There are times when even the hysteria of the Middle English Right Wing Press can make me sit up and blink - buying a morning paper the other day, I could but, not notice the near hysterical headlines that followed the National Assembly's decision to support Welsh students by guaranteeing that there will be no increase in fees for Welsh students wherever in the UK they choose to study. The Daily Telegraph (30th November) ran with "Higher tuition fees but only if you are English" picked up and ran with the educational "apartheid" line.
The following day the Daily Mail (1st December) no advocate of devolution (or even Wales) had also thrown a wobbly the emergence of education apartheid over the National Assembly's decision to support Welsh students, and I kid you not ran with "Punished for being English: Welsh students join Scots in being spared tuition fees rise". This did strike me as odd because I seem to remember that the Daily Mail and it's ilk was a reasonably keen support of apartheid when it was applied in South Africa (prior to Nelson Mandela's release and apartheid's demise in the late 1980's).
Not content with the hysterical headlines then then followed up with "The injustice of these Welsh and Scottish student fees is grotesque. Soon the English will insist on THEIR rights" (2nd December) and also "If the Welsh want voter gimmicks they should pay for it themselves" (2nd December) and finally naturally "Even EU students will pay less in fees than the English as apartheid row escalates" (2nd December).
The bottom line is that access to higher education should be on the basis of the individuals potential to benefit and not on the basis of what they can afford to pay. Plaid has long been opposed to the idea that higher education should be organised on a market basis. The Middle / Little Englander right wing press can kick off as much as it likes, but, the question they are failing to ask is why the Con Dem Government (in London) failed to follow the Welsh and Scottish example? And as for paying for it that's what we (via the National Assembly) are doing!