In my gut I have always knows that 'state funded' student loans are disgusting, and have railed against them.
I think I now have a clear explanation of what my gut was telling me.
Many people - Lib Dems, Conservatives, some Labour and even some UKIP supporters have spoken out about the student loans being a *fantastic* bargain - too good to be missed. Such a good interest rate/deal that any sane person would *choose* to take the loan rather than pay up front.
I think the argument they present is nonsense, however to let them prove their case I put up this suggestion...
Make student loans for tuition fees COMPULSORY. If they are such a good deal, no-one could possibly object could they?
Oblige every person attending a UK university (regardless of nationality etc) to pay for their course on credit over the life time of their subsequent employment.
Why does this make sense?
Imagine (if you will) two MP's - one an old etonian whose parents paid for every thing up front so they could enter their adult life with no debt. Imagine another, who went through the state system, clawed their way into an through university and is now an MP with huge (student loan) debts to pay...
Imagine a government keen to 'improve their image' regarding frugality - so cutting MP's pay/allowances etc... Now who is going to suffer first and who is going to suffer most? It is the poor and middle class who will suffer (they have massive loans to repay) while the 'toffs' not only keep more of their pay an expenses, but have enough wealth behind them to not even need it anyway!
So one of my main points against student loans and the huge burden they will place on those taking them is that it tilts the whole playing field of viable careers *against* the middle and working classes and in favour of the toffs.
While I despise the LibDems already - I didn't take them for a party to support the aristocracy lording it over the masses - but clearly that is precisely what they are.
I believe tuition fees/loans are really a 20% additional tax on the middle class and poor - to be proved wrong, the either have to be applied to *everyone* or *noone*, there is no middle ground.