Further to yesterday’s entry, even if I wanted to go into details about the bally budget I don’t think I’d have the heart to. The thing’s too recent. The anguish hasn’t had time to pass.
Just Fancy That!
2011: ‘Ministers insist that a generous package of student support – including an increased maintenance grant […] – will ease the burden of degree costs.’
– Telegraph, 12th August 2011
2015: ‘Maintenance grants for university students from low-income families will be scrapped and converted into loans in the Government’s next round of spending cuts.’
– Independent, 8th July 2015
Private vices, public virtues, phr.
Pronunciation: /ˈprʌɪvᵻt ˈvʌɪsɪz ˈpʌblɪk ˈvəːtjuːz/
Etymology: < pop. var. of subtitle: The Fable of the Bees, or, Private Vices, Publick Benefits (1714) by Bernard Mandeville.
1. Regarding eighteenth-century spending: Mandeville’s provocative assertion that the private vice of acquisitiveness is a necessary evil in creating the public virtue of a thriving market economy.
2. Regarding twenty-first-century borrowing: the Tories’ self-contradictory assertion that debt is natural for private individuals (student loans: hurrah!), but unnatural for the public purse (deficit: boo!).
The Department for Education gives out what it calls bursaries, ‘To encourage the best graduates to enter the [teaching] profession’. But in several subjects ‘the best graduates’ include those with a two-two, and in physics, maths and primary maths those with a pass. So bursary – ‘An endowment […] an exhibition’ (OED), i.e. given upon the result of a competitive examination – is the wrong word to use. The so-called bursaries are in fact simply government funding for what is rightly government-funded. The same squeamishness about perfectly unremarkable cases of necessary tax-and-spend lies behind the pathetic attempt to pretend that Network Rail does not represent the renationalisation of rail infrastructure after the failure of Railtrack.