Go on - cut the Universities

Oh no! Leaders of 20 of the UK's most prestigious universities have warned government plans to cut funding will lead to a higher education "meltdown".

In an article for the Guardian, Michael Arthur and Wendy Piatt write that, following the swingeing cuts announced recently by The Lord High Mandleson..

".. our gold standard system could be replaced with one of silver, bronze or worse"

Universities are facing cuts of nearly a billion pounds over the next three years, and they fear worse is still to come.

The Russell Group. which includes Oxford and Cambridge universities as well as Warwick and Glasgow among others, said

"..the upshot would be universities facing the closure of hundreds of courses, with fewer academic staff and bigger classes .. as many as 30 universities might not survive in their current form"

But you know what? Perhaps these cuts might be a not-entirely-bad, even a good, thing. Although not in the way the moronic 'anti-elitist' Labour party think.

Perhaps, if we're lucky, the 30 universities that 'might not survive' will be the crappy, created-five-years-ago, University of Mid-Wessexshires that have sprung up to take all the extra students that Labour yearned to create.

Perhaps the courses that will be cut will be the fucking ridiculous new courses, introduced under this Government so that all - including the non-academic and the terminally thick - may have prizes. Will we really miss all those graduates in Practical Haircare and Ambulatory Studies?

Perhaps - and wouldn't this be great? - it might once more be quite difficult to get into a University? Perhaps a degree might once more be worth something, because it takes some intelligence and some fucking effort to get one?

Love science, want to make it your career? Fine, study hard for a Physics Degree.

Want to teach Chemistry? Great. Get yourself a Chemistry degree, show you understand your subject.

Adore literature? Want to read and analyse the great works? Good - off you go for your Arts Degree.

Got one A-level, don't know what to do next, can't find a job?

Keep fucking looking.



Captain Haddock said...

I have to agree with your reasoning CF .. there are far too many silly & ultimately pointless courses on offer in our Universities ..

We need their continuance to produce our Medical students, Dental students & the like .. but who the hell needs an educated idiot with a degree in Coronation Street ?

If there's to be a cash shortfall .. charge Foreign students more for the privilege of attending our premier Universities & as you say get rid of the recently tarted-up Polytechnics ..

Mummylonglegs said...

If Cambridge/Oxford are so concerned about the lack of money why don't they just flog of some of their properties. I can't be sure which college it was but last year I read an article that stated it was the third largest property owner after the Queen and one of the churches. And I do agree with your article

Mummy x

Mummylonglegs said...

Ah, here it is

It is believed that Trinity College alone is the fourth wealthiest landowner in the UK behind the Crown Estate, the National Trust and the Church of England.

In 2005 it was reported the college earned more than £20 million in rent from its properties.


Twas Cambridge, and it was 4th not 3rd. Not quite as poor as they claim.

Mummy x

Fish said...

The problem is the Media studies degrees (for example) are the cash cows for the polytech-uni's, and as much as it makes common sense to encourage more people to study "the sciences" at uni by having more spaces, the difficulty is that universities would be supplying a product no one wants...

Of course another argument is that employers need to stop advertising "graduates only" (see where the problem is?) when a doped up chimp with half a brain and two left hands could do the job. If they want employees with degrees they should show willing to pay, or at least contribute, towards the further education and development of staff, and start employing them at 18, apprenticeship style.

Finally they shouldnt encourage people to go to uni'... degrees should be like tools, not like arseholes, they should encourage people to find a career path (with time working in the chosen field) before choosing a degree, which (increasingly frequently in the field of science) is out of date by the time you finish a degree course.

SaltedSlug said...

Another issue is that Science/Engineering/Medicine cost inordinately more than the BA-type subjects, which -along with a shortfall in applicants for anything hard- means historically they've been amongst the first to go.

Constantly Furious said...


Oh, you don't have to tell me - I live - and have worked - in Cambridge. The University owns everything. Not just the colleges, but land, rows and rows of houses, blocks of offices, many of the shops, every-fucking-thing.

Trinity College also owns the o2 dome in Greenwich, for fucks' sake.

It's a safe bet that Cambridge is not one of the thirty who might go under.

One of these days, the Oxbridge boys will tell the Government to stuff their money, and go private. Then they can back to taking on only the elite, and fuck the rest. What a great acheivement for Labour that'll be...

Anonymous said...

My local "university" though it's an insult to the actual term has recently opened a fine new building termed the Academy of Hair (dressing). If it means that BA's in this, fashion, media studies and basketry, etc, have to go - the sooner the better! Few of them lead to any decent career, yet poor students are ever hopeful that there is something to gain from taking them. They are really just another cynical way of manipulating the unemployment figures with no real future for graduates. Perhaps if Colleges had to publish the employment figures of their past students the dross would vanish!

monkey said...

Dont you think everyone has the right to study for a degree then CF?

Or should it only be the elite few?

If so, who chooses them? You?

JuliaM said...

Oh noes! Where will we find people qualified in Facebook and Klingon if this goes ahead?!

Mick Turatian said...

"If Cambridge/Oxford are so concerned about the lack of money why don't they just flog of some of their properties."

Good idea. They could also buy me a new car and can I please have a holiday in the sun too. Hang on, I'll just do a little list, shall I?

Anonymous said...

@ monkey said...


noone has a right to study for a degree any more than they have a right to three A*** a-levels. they have the right to an opportunity to study for a degree, based on selective competition amongst their peers. Too many people better than you? Tough, you should either have worked harder or had smarter parents. I'm not paying for you to waste three/four years of your life avoiding facing up to the challenges of life...

Anonymous said...

as a lecturer at a mid-ranking university, I would like to say.... oh, sorry, I can't, it's my lunch break.

Trident said...

Honestly I've heard it all - right to study a degree? That completely misses the point that CF makes so well.

Intelligent people, who want to study for a worthwhile degree, should do so. Every knuckle draggin' monkey who finks it is their right to acquire a BSc in Acrylic Nails and Beauty, Meeja Studies (buy a newspaper or TV?) or a PhD in Golf Course Management is a waste of money and time - confusing academic study with training benefits nobody.

Pointless degrees diminish worthwhile degrees and society at large.

Anonymous said...

Steady there Polaris,

I have a very useful joint degree in Sociology and Needlepoint.

What is your's in?

Trident said...

I've calmed myself down now, apologies to all.

Bugger I have an MSc in Transcendental Complaining with Anarchy.

Jill said...

I've got a Russell Group degree! Yay me. CF thinks I am proper! Mind you, I got mine on a maintenance grant with a reasonable contribution from my parents - who were bastidish enough to make me work for all but two weeks of the summer holidays in return for covenanting it. Good on 'em. It's all different now. If the basket-weaving student is paying for their degree, what's your problemo, CF? It's only a name.

Fees aside, I do think it's ludicrous that *everyone* should aim for university. And I do think university should be academic, not basket-weaving if I'm honest.

The problem is that the powers that be conflate too many things. A technological society simply requires a technological education overall - from cradle to matriculation. They misunderstand this and say "we live in a technological society so everyone must have a degree so they can get a job".

Muddled thinking. As per.

Anonymous said...


I had a wife like that.

She was constantly studying for that degree but also very keen on the practise too

Anonymous said...

Interesting CF, but you forget that as much as universities might want to 'stick to the hard stuff', the government isn't just taking the money away, it's also insisting that 'students are consumers and must have choice'. English Literature might have been invented in the 30's by three lecturers out hill walking, discussing novels, and how they would stitch Classics, Psychology and Sociology together, but today courses get invented by professional marketing departments who think 'ooh, surfing studies, that'll attract kids to Blackpool' - and sadly, it does. Students are consumers now stupid, they don't have to put up with boring things like 'History' or 'Physics' or 'Engineering'. They all want to be like that bloke on the telly, who gets loads of birds. Universities get paid for every student who passes - and without students enrolling and passing, there isn't a course. Goodbye Chemistry, goodbye languages - should have got yourself some primetime reality telly with hot-tubs.

Anonymous said...

I am an 18 year old student and although yes there are far too many stupid courses there are also many people who go to university because they are never given an option as to what else they can do. Most of us are not sure what we want to do with our lives at this point (no bleeding heart stuff just facts) as the majority of our time at school has been spent learning how to pass the next exam.

keep the funding at university, get rid of the shit courses and concentrate on making the time spent at school about learning life skills not exam skills.

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