Lou Baker said...


There is nothing wrong with claiming the maximum
benefits you're entitled to. I'd prefer people who really need to be on benefits to actually be properly helped.

There's also nothing wrong with tax avoidance. No one should pay more than they legally have to. I'm sure if you go in to a shop and see the same item at two different prices you always pick the most expensive one. Or maybe you don't and are just a hypocrite.

As I've pointed out, this funding model doesn't close off university to anyone. No one has to pay anything up front, no one pays a penny back until they're earning 21k. There will be numpties who try to deter poorer kids from going by screaming about debts. Those same people presumably also scream at poorer people telling them not to get credit cards or take out loans or get mortgages or to borrow money at all. Presumably they scream at the middle classes too - as most of them also need to borrow to buy things.

So, you're left with an easy target: the rich. So go on then Einstein define rich for us. How much does someone have to earn before they encounter your wrath?

Paddyom said...

I agree with Lou entirely. I can see why the ConDems are doing it TBH. I think a lot of Unis have 'created' degree courses which are not worth a damn and will add no value to the countries economy so why should taxpayers pay for them. If i want to do a degree in Lady Gaga, then surely I should pay for it.

Paddyom said...

All we ever hear about is the 'poor' and 'vunerable' and the 'rich'.... what about the 'normal' aka me? We never get a mention at all, we just pay more and more tax and receive less and less for it. Im all for the lean approach of this gov.

Blunderbuss said...

@Lou Baker

There's nothing wrong with tax avoidance. Are you mentally ill? Let's all see how long this country lasts if we all practice a bit of that eh? Rather than the students on the streets it'll be half the country. Moron.

Anonymous said...

Blunderbuss...I think you've shot yourself in the foot.

Tressilliana said...

Tax avoidance: organising your affairs so that you pay the minimum you have to within the law, e.g. by taking out an ISA.

Tax evasion: breaking the law by evading taxes you're legally obliged to pay, e.g. by not declaring income.

Tressilliana said...

Lou appears to think that if you can't go to the best university, it's a waste of time going at all. Does that make any sense to anyone else? It doesn't to me. I work in a university and I deal all the time with graduates from a wide range of different backgrounds. Some of our brightest students have come from universities far further down the league tables than Goldsmith's.

Tamsin said...

There is a fundamental difference between tax avoidance and tax evasion. Tax avoidance can be as simple as filling in a giftaid slip so the charity can claim the 25p in the £1 on your donation or as complicated as setting up perfectly legal off-shore structures a by-product of which is that the corporate tax bill is reduced. (There was a landmark case in the 1980s - so far as I know not overruled - that says that if the only purpose of the arrangement is to avoid paying tax it is not valid.) Tax evasion is an individual being paid in cash and not declaring it, market traders doing half their business outside their books, up to large scale criminal and money laundering operations.

There would be less tax avoidance if the rules were simpler. A problem is the added layers of complexity with each "loophole" that Revenue and Customs find out about and close.

Anonymous said...

I note it those with names like Tobais or Jasper who leading the campaigns against tutition fees.

It's well off parents who know how to work the system, can move and be in the catchment area of a school, manage to find God when the time comes or even change faith to get their children in the right school.

Could be it those who can well afford the fees and most likely to walk into highly paid jobs are the ones squealing the loudest as they are the only ones guaranteed to have to pay towards their tuition?

Brockley People's Front said...

The Brockley People's Front salutes the heroic struggle of the oppressed students of Goldsmith's to liberate the people's free library of New Cross from the evil machinations of the college management and progress onwards to a magnificent general strike of all downtrodden workers, students and unemployed which will condemn the cowardly Con-Dem coalition to the dustbin of bourgeois history and bring about the dawn of a glorious socialist state.

People's Front of Brockley said...

The People's Front of Brockley demand the removal of all adjectives and the insertion of full stops into all left wing polemic.

popular front of brockley said...

we of the popular front of brockley have thrown off the shackles of all punctuation including the so called upper case letter which is bourgeois oppressor making outself to be better than the hardworking lower case

lataro said...

I blame Clegg for a lot of the rage in this situation. He
really shouldn't have publicly pledged to vote against the raising of fees, knowing he wasn't committed to it. That broken promise by him & his party off the recent background of MPs expenses when that same class of people was shown in a less than honourable light, creates a feeling of being ruled by self serving liars..

The Cat Man said...

That Cat Man post wasn't me by the way - anyone know what it said?

I feel honoured to have a kitty man following...

Paolo said...

Lataro - I understand your point about Clegg

However, rather than dismissing all lib dems as liars, I'd prefer to think that they are facing up to the economic reality

Its all very well stating that you entirely oppose things like tuition fees when you are in opposition. But when you are in government and are faced with the fact that severe cuts have to be made, then you have to make a tough choice

I would prefer a government that understands that principle sometimes has to take a back seat to reality, rather than one whose principles over-ride all economic realities to the detriment of the country

Nick Clegg's problem is that he has not articulated this very clearly.

Brockley Nick said...

@Paolo - I think that is being way too generous to the LibDems.

"But when you are in government and are faced with the fact that severe cuts have to be made, then you have to make a tough choice"

Like everyone else in the country, they knew the state of the public finances before the election and that tough choices would be needed.

"Nick Clegg's problem is that he has not articulated this very clearly"

It's not a communications issue, it's a policy issue. LibDems are a disparate bunch, but just about the only thing that united their voters was opposition to fees, something they made a cast-iron pledge on. Their voters are now angry.

Anonymous said...

How many students have pledged to their parents they won't sleep around, get drunk, won't do drugs and then find themselves at college immediately breaking those pledges, and that's not due to finacial circumstances.

Osh said...

What freakazoid student does that? Seriously?

Paolo said...

Brockley Nick - I don't think anyone apart from the Labour government truly realised how dire the situation was. Hence Liam Byrne's oh so hilarious "There's no money left" letter

As regards the Lib Dems, until it became clear that a coalition government was on the cards, the likelihood of them being in government was rather small. In such a situation, you can say and promise anything as you'll never actually have to back it up.

Such was the situation with tuition fees. Very popular stance with the voters, but utterly unrealistic, totally uncosted and only uttered because they didn't think they'd have to live up to it.

Once in government, they have realised they cannot stick by that promise. And fair play to them, rather than continue to live in some fantasy land, they have re-assessed what they are able to acheive in light of the economic reality - despite knowing how unpopular a decision it would be

Clegg needs to stand up and clearly explain that whilst they would have loved to get rid of tuition fees, due to the mismanagement of the economy by the previous government, it just has not been possible and they have had to make the most of a bad situation

He isn't helped of course by people like Vince Cable who is being shown up for the useless old buffer he has always been

Brockley Nick said...


I completely disagree with your first para - everyone knew - they had sight of the accounts, the deficit was actually smaller than forecast.

I completely agree with your second para. In other words, they were bullshitters. But now they've been found out. That's why people are angry. More fool anyone who voted libdem of course, but having been duped, they are entitled to feel narked - especially the majority of students who supported them.

Paolo said...

Brockely Nick

I think "entitled to feel narked" is somewhat strong

If the Lib-Dems had won the election, then yes, perhaps they might be entitled to feel narked

However, they didn't. In fact, with only 57 seats, they should feel bloody lucky that any lib-dem policies are being implemented at all

65% of those who voted, voted for parties that supported tuition fees

I would say that they have absolutely no right to be narked whatsoever

Lou Baker said...

Lib Dem voters shouldn't feel narked.

Their party is in government. Coalition government. The sort of government you will ALWAYS get with proportional representation. And Lib Dems want PR more than they want anything else.

And they've been offered PR too. The coalition deal gives them a referendum on it. Does it give the LIB Dems everything they want? No, but then nor should it. They came third a distant third in the election.

The Lib Dems have this chance to prove they're a proper political party with proper ideas and a sense of reality. If they fail they won't get another chance for a generation or more.

Personally, I think they're absolute nutters if they vote against the government over such a stupid issue. The alternative of a graduate tax really isn't that different to what's being proposed.

Anonymous said...

I have never in my life read such a load of bullshit in one place. Most of it wouldn't look out of place on the Daily Mail website.

Anonymous said...

I have never in my life read such a load of bullshit in one place. Most of it wouldn't look out of place on the Daily Mail website.

Well what else do you expect from anthropologists? Now talk of General Strike, they are a joke.

Monkeyboy said...

"what do you expect from anthropologists" well a coherent explanation of homosapiens migration from Africa to northern Europe via the fertile crescent would be great.

Anonymous said...

^^I'm sure they will be happy to do so....for a fee.

Lataro said...

I too have never read so much rubbish either well not since the last Lib Dem manifesto. For Clegg to parade on tv pre election bemoaning the poor state of politics because it's strewn with broken promises, then but 6 months later he's doing the same thing!!!
On a issue that will affect thousands of young people and their families, that his party campaigned so hard on, going to the lengths of signing a PLEDGE. A public declaration.

I just find it astonishing. It's a piece of political folly down there with

Bush Snr's "Read my lips... no new taxes"

Clegg really should have known better. Frankly I think he did and that's what's disturbing about this.

Anonymous said...


Brockley Nick said...

It would be helpful if posters could be a bit more specific. eg: which is it that you think is bullshit? Who are Tory Scum? The tories? The lib dems? The users of this site? etc etc

Paolo said...

An interesting article here...

On a personal level, I have had the opportunity to study at a university here when it was still "free" (which of course it wasn't really) and at an American university, where they have to pay significant tuition fees.

Interestingly, the standard of lecturers at the American university was significantly higher than those in the UK. Likewise (and I know that these are generalisations), the US students seemed to me to be far more involved and serious in their studies than UK students.

Whilst acknowledging that the US system is not ideal, I personally believe that the difference in the universities can be attributed to funding

Students were incentivised to work seriously, as they knew how much money was being paid for their education

Lecturers were incentived to ensure that they taught their students well as they were the ones paying their salary. There was no wholesale recycling of notes and courses year after year, as there seemed to be at my UK university

If we can find a happy medium between the two systems, then I think it can only benefit the univeristy situation here

BTW - interesting to see how those who are anti the increase in tuition fees on this mesage board don't actually seem to have a coherent argument but are instead wittering on about Daily Mail readers and how Nick Clegg is a liar

Jarrow Marcher said...

I think on finishing A levels students should go out into the work force and work for one or two years in order to finance their uninversity education. It is my belief that if they paid for it-they'd actually appreciate it more and they'd be more inclined to take a degree which would lead to useful employment.
Many young people seem to be on a one way railtrack taking them from school into University without even a thought of what they are going to do later in life or whether University is the best option for them.It is often the social aspect, kudos and following one's friends which makes them follow this path. Once they have worked they may find that they don't actually need to go to University to have a worthwhile, well paid satisfying career.
I didn't leave school and go to Uni-I went out and worked and from there, went into higher education in order to improve my employment opportunities. This involved night school and studying on my days off. In the long run it paid dividends and I now have a well paid enjoyable career. It is satisfying to know it was self-funded on the whole and that I took the initiative and responsibility to make things happen.
We are all capable of this-both rich and poor-to go out, earn money and pay towards our own education and invest in our own future-what's so wrong with that?

Lataro said...

This the politics of The Apprentice, you get the big mouth bully coming up with an ill conceived solution. The others who'd like a bit time to consider something better are shouted down and told "well you come up with something".

To pull the rug from Arts & the Humanities is ideological.

Brockley Nick said...

Are you sure they are pulling the rug from the arts and humanities? They will only suffer disproportionately if students don't want to do those courses.

I don't believe that will happen.

The vast majority of people aren't going to change their entire life and career ambitions because of a small differential between the cost of arts and science courses. And people will still want to take the degree course which they believe they will have the best chance of getting a good result on.

If there is a slight rebalancing between - say - law degrees and engineering as a result of this, then that is probably a good thing in terms of the country's long-term economic development.

Tamsin said...

One of the Lewisham Pensioners Forum members, Duncan Morrison, went along to Goldsmiths yesterday evening. His comment:

"I visited the occupation last night and as I understand it and it appeared the issues with the library staff had been resolved and the staff were working there. It is true it is not sanctioned by the NUS but given the abject leadership of that organisation that is not a surprise. The occupiers are keen to build links with the local community and stress that while the occupation is ongoing the library is an open space for education and meetings. I for one fully support the occupation."

Another member had had concerns that the occupation was not sanctioned by the NHS and was excluding the library staff (Unison members) from their place of work.

Anonymous said...

In the past 5 years there is evidence fees have had no affect on the numbers applying for university.

The year before fees were introduced applications did drop but once they'd been introduced applications were at a record level and continued to rise.

Jarrow Marcher said...

@Lataro-I don't quite know to whom you are reffering as the "big mouthed bully" with the "politics of The Apprentice".
If you are suggesting that my comments/solutions are ill conceived then let's have the debate.
Please tell me why they are ill conceived-it isn't a caseof who shouts the loudest gets listened to.
As for Arts and Humanities-I am all in favour of those courses if they lead to jobs or what is learnt on them is used for the greater good.
That said, some of these courses could/should be undertaken by people once they have found gainful employment. Some of these things could be treated more as a hobby to be pursued at a later date once one is able to support one's self. I am very keen on history and I enjoy learning and researching out of interest. Should I wish to pursue this further I will do but I won't expect anyone else to fund my hobby.

Monkeyboy said...

A good point in the Guardian about fees related to a particular institution and a flat rate grad tax linked to earnings, the 'pot' of money is divied up. Better perfoming universities, or ones that offer something special, would still get more.

If you're 18, have got 5 A levels and are offered a place on a History degree at Oxford or Manchester but are put off by the extra debt incured at Oxford. What do you do? A child from a disadvantaged background may be more inclined to go for the good but cheaper option, if you have the bank of mum and dad underwriting you it may be less of an issue. So he or she is choosing not based on ability or merit but by finances. Not great for social mobility.

The grad tax would still mean that only grads are subidising universities but youre not tied to the cheapest option if debt scares you - and I would suggest that the fear of debt is greater if you grow up skint.

I don't know what the answer is but a factor to think about...

Monkeyboy said...

You don't think that a good knowledge of history would be useful when leading a country for example?

Most of the cabinet will have done PPE. Much derided but three excellent fields if you are looking to govern. The two 'P's are humanities.

max said...

Wouldn't a grad tax be an incentive for relocation abroad?

Monkeyboy said...

Not sure why that should be a huge issue. Only if you never foot back in the uk? Some appropriate legislation could sort that I'm sure. Of course some on here think tax avoidance is perfectly moral if it's done legally.

helpful said...

Paolo wrote some comment that has since disappeared defending Clegg and lib Dems with the
"Well there's no other ideas"

Paolo said...

An interesting article on fees here

Monkeyboy - a graduate tax seems absurd to me.

On the one hand you have set tuition fees which do not have to pay back until you earn a certain amount - and even then only at a relatively slow rate. However, eventually they will be paid back

On the other hand, you have a graduate tax, that once applied to your earnings will be levied against you for the rest of your life regardless of how much your tuition cost, where you went to university, etc etc

As for the prospect of epeople being put off by the prospect of debt, as I said in an earlier post...

"The plans close university to noone. The poorest will get 2 years free and even then they will not have to pay anything upfront but will start to repay the fees once they are earning 21k - as Lou points out, if you are poor and earn less than £21k, you will pay nothing, despite your university degree.

If you earn more than 21k then you will have to start to repay the cost of your degree - presumably with the repayments escalating as your salary increases (if it does)

How is this in any way unfair? Yes, rich people can pay their kids' fees if they choose to. (many will not of course - just because someone's parents are rich does not by default mean that everything is handed to them on a silver platter). "

BTW I notice you get quite sniffy about "some on here think tax avoidance is perfectly moral if it's done legally."

I'd be interested in hearing you explain how tax avoidance is immoral.

Tamsin said...

Because we all owe something to society in taxes and to spend a disproportionate amount of time and effort and also money ("wasted" on accountants and lawyers) in scurrying around and raking through the legislation looking for loopholes does seem a little immoral. A huge amount of resources taken up in cooking up such schemes and wasted government costs arguing the points in court. You've got the income, made the gain, or whatever - pay the tax like most other people.

Mark-you the government encourage it by making the whole thing so wretchedly complicated, and by trying to close these loopholes rather than just accepting that there are some issues where tax can be avoided. And almost by definition no politician can claim the moral highground.

Anonymous said...

Monkeyboy what exactly do you mean by 'deprived', put a figure on it.

How many of these 'deprived' students are currently at universities such as Oxford or Cambridge?

Figures show Eleven Oxford colleges and 10 Cambridge colleges made no offers to black students for the academic year beginning autumn 2009.

Get the simple message?

All I've seen on TV are well dressed middle class white kids describing how 'deprivided' kids won't be able to go to's tosh.

It is primarily middle class students wanting to defend their priviledged position by putting the fear of tution fees into the path of 'deprived' students.


What legistation are you suggesting to stop graduates going abroad, put them a wanted list, bar them from having passports, or there's the Chinese method of locking protestors away for years.

Anonymous said...

I think the general public should demand their right to a free education from certain lecturers.

Lataro said...

This is just awful, the democratic process has let down students.

I can't even begin to express my personal contempt for Clegg and his apologists for the manner in which his cyncism has led to the build up of expectations and then to let people like this.

As an 18 year old, a legal adult why should by my parents income determine how much I am charged for a service?

You don't want so many lawyers, let the market decide, suppply demand. For years people have known if you do maths, science you'll have a more stable ie more money that arts background but those subjects are largely not taught very well, students find arts, social science easier to connect with. NOTE to connect with not necessarily to be succesful at.

Now we have educational seperation, STEM students publicly subsidised & Arts&Humanties & Soc. Sciences not.

this is such bollocks.

Anonymous said...

A student rep said last night London graduates get jobs paying £25k a year.

According to ONS in 2004/5 the average UK pay was £22,000.

18,500,000 people earned less than £20k.

A mere 411,000 earned more than £100,000.

Anonymous said...

A student rep said last night London graduates get jobs paying £25k a year.

According to ONS in 2004/5 the average UK pay was £22,000.

18,500,000 people earned less than £20k.

A mere 411,000 earned more than £100,000.

David said...

I imagine the Tory Scum comment was aimed at the coalition as well as users of this site. After all calling students ignorant, thick, unwashed berks like 'Lou Baker' likes to do is hardly adding to the debate and is actively baiting people.

And for those who are saying how awful Goldsmiths is, this area would be a fraction as interesting if the alumni of Goldsmiths had never settled here or any of the current students weren't around. It was pretty much solely responsible for the YBA scene for a start, although judging from the type of people on here they probably think that is a bad thing as well.

Anonymous said...

"As an 18 year old, a legal adult why should by my parents income determine how much I am charged for a service?"

Because the money trees stopped dropping free money on the ground in May. There are limited funds, so we either cut student numbers or middle class people pay for the income enhancing opportunities that for many a college education gives. It's tough, but the national debt is £4800000000000 so the days of subsidising the middle classes are over.

Monkeyboy said...

Of course charging 9,000 year will increase the shameful ethnic minority count at Oxbridge.

The figures came from a freedom of information request from this chap

Do I thing tax "efficiency" is immoral? I'm staying schtum but please let's not say Philip green is savvy and at the same time criticise those on benefits.

Paolo said...

Lataro - "As an 18 year old, a legal adult why should by my parents income determine how much I am charged for a service?"

You what? Have you actually bothered to read the proposals? or even any other posts on this site?

No-one, no matter what their background, will have their education service determined by their background.

I think tonight's events have demonstrated the protester's contempt for the democratic process

Time to treat them in the same way the French CRS treat their student protesters

Anonymous said...

Max/paolo you are a disgracel.

Brockley Nick said...

@MB - that piece by Lammy was comprehensively demolished here and elsewhere

Brockley Nick said...

@Anon 2219 - what on earth did Max say to earn your ire? A grad tax would surely incentivise some people to leave the country after graduation, whereas student loans will follow them around.

Mb said...

But could you not legislate so that onc back in the Uk you pay the tax? Some people will leave, never to return but would that be a significant number? I'm not sure where I stand but I know that a twenty grand plus debt would not have encouraged me to go on to higher education. Debt terrified my dad, I've been overdrawn about three times in my life and have managed a small mortgage. I don't want to get the violins out (although a bc hug would be nice) but fear of poverty can cross generations

Lou Baker said...

What's happened in London again today is a disgrace. A total disgrace.

I hate what these thugs are doing to our city.

I don't, for a minute, think most of them are legitimate students.

But the genuine students would do well to now lay this matter to rest - and stop with the protests and occupations.

They are doing your cause no good.

In any case you've lost now. If you don't like it you have the chance to put it right at the next general election.

Anonymous said...

"If you don't like it you have the chance to put it right at the next general election."

How droll. To paraphrase Paxman, when faced with a politician the only question you need ask yourself is "Why is this lying bastard lying to me?".

I totally agree with you that the protests were pointless exercises in ugliness, but to suggest that elections offer some sort of alternative is naive. I voted for Cameron, but increasingly I think he is more Heath than Thatcher. I can't be bothered to go on a demo, but as for this coalition, well as a Tory I'm increasingly disappointed at how tame they are. So perversely while completely disagreeing with the students, I can see where some of their frustration stems from.

Anonymous said...

See if you can laugh and vomit simultaneously, by watching its self regard and stupidity is kind of breath taking.!

Anonymous said...

"Do I thing tax "efficiency" is immoral? I'm staying schtum but please let's not say Philip green is savvy and at the same time criticise those on benefits."

Lets not forget the Guardian Media Group's savvyness here either. Over £300m in profits in 2009, and paid exactly £0 in corporation tax!!! Never hear Polly mentioning that.

max said...

Anon 22:19, branding people a disgrace for daring to consider possible drawbacks of the NUS favourite option doesn't really advance the argument in its favour, so please say why do you think it would not be an incentive to relocation abroad.
Any advocate of education must be able to articulate something better than that.

Tamsin said...

@ Monkeyboy. It is illuminating to read the comments on the Lammy article. His attempt to use statistics is torn to pieces and the statement about Access Visits to Eton turned on its head. Someone involved in them explained that they were to Eton the place and aimed solely at state schools.

A general consensus acknowledges the issue but points to the problem as being much further back in the education system - and also the contrasting attitudes of the state and public sector, with the promulgation of stereotypes by the likes of Lammy doing nothing to help matters. I found the tale told in this post particularly shocking:

"It is also sad that such an attitude persists today. As an undergraduate at Oxford I was heavily involved in organising a conference to encourage applications to read Law there. We took no active steps at all to publicise this to private schools but focused on state schools, particularly those which had not sent anyone to Oxford (the data was available and being used by the University way back then in the early 90s). We committed to speaking to and visiting any school that wanted us to go to explain more about what we were doing and why.
It wasn't surprising that many schools never responded - after all, teachers are busy and can't reply to every letter or message they receive. What was surprising was the number of teachers who took the time and effort involved to write back or in a handful of cases phoning angrily telling us to "fuck off" because they had no interest in letting their pupils have contact with elitist institutions like Oxford. Apologies for the language, but it still reverberates as being different from how we expected teachers to talk to people and different to our own then recent experiences of being at school.
If any of those teachers, or their successors 20 years on have read Lammy's article, I guess they'll be nodding their heads and enjoying how right they were without realising that they were a big part of the problem. They are more influential in saying that Oxbridge isn't for the likes of their students than Oxbridge admissions tutors."

And, of course, a lot on how Lammy's own party was the one that has been in charge of "education, education, education" for the past 13 years.

I also found this comment a telling one:
"When the group who performed poorest at school were poor black boys it was heralded as a national scandal and that action must be taken against discrimination. Now the group doing worst are poor white boys the attention of the "equality" agenda switches to how many black people are at Oxbridge. Clearly the equality of some is more important than that of others."

On the matter of fees and the rise to £9000 - most (where they commented at all) did not think it would have an effect.

Anonymous said...

The guardian media group lost £89m in 2009 so would pay no tax. Yes there is fuzzy line between tax efficiency and the sort of thing that Philip green did but there is a difference.

Anonymous said...

I see Goldsmith's already provides a non-repayable busary of £1,000 to students who may otherwise be disadvantaged or deterred from studying at Goldsmiths.

There are non-repayable scholarships, including the Lewisham Mayor's £11,000 New Cross Award for 2 students linked with the borough.

33 students wanting to study computing can benefit from another scholarship scheme.

Then there is sponsorship.

Anonymous said...

Tamsin said..
If any of those teachers, or their successors 20 years on have read Lammy's article, I guess they'll be nodding their heads and enjoying how right they were without realising that they were a big part of the problem.

That attitude is still around and has been witnessed in Lewisham, the rejection of the suggestion Lewisham Bridge School be linked to one of the best performing schools in the borough is an example.

It's a shame a group of politically motivated individuals within the NUT can't see it is their actions contribute to preventing the disadavantaged improving their lifes.

Tamsin said...

Actually me quoting someone else on another discussion.

In contrast Crossways were dead chuffed to get one of their pupils into Oxford within a few of years of opening. Hope the same aspirational momentum continues with this new head.

Anonymous said...

As a foreign investor if Mrs Green was paid £1 billion in dividends would not the treasuary benefit to the tune of £100,000,000?

Anonymous said...

she lives in Monaco...apparently. And I wonder if drops Mr Green a few quid? No, that would silly.

Anonymous said...

Because we all owe something to society in taxes and to spend a disproportionate amount of time and effort and also money ("wasted" on accountants and lawyers) in scurrying around and raking through the legislation looking for loopholes does seem a little immoral

Tamsin, is your husband still an accountant?

Anonymous said...

Crossways and Goldsmiths, the NUT see them as a 'threat' rather than an opportunity for the kids of Deptford Green.

"Our campaign has helped hold things back...The Council’s original plans would have seen a ‘Goldsmiths Trust’ of Addey and Stanhope, Deptford Green and Crossways Sixth Form."

Anonymous said...

Students complained being kettled caused them to be violent. When given the freedom to roam the streets they ran amok shouting abuse, hurling missiles, smashing windows, damaging others property and attacking individuals who crossed their path.

When are they going take responsibilty for their actions and the imapct it has had on shop staf and members of the public including families who found themselves confronted by a violent student protestors.

Time and again yesterday protestors showed they couldn't careless about anyone but them selfish selves.

It would be nice to see the vast majority of peaceful students out today clearing up the mess.

Anonymous said...

Some protestors kicked off, most didn't. Should peaceful England fans be compelled to cleanup after rioting England fans?

Uncle Sepp said...


Tamsin said...

Yes,and I used to be a lawyer. A lot of the work these professions due is beneficial to society and worthwhile. Dreaming up complex tax legislation and even more complex schemes to avoid it is neither.

Tamsin said...

Sorry - that was at Anon 10.50 and "do" not "due".

drakefell debaser said...

I did not go to university as you had to study abroad to get a decent degree which would have cost many hundreds of thousands of Zimbabwean dollars that I didn’t have. Our dear leader’s government offers little (zero as I recall) help and the parents were not keen to fund me as I was a rebellious little shit by that stage. Tragic, I know.

So help me out here please.

My cousin is currently studying for a degree in biology and with 6 months to go he owes the student loans company just over £19K.

As I understand it he will have to repay this once he earns £15K + so it would appear that he would be better off under the new proposals, given the threshold for paying it all back is higher at £21K.

Secondly, he has built up this debt under the current system which doesn’t seem to deter people from going to university as there are record numbers of students at university. So, if you are happy to accept £20K of debt yesterday why would the extra £10K (assuming you were charged the maximum £9K over 3 years) put you off going to university today?

With the sheer number of universities in the UK surely most will charge an average of £6K at most?

Would the majority not end up with roughly the same debt as my cousin does now, with the possibility that more will not have to pay anything at all?

Aside from the political back tracking from the Lib Dems, what is the problem? What am I missing?

Anonymous said...

Anon @ 11:37
"Some protestors kicked off, most didn't. Should peaceful England fans be compelled to cleanup after rioting England fans?"

It was an NUS disorganised demo, about the third in as many weeks.

It would be nice if they took responsibilty and made a gesture in helping to clean up the mess.

It would be good PR and would publicly indicate they distance themselves from the violent thugs.

How about expelling from the Student Union anyone identified as being an abusive, violent criminal?

Anonymous said...


It appears the students have been misinformed or are delibrately not wanting to listen.

Reading the websites of some of those behind various demos they don't seem interested in presenting a truthful or honest account of tuition fees to students.

Hacking into those websites their agenda is not so much the fees but wanting a 'revolution' to overthrow the evil nasty Tory government.

Bombtrack said...

We will continue to protest, we will continue to make our voices heard. At pretty much every demo I've been to the police start the first attacks on the protesters and surprise surprise violence begets violence. The police are a tool of the state and we will treat them with the same contempt they treat us.

Refuse. Resist. Occupy.

Anonymous said...


Bombastic Track more like. Are you planning to go all Baaber Meinhof on our asses then. Whoa... you're so scary.

"Tool of the state" hilarious. You've had your fun, now be a darling and go away and finish your Althusser essay.

Anonymous said...

Yea, that 63 year old woman and 62 year man last night were vicious.

Anonymous said...

Here is a biog and story of one young 'innocent' student's day caught up Thursday's violence.

Charlie Gilmour, is the adopted son of Pink Floyd guitarist Dave Gilmour.

Charlie's mother is journalist & writer Polly Samson and his natural father is writer & actor Heathcote Williams.

Charlie grew up in the humble surroundings of a £1.5m farmhouse in West Sussex and was privately educated, and is currenttly at Cambridge University.

Mid afternoon Charlie Gilmour was photographed having climbed the Cenotaph in Whitehall swinging from a Union Jack.

He later apologised...

"Running along with a crowd of people who had just been violently repelled by the police, I got caught up in the spirit of the moment.

"I did not realise that it was the Cenotaph and if I had, I certainly would not have done what I did.

Mr. Gilmour is a student of HISTORY at Cambridge univesity.

Earlier in the day Mr. Gilmour in Parliament Square and caught on video rushing police lines urging the crowd to...

"Forward, break the lines, forward, unto death"

Many hours later in the vicinty of the attack on the royal car he was interviewed on video by a BBC journalist.

Charlie revealed concealed under his coat a large metal pole. and said he'd been smashing things up.

Looks like the fee paid for Charlie's private saxaphone lessons may have gone to waste.

Come the revolution....

Land Rover said...

For the purposes of balance yes, 60 plus year old Camilla got poked through a window but also affected was 20 year old student Alfie Meadows who was hit on the head & and had to receive brain surgery. Also assaulted was Jodi Mcintyre, also 20 years old, he has cerebral palsy and was pulled out of his wheelchair and dragged along the floor by police. This episode was caught on film, thankfully, otherwise people might think was made up.

Here is a link,

Its a nasty incident and tough to watch. I am very glad I did not witness it live as I probably would have intervened to try and stop what was happening to Mr McIntyre in the same way that I would if I had seen any vulnerable person being attacked like that, but may well have ended up like Alfie Meadows for my trouble.

Anonymous said...

Bombtrack sounds like a tool of the state

drakefell debaser said...

It is a great song though.

Danja said...

Volume's never high enough.

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