The New Labour achievement – The poor can study sculpture at St Martin’s College

One of the trolls on my website, who did not take up the offers he was given to study at different universities, suggested critically that I should ‘study sculpture at St Martin’s College.’

This is a reference to Pulp’s Common People single. Even though I have owned this song on CD since I was a teenager, it was just music I liked, and I had not really paid attention to the meaning of the lyrics – when I was a teenager I wanted to go to university. I ended up meeting a very nice Greek woman, as it happens, called Niki. Although I a chapter I wrote especially for her book got rejected by the other editors, when I was at university on my first Masters, over 5 years later and she has a chapter in one of my books.

The other day I listened to Common People on loop and then it all made sense. The reason this troll said that is because he identifies with being one of the ‘common people,’ because he failed at his university education.

I currently have 4 university degrees, but have the income of someone who would be expected to have no more than a HND. I have been lucky. I did most of my university education under New Labour, when I got entitlements like Housing Benefit (I’ll have to wait until I’m 35 to get the same quality housing under the Con Dems).

Tony Blair introduced Tuition Fees, following John Major creating more universities and introducing student loans. Both of these have meant many more people can go to university, me included. If the tuition fees reforms had not come in, my ‘mickey mouse’ degree (BSc(Hons) in Multimedia Studies), an innovative degree by Dr Mike Reddy, would likely not have had enough numbers to run. At the time poor people like myself did not have to pay tuition fees. The only time I did was when my father’s business started to take off.

So in essence, the reforms by John Major and Tony Blair have made it possible for all people from so-called working-class backgrounds to study Sculpture at St Martin’s College. Since these reforms, one could now even study it as a Masters or Doctoral degree, as it is part of London University of the Arts!

I wonder if I should aspire to study Sculpture at St Martin’s College? I wonder what my troll would think of that! They do offer a summer school course in it, so I might give it a go some time.

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