Here I am on my graduation day, looking like a podgy Madonna wannabe with a bleached crop, coupled with a classic mid-nineties purple velvet trouser suit.
At the moment of collecting my degree I was several thousand pounds in debt to the student loans company who had gladly facilitated my eight-pints-and-a-pack-of-Marlboro-Reds-a-night student lifestyle.
Between epic drinking bouts, I was studying hard at subjects which would eventually provide me with a solid-gold career as a professional artist in the field of theatre and/or literature. I would not be saving lives with medicine, but with ART. I would not be fighting causes in court but in theatres and bookshops.
I got a first class degree in Drama and English Literature. (Yep – there’s brains behind the bollocks). The lifestyle was paid back by me (and my Dad, thanks Dad!) but the degree was paid for by the Tories. How happy it makes me to know they picked up the tab for me learning how to snog convincingly on stage and also how to perform African dance naked, smeared in body paint…
For my girl, it will be different. The snogging and the naked dancing may remain, but when she’s photographed in her graduation garb in 2020, looking rather better than her mother did, thanks to being raised on YouTube make-up tutorials, resisting the urge to dick about with her hair every two weeks, and not needing to conceal her femininity under bulky velvet suits, she will stand there owing either just what it cost to keep her in Vodka, kebabs and books (approx £20,000 over three years), or also owing what it cost to educate her (approx £51,000 in total).
A reasonable investment if you think of yourself as a business. £51k is a moderate pot for a start-up company. For £51k you can buy loads of stationary and business cards and nice cups for the office (I have never run a successful company, obvs, but am assuming these are crucial first purchases).
But what if you’re investing in a company that will not make much money for the foreseeable future, or EVER? What if your business, Myself Ltd, provides services to people who are ill (a nurse) to people who are uneducated (teachers) to people who are bored (actors) or to people who are ignorant (philosophers)?
I suspect my girl will be in one of these categories. She’s studying Drama and English Literature precisely because she has seen the riches these disciplines have brought her mother and frankly, she fancies a bit of this thankless, unpaid, tortuous life. Also because, like her mother (and Madonna), she simply cannot stop expressing herself.
Gwyneth and I work in arty industries which provide no strong and stable incomes, so we can’t afford to support her through university without it having a severe impact on the wine consumption which is so crucial to our continuing to work in arty industries which provide no strong and stable incomes.
It’s not her fault that we aren’t rich. It’s not her fault that she’s clever. And it’s not her fault that she’s been raised to be frugal and look after her money so that the idea of being 20 yrs old and £51k in debt is terrifying to her.
What would be her fault, is to not take the opportunity Labour are offering our young apprentice alcoholics. If she votes Labour on June 8th, they will scrap tuition fees in time for her September intake. This would mean a generation of students will emerge from university, still several stone heavier and with an unpleasant attachment to marijuana, but also substantially better off as they forge ahead with their Myself Ltd endeavours.
Even Labour voters can quite clearly see that £20k is less than £51k. Don’t call us unrealistic lefties with no grasp of economics!
I kinda like Jezza, it turns out. I kinda like beards. And I also kinda like the idea of everyone being able to be good at what they’re good at, no matter how rich their parents are.
Take Pippa Middleton. She did English Literature at Edinburgh university and it may be wild speculation on my part but I reckon she probs didn’t need student finance. That expensive degree was definitely why she was paid nearly half a million quid to publish a book called ‘Celebrate’ featuring crucial lifestyle information like how to run a sack race: “The person who crosses the finish line first is the winner” and is definitely why she got wed in a dress that cost more than my degree and is definitely why she has a nice bum whereas mine is battered and squished from hours from sitting at a keyboard, eating custard creams, refusing to give up on the investment the Tories made in me, in the pursuit of a happy turnover for Myself Ltd.
Ask yourselves, do you want more Pippa Middletons in this life or more Annagrams? Your answer to this will surely determine your vote on June 8th.
As will my decision, if Labour win, to publish a pic of my arty, impoverished, BARE ARSE…