Aberystwyth University and Life Goals

"Education, Education, Education", as Tony Blair said. Of course, Labour simply thought that meant increasing the budget and punching the teachers. But when he said that, a much smaller version of myself - a 6 year old, to be precise - was pottering about, sometimes being very difficult to all and country. I, and that of my entire generation, have lived through Blair's education system. It has given us more people passing GCSEs, A Levels and getting Degrees than ever before. Disregarding the fact that much of that improvement has been down to shoddy qualifications and my own dislike of pressuring the teachers, it was undoubtedly better than the Thatcherite model. But as I leave some small party of some of Labour's imprint - fortunatly not drastically harmed by the experience - and head onto university, I have to decide my goals, what I want to do with my life, and - most importantly - how politically active I should be.

Now, you're sitting there thinking "Uh-oh, personal blog post approaching." This is an entirely valid assumption, but if you'll allow me to indulge myself for a paragraph or two, there's a good political attack at the bottom.

I want to be a Liberal Democrat. I like the idea of long hours, low pay, continuous insults by association and job security relying on The Public. I like the idea of having to wheel and deal in Westminister to get anything done. I like the idea that, perhaps once or twice, an idea I agree with will get to become law, improving Britain for the better. That's why I'm going to Aberystwyth. That's why my primary focus of university will be to use it as a springboard into politics, stopping to slam Liberal Youth into a bucket of cold green goo a few times. That's why I've been writing this blog. That's why I've been attempting to learn policy, economics and history. That's why, of course, I'm writing this very post - I want to learn, to practice, to move forwards. I want to make my town a better place. I want to help the causes of all those who have mental conditions that make them, sometimes, socially awkward or plain incompetent.

The point of all this is that I'm heading to Aberystwyth University to do an International Politics and History course. But there is no doubt in my mind that, had factors been different, I could have ended up working in Tesco. Or, alternatively, I could be heading to Baliol College at Oxford, where the political elite go. That one might have happened if I'd been a harder worker and, perhaps, not have had 3 and a half years of shoddy Comprehensive education shoved upon me. The fact that this disparity exists, however, is my big bugbear. We've heard all the arguments for Comprehensives, National Curriculums, Diplomas, Tuition Fees, Foundation Degrees and Apprenticeships many times. We've seen Labour swinging from left to right to left over the issue, with the hypocricy of their own cabinet members sending their children private ringing true all the time. I have to face my life after Labour with the Liberal Democrats. However, what truely puts a great sadness on my face is simple - how many children "could have been"? How many young Bohrs or Obamas have been squandered because of this education system that is still just as class based as it was 20 years ago? Labour's education policy - like so much of their repetoir - is an illusion of numbers and lies.

With the Liberal Democrats, I hope that I'll be able to, eventually, work to prevent any more wasted children.


Jo Christie-Smith said...

Excellent idea! I have a degree in International Relations from Aber and it is an excellent degree.

And, what's more, you'll be pleased to know, that those who know something about International Relations all know that is one of the best degrees in the subject in the world. On a number of occasions I've been talking to people (people who go on telly and the Today programme to talk about international affairs) and they have told me not to play it down and that it's an impressive degree.

Plus, you can be guaranteed that you will have a University life like none other in the UK. It's a much bigger University than it was in my day, but it is a truly unique experience and I wish you all the luck in the world - it's a great degree and a great department!!