If the freedom of speech is taken away then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter.

- George Washington

Monday, 24 January 2011

Guardian has a re-think

The Guardian posts an article on a 'student' protest against the scrapping of the EMA. In its original form it included a very revealing quote:
"I would have had to get a part-time job if I hadn't had the EMA"
Luckily, a commenter captured the text in a quote before the paper removed the original from the article:


If working about 8 hours a week for £30 (even under 18) is too much of a distraction, the 'real' world is going to be a horrible shock.

I wonder why they decided to remove the original wording? Not the right message? There is also this doozy in the comments:

Cameron got EMA, our parents got EMA, Charles Dickens got EMA, but suddenly there's no need for it. What gives ?

Whut? Some history:

  • EMA was piloted in 1999 and rolled out UK-wide in 2004
  • Charles Dickens died in 1870
  • Cameron was the qualifying age for EMA between 1982 and 1985
  • Anyone born before 1980 cannot ever have qualified for EMA, so 'our parents got EMA' means that the 'parents' had their offspring at the age of 15 or less, even stretching the dates to their limits.

Some of the comments suggest (shame! evil Tories!) that the 'students' use the EMA for dope, fags, clothes and make-up, rather than attending to their educational needs. Seems they may be right: basic history and current affairs seem to have fallen by the wayside.

The comments as a whole demonstrate entitlement-whinging at exhibition level. As many of the commenters in The Guardian say, the EMA is a ruse to keep the jobless figures down, and a bribe to keep young people voting Labour.

I can accept that help with travel and meal costs for the disadvantaged might be a good idea, but £30 cash in your hand looks too much like an inducement.


  1. The Grim Reaper picked up on a quote from someone who was saving their EMA to get a car when they passed their test.
    They were complaining that they wont be able to afford a car if EMA is stopped.

    The Reaper pointed out that, apart from the mis-use of the money, they were in for a shock if they thought they could buy and run a car on £30 per week

  2. A bit worrying that such an ignorant bunch should be demanding "Education, 'cos its my right innit"

    WTF have they been doing for the past 10 years or so???

  3. Reading the comments to the article, it struck me that the kids (if they really are teenagers) writing many of the comments would in the past have gone straight from school at 16 into a trade of some kind, and had a decent income and security, and made a positive contribution to society. But under the last Govt, it was deemed that everyone should be an academic (it's discrimination not to, right?) and so we get all these Mickey Mouse courses that we have to pay them to attend.

  4. And they will still end up working the tills at the local supermarket, only with huge debts to pay off....

  5. Exactly. We used to offer an education that interested (and was useful to) most youngsters, whether it was academic or technical. Schools were varied places, and discipline problems were comparatively minor. Now it's diluted academia for everyone, and they wonder why the kids are disaffected. For some kids, working on a till is right for them, and denying it in the cause of 'all shall have prizes' is a disservice to them and the rest of us.


Comment is free, according to C P Scott, so go for it. Word verification is turned off for the time being. Play nicely.

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