During the reign of President Tony Blair he extolled the virtues of university and wanted all school leavers to do a degree in whatever, including cerebral subjects like golf management, media studies, the history of art and probably basket weaving for all I know. Obviously the major scientific and educational subjects were being taken up, but fewer students were deemed bright enough for these so many took lesser degrees.
The upshot of all this further education has now come hone to roost as it was announced last week that this country is losing its practical tradesmen skills, mainly due to apprenticeship schemes being shelved. So we now have a nation of egg-heads who don’t know one end of a hammer from another. The effect of this has been, similarly to medical staff, is to encourage foreigners here to fill the gap. Hence we have many unemployed people with skills that are not always required, and a shortage of skilled tradesmen that we do need. This is the fault of legions of politicians who are all too posh to wield a spanner or calculate volts drop and like Blair who think that if all school leavers go to university they will create wealth. the trouble is that wealth is not created by moving money about, but this is old ground. Happily apprenticeships are on the increase, but as I saying to someone the other day, surely you’ve got the pay the minimum wage and then they are productive? The answer is yet he can’t afford to take on apprentices because financially it would cripple him. Hence most building sites now are filled with European workers, while old codgers like me are retiring all the time, not passing on the skills that future generations need. It’s a vext question.
Christmas time, mistletoe and wine. Yet again the bombardment of all things Christmassy where ever you go. The trouble is all those perfect cookery programmes on TV make everything look perfect and is what everybody should be attaining at a certain point. Let’s face it Christmas has got about as much do with Christ and the birth of Jesus as Islamic State has to promoting the education of girls. It’s now a strictly commercial time of the year, more and more every year. The problem is that most mouth breathers believe everything they see and spend their way stupidly into huge debt for the sake of Christmas. I even saw an advert today on TV about putting money aside for 2015! What? Planning that far ahead to get into more debt? Ridiculous. It won’t stop though, the Christmas commercial juggernaut will roll relentlessly on, it’s said that some businesses make 75% of their profits in December. Not all them Christmas based either, so what do they do the rest of the year? I’m glad I’m not in retail nor ever likely to be. Christmas comes but once a year. That gawd for that.