A side note to begin; if journalism exists to hold power to account, and freedom of expression gives one the freedom to express their viewpoint, regardless of whether it is critical of power, does openly biased journalism against a government make it any less valid? The New York Times' Herbert Matthews once said that biased journalism was perfectly fine, provided the journalist in question made their personal opinions clear.
So, making it clear, I'm very biased, and I'm also very angry.
On Thursday the Independent ( http://www.independent.co.uk/student/news/government-plans-to-axe-mainte... ) reported that not only was the government axing the non-repayable maintenance grants that are paid to those with a lower household income, but they were axing them without proper Parliamentary scrutiny and debate.
Taking place in a 'delegated liaison committee' whose membership featured nine Conservative MPs out of 18, the cuts appear to be being railroaded through Parliament with no opportunity for debate.
Now, I obviously didn't support the increase in tuition fees from to £9,000 a year, but the fact is that is debt which doesn't directly affect a student within University and the repayments are scheduled in a way which, when you look at it, isn't horrendous.
This is totally different.
Cuts to maintenance grants mean that students from poorer backgrounds are even more disadvantaged, given how they will now have to rely on loans rather than non-repayable grants just to make ends meet.
Ultimately this risks entrenching inequality even further. If you turn University into what is effectively private education by making the costs so astronomical and the financial aid so insignificant that those from poorer backgrounds can no longer afford it, or are so saddled with real debt by the end of it they may as well not bother, you deny a whole group of people the benefits of higher education. And in this day and age with how vital a University education can be and the benefits graduates get over their lifetime, that's a big deal, and it simply isn't right.
Personally I'm lucky, I'm well off enough that I don't need to rely on government grants. People I know however, aren't. My best friend is in debt, she needs a job at home she needs a job at Uni as it is. She's on a grant.
In the episode of 'the West Wing' "20 Hours in America", White House Communications Director Toby Ziegler strikes up a conversation in a bar with random citizen Matt Kelley, who's browsing colleges with his daughter. He remarks that while the cost "should be hard" and "I like that it's hard", he says "But it should be a little easier, just a little easier."
This government hasn't made it "a little easier" for those from lower income backgrounds to access higher education. It's made it harder, and not just a little bit. And it isn't right.