Socialist Worker

LETTERS: Huge debt puts off working class people from studying

Issue No. 2520

Students protesting in London last year

Students protesting in London last year (Pic: Guy Smallman)

I’m 18 and about to start a Bachelors degree. I’m also from a working class family in the North, that huge part of England the government doesn’t seem to know exists.

After my degree I will also be in over £50,000 of debt just like hundreds of thousands of other students. This is unacceptable.

An “investment in your future” should mean you have one worth investing in. But the reality is I could go to university and never have a guarantee of a good future.

Students should be entitled to a high standard of education without putting them in over £50,000 worth of debt.

Now some universities are raising their fee to £9,250 a year. Working class students and families can rarely afford this huge amount of debt

Most of my friends do not see the point in going, and I half-heartedly agree.

Why would you put yourself in debt for the “chance” at a better future when there is the option of apprenticeships?

They will pay you to get an education and have useful workplace experience. They could even get you a career.

The huge amount of debt that comes saddled with a degree will also continue eradicating the hopes and dreams of working class prospective students, which is a horrifying thought to me.

The government values the profits of companies and the profits of war over the futures of coming generations.

I cannot comprehend how a person can rate profit over opportunity.

The £60 billion we spend on machines of death could be spent on better things like the NHS.

For the solution I look toward leaders like Jeremy Corbyn who can put their foot down, turn away from big business and say, “The future belongs to the young.”

Everyone should enjoy an education packed with opportunity and discovery, without having to worry about any debt.

Mark Attwood, Morecambe

Burkini ban is racism by the state

Flying a plane, driving a train and now sitting on the beach.

All these are now unacceptable things for Muslims to do according to Easyjet, the Sun newspaper and 13 French municipalities.

Well, we sat on Brighton beach last week where several Muslim families were enjoying the sea, sun and sand.

We sat in deckchairs fully clothed.

We were neither removed nor fined for lack of appropriate swimwear. We had no intention of swimming or even paddling.

The “burkini” ban has nothing to do with the right not to be religious. It is sexist but above all racist and aimed only at Muslims.

One mayor backtracked when challenged, absurdly claiming that the ban also applied to nuns.

Making a woman strip off in public is in no way liberating.

The result was a torrent of abuse and hatred from some onlookers though others openly expressed their dismay.

Once fascist states made women cover up on the beach. Now in France Muslim women can no longer sit on the beach in their dress of choice.

If necessary we shall have to take direct action. The protests so far have made the French courts hesitate.

United we can beat the “burkini” ban and challenge Islamophobia.

Rabia Rahim and Andrew Smith, South London

I was tortured and put in prison for being gay

I have been in the UK for four years after coming here from Cameroon. As a gay man, I cannot go back to my country. I am still wanted by the authorities.



When I was 22 I was detained for seven days as a result of being caught with my partner.

I got locked up and that was the end. I never saw him again.

When I was arrested I was locked up in a cell meant for 20 people. There were 40 of us in there. There were no beds, we had to sleep on the bare floor.

Every day I was tortured when I woke up and when I went to sleep.

I was only released on the grounds that I was never to be seen with a man and that I had to report to the police station every month.

I had no choice, I accepted.

When I was released I stayed in Bamenda for some time but I couldn’t cope. I couldn’t go back to school, my family didn’t want to see me, my dad didn’t want me in his house.

I had to change, I went to the south of the country. I made a new friend but still got arrested.

This time I was kept in detention for 10 days, under constant torture again.

When I came to the UK I wasn’t coming to seek refuge. The terms under which I was released in Bamenda meant that I had to report back to the police station once a month.

When I came to the UK I wasn’t able to report back. My mother got in touch with me to tell me the authorities had issued a warrant for my arrest. I couldn’t go back to Cameroon, I was scared.

More gay people in Cameroon have been arrested, newspapers have published names of gay people and my name has been published.

In Cameroon you can’t express yourself, you will get killed.

I want the world to know what I went through and what others are going through.

I am free now to express myself, I was hiding who I really was because I was afraid but I have come into contact with campaign groups here and they have given me the courage to open up.

Valerie Ngwa Niba, London

Listen to an interview with Valerie at

We're still paying for PFI scam

The Scottish government has been boasting about “improvement” on Britain’s Public Finance Initiative (PFI) system.

PFI was originally designed to construct essential public buildings using private capital via an agreement with contractors. Councils would pay a monthly fee—actually interest—for the service.

It was described as a humanitarian exercise—the school goes up, the community get involved, work is created, training schemes are provided.

But the council pays a “fee” of £5 million a month for 17 schools in Edinburgh. It is no wonder that this policy has been labelled as the privatisation of the public sector. Capitalism has struck again.

But it gets worse. It has been revealed that more than 200 schools are at least partly owned by offshore investment funds.

Stakes in a PFI can be sold and traded on a “secondary” market. And those who buy these stakes have a guaranteed steady income from the councils.

So much for the non-profit-making community service offered by the local bodies in charge.

Mona Clark, Dundee

Purge the Labour right

We should purge all these right wing, bought and paid for Labour MPs.

They have never served the people.

They are only there to serve themselves and their paymasters. They should all resign.

Martyn Meacham, on Facebook

Does Smith measure up?

For somebody who worked in PR and the BBC, Owen Smith sure makes a lot of gaffes.

Paul Liptrott, on Facebook

We can defy anti-union law

Solidarity to Royal Mail workers who took unofficial action in Swindon (Socialist Worker, 31 August)

Their walkout shows it’s possible to defy Tory anti-union laws and win.

Jessica Robinson, Hexham

The great NHS heist

In a radio interview Dr Bob Gill of the National Health Action Party said the NHS is being dismantled so that Britain can be prepared for a US-style insurance system.

The Tories are speeding up their plans with a big financial onslaught on hospitals and radical cuts elsewhere.

Health secretary Jeremy Hunt’s technique with the NHS mirrors the Tory technique in privatising the railways, and we can see the results today.

Sybil Ashton, London

Socialism must come from below

Interesting article on Labour’s Clause 4 last week (Socialist Worker, 31 August).

Clause 4 implied that socialism is something to be handed down to the working class from above. In fact, real socialism can only be socialism from below.

Workers have to secure for themselves the common ownership and democratic control of the means of production.

Phil Webster, Whalley

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