A rogues' gallery of mountebanks, charlatans and scoundrels
Of all the animals of prey, man is the only sociable one.
Every one of us preys upon his neighbour, and yet we herd together.
The Beggar's Opera: John Gay
Sunday, 26 September 2010
Wielding the Knife and Fork
It's no secret that cuts for Universities were in the offing, but the grim reality presents itself this morning in a Sunday Times article headed 'Tuition fees will rise to £10,000'.
As usual, the headline grossly over-simplifies (there are proposals to remove the fees cap and increase the costs of student loans) but what it boils down to in effect, for us at least, is the prospect of the Urchin leaving university with far higher debts than his older brother.
Since both have chosen similar degree courses and are likely to aim for the same kind of employment, where does this leave us as parents? Can we really stand by and see one of our children lumbered with a lifelong debt while the other one clears his within a few years?
And, even if we could help reduce the Urchin's debt, would it be it fair to his older brother to do so?
It looks as if Browne's Fork* is going to be accompanied by a wooden spoon stirring up sibling rivalry of epic proportions.
*Remember Henry VII and Morton's Fork? Browne's Fork goes like this: 'if you went to a state school, you have paid nothing so far for your education so it's reasonable to ask you to meet the full costs' or 'if you went to a fee-paying school, you obviously have enough money to meet your tuition fees in full'.
Macheath, the notorious highwayman, has retired from a life of crime and can now be found behind the bar of Peachum's Tavern, favourite haunt of the rakes, rogues and vagabonds of 18th century Newgate and setting of 'The Beggars' Opera'. Visitors are always welcome; help yourself to a virtual tankard of ale and read on...