This morning I spoke to the Maiden Erlegh Sixth Form as part of their General Studies. I was assured that Labour and Lib Dem representatives have been invited in to speak at later dates to provide balance.
I spoke to them about the changing landscape of work, where more jobs will have to come from self employment and small companies, as the total number of new jobs available in the public sector and UK based large companies declines. I talked of the huge opportunities the internet and other new technology offers, where a student in his bedsit in Harvard University can set up a business which makes him a multi billionaire in his twenties. I reminded them as an example that the pharmaceutical industry, traditionally a big employer of UK scientists, is now wanting the early research work to be carried out by small sub contracting companies.
There were two main sets of questions. The first were criticisms of Dr Cable’s tuition fee and loan scheme, and the second were questions hostile to Middle Eastern wars.
I explained the government approach to universities. The aim of the government scheme is ensure anyone can afford to go to a university, and n o-one has to repay any of the money borrowed unless they have a job with a reasonable salary. It is still a good idea for students keen to use the university experience for their betterment to go, borrowing the money on these sensible terms to do so. The repayment terms have been made easier for people on lower incomes.
I agreed with the general thrust of the criticisms of too much western military intervention in the Middle East, and explained that I have been arguing for early exit from Afghanistan and no military action in Iran.