“In the circumstances in which we face, where there isn’t very much money around, where many millions of other people are being asked to make sacrifices, where many young people in the future want to go to university, we have to find the solution for all of that,” said Nicholas Clegg, the Deputy Prime Minister of England, as British lawmakers approved a plan that would raise the cap on university tuition from $5,000 U.S. to $10,000, with special exceptions going as high as $15,000. Clegg and his Liberal Democrat Party had signed a pre-election pledge not to raise tuition rates.
British university students nodded thoughtfully, considered the necessity of spending cuts to ensure the survival of a bankrupt nation, and began throwing billiard balls and flares. The streets of London are boiling over with increasingly violent rioters this afternoon. Protesters have trashed the Tory Party headquarters, and even assaulted Prince Charles’ automobile. The Independent says these are the worst riots they’ve seen in 20 years.
As related in a Fox News report on the riots, the United Kingdom is trying to cut 81 billion pounds (about $128 billion U.S.) from the national budget, which will “lead to the loss of hundreds of thousands of public sector jobs and cut or curtail hundreds of government programs.” A public weakened by decades of British socialism is not taking this well.
Keep the spectacle in England in mind when you hear American liberals jabbering about “tax cuts for the rich,” and blaming the failure of Barack Obama’s beautiful socialist designs on the ugly imperfections of raw and brutal capitalism. There is nothing of “capitalism” in the problems of the United Kingdom. They’ve had socialized medicine for a long time. Their educational establishment enjoys such lavish state funding that raising the tuition to a mere ten or fifteen grand a year is provoking violent chaos. The political system offers a choice between Far Left, Center-Left, and Harrumph. The top marginal tax rate, as of 2010, is 50% on incomes over 150,000 pounds (about $236,000 in American dollars), and there’s a surcharge for the glories of public health care. That’s even higher than the rate Democrats are so hot to impose on the Evil Rich that they’re willing to leave the Sainted Middle Class twisting in the wind.
Speaking of the less spectacular riots that broke out when the tuition reforms were announced early in November, the Independent editorialized, “Whether or not the violence yesterday was, as the National Union of Students insisted, fomented by a tiny minority, the fury on display also seemed to contain other strands, such as a sense of ‘them and us’, and the conviction that direct action was the only way to convey the desired message to those in power. If such sentiments come to be shared more widely, this may turn out to be no unseasonal squall, but the first storm in a new winter of discontent.” Looks like the students decided their “message to those in power” was not received, so even more “direct action” was required.
London is a glimpse of what it looks like when government bankruptcy is allowed to fester, until everything that can be done is painful, and doing nothing is no longer an option. It’s wise to arrest the decline before things get so bad. Look at the American Left’s anger at President Obama’s tax compromise, add a few decades of unsustainable social commitments, mix in a dash of fury at unrealistic promises that could not be kept, and you can see the future through the windows of Prince Charles’ automobile.