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You don’t have to be mad to study here…

“….university counselling services say they are seeing more students arrive with  psychological or mental health conditions.”- Guardian report (see below)

Oh dear, I just dropped my son off at Uni…

 

You don’t have to be mad to study here, but it helps

To take just two of the many examples in today’s Guardian article, UCL – “In 2002, just 9% of students who accessed the service had existing psychological or mental health conditions. Last year it was 53%” (UCL counsellors dealt with over 3000 cases in 2015)

Edinburgh – “…the number of male students approaching support services – including chaplaincy, disability and mental health services – between 2010-11 and 2014-15, more than doubled.”

I need to declare it. No, I just must. It’s time.

Improbable though it may seem, given the size of my head (7 5/8) and my phenomenal literary output, I never went to University. I think if I had done, I probably would not be here now. (That line can go either of two ways…)

It wasn’t because I was thick, just depressed. I sat my A-levels two years before everyone else, at 16 (I got an A, another A, a B2 at Special Level and a First Year Pass – that was in Economics.

Ouahaouahaou, eerie flashback music: it was the first year ever that Economics had its own A-level and the Head forced the seasonally maladjusted Rugby master, ‘Taffy’ Spragg, to have a go at teaching it to us; it’s a miracle I got a mark at all. I only took Economics in the first place because my cellmate, Mitch Davies had a thing for the graphics in the textbook, but it was too expensive at £20 (Samuelson) so we agreed to go halves), and then I quickly passed the Cambridge Entrance exam the same year, I was so desperate to leave.

There then began a dispiriting, two-year nationwide tour of mildly hungover interviews with Eng. Lit. dons, at which I generally ended up confessing that I had no interest whatever in the subject discipline and had not read any of the set books as I preferred to do my own writing….

Admission to almost all Universities in those faroff days was by interview (ee, they was proper Universities then, not fancy technical colleges with degrees in nail science through the medium of slavery studies), and I most definitely had existing psychological or mental health conditions. To put it bluntly, I was a massively depressed teenager with chloracne; a three-piece, button-over suit from Harrod’s, in salt-and-pepper tweed, and a serious passive-aggressive attitude problem.

Of all the fashionable disorders available to us these days, having done the online test and passed with flying colours, I’ve selected Asperger’s as my favourite to explain away the many and various oddities in my younger personality, now rigidified into the solitary, unhappily Brexited old Bogler you see before you, his only friend curled companionably at his feet. Indeed, I’ve never been convinced that this ageing man is an actual person, with an -ality to show for his 67 years (next week).

But you don’t want to hear all that.

I think if I had taken that baggage to University in an era when there wasn’t a massive oversupply of Psychology graduates to coax gibbering students back to sanity, with my paralysing shyness and disdain of joining-in I would have ended up committing suicide, probably by drink or smoking, or by drowning myself in the Cherwell (I expect they’ll have concreted over the river by now, health & safety. With one of those rubberised playground surfaces….)

In point of fact, I’m now thoroughly alarmed at the thought of having persuaded both my children to put themselves through the tertiary education ordeal. Was it to satisfy my own vanity?

I sneer, obviously, at the ‘safe zone’ culture, where students mustn’t be exposed to ideas they might find frightening, be labelled too early in life as men and women, or allowed out after 6 pm; and where the security guards are designated for reassurance as ‘Campus Life Manager’, in case students are prompted by the very word to fear for their security.

But there’s clearly a serious problem with today’s undergraduate intake, a loss of confidence among the young, probably due to reading too many negative messages about body dysmorphia on their pointless social mediaphones; watching Twilight on Instagram.

Or otherwise, it’s down to there being more competing support services, pushing out alarming propaganda posters all over the campus telling students they’re at imminent risk of complete mental disintegration if they don’t seek help now.

UCL’s Head of Student Psychological Services, Catherine McAteer explains it thus: “What’s happening is that students are now coming to university when previously they would not have come.” (I’m not sure anyone gets off lightly as a perceptive commentator in this article, but we’ll plough on.)

So, clearly, the solution is not to go to University in the first place, and everything will be tickety-boo.

I blame Tony Blair. He it was who decreed that 50% of young people should benefit from a University education; a noble ambition, but one that has condemned tens of thousands of terrified and insecure young baboons to pursue pointless degrees that will have proved totally counterproductive at improving their life chances.

Animal rights activists will no doubt be reminded of what was known in laboratory circles as the ‘LD-50’ test: a hopefully now discredited Government standard whereby any substance undergoing mandatory safety testing must be administered to the Lethal Dose point where precisely 50% of the subjects have died from it – even if it wasn’t particularly toxic.

Quite like education, then. (Except faith schools, obviously.)

https://www.theguardian.com/education/2016/sep/23/university-mental-health-services-face-strain-as-demand-rises-50

 

Stuck

It’s possible that the greatest malaise affecting Western civilization is the feeling of ‘stuck-ness’ we’re all experiencing in our daily lives.

I know I am.

Brexit and Trump, those twin Farageisms newly released from the Pandora’s box of global diffusion and general malcontent, are evidence of nothing more than boredom.

What we need is a good war. Which is why the West is stuck in Syria, hoping but not quite daring to push the conflict beyond the point of no return for the whole world. Maybe the US should just say, to hell with Putin, and bomb his base at Latakia? That’ll teach ’em to attack UN aid convoys, the lying little neo-capitalist kleptocrats. And it’d be the least ‘stucky’ thing to do, wouldn’t it. It’d get things moving, all right.

We are tempted, are we not, in our hour of boredom to play Russian roulette with our domestic politics. 2016 is the year in which the hammer falls on the live round, and we inadvertently blow our own brains out rather than face an eternity of thwarted ambition. To stop ourselves feeling second-rate, we’ve voted to become second-class.

At a party conference in the throes of the 1981 recession engineered by Geoffrey Howe, the Conservative chancellor, Mrs Thatcher’s loyal lieutenant and party hit-man, Norman Tebbit described to rapturous applause how his dad, unemployed in that earlier 1930s economic downturn, the Great Depression, had ‘got on his bike and looked for work’; no, he didn’t sit around on the dole, expecting hardworking families to keep him in sale-bargain DFS sofas…dribble-wibble.

How times have changed since the glory days of British cycling.

Millions of hopeful, disenfranchised migrants from the Sahel, for instance, have got into unseaworthy rubber boats, hundreds at a time, heading perilously north to where there may be found work; only to be castigated by Conservatives as a useless tide of feckless, sponging brown dross. Those who survive the machine-guns of Dad’s UKIP Army on the White Cliffs should be sent back where they came from. We’re full up. Except of course the NHS. And Transport for London.

And tens of thousands of young people, driven insane by the weight of parental expectation and their mates sexting, are arriving in droves at their chosen Universities, even as you read this, heading straight for the army of psychiatrists drafted to patch them up and put them back on the degree conveyor. And we castigate them, too, as a bunch of useless, hairy layabouts (what is that thing with the little tufts?) studying pointless subjects like media, leaving with £50,000 debt burdens the taxpayer, no doubt, will have to fund in the end.

I have a theory about this. ‘Economic migrants’ are not stuck. We are. We envy them their freedom, their hopefulness; their energy. Students are not stuck; not yet. They will be, we’ll see to that. For now, they have the freedom to be free, although disturbingly too many aren’t using it, except to protest vacuously at statues.

But one day they’ll be lucky enough to get sticky jobs in the gig-economy; jobs where it’s still marginally cheaper to employ a human than a computer chip. Jobs even a robot wouldn’t do.

And then, without a good war they’ll be just like us.

Stuck.

 

Standing proud

On the subject of statues, having exhausted the vexed topic of Cecil Rhodes, African students are now railing at the cast-bronze memory of the sainted Afro-Indian vegetarian, Mohindas P. Gandhi, also known as The Mahatma.

Can you believe it? Gandhi? The Mother Teresa of, er, India?

The half-starved, half-dressed one-man protest movement widely considered to have been self-denyingly instrumental in freeing billions from the shackles of white imperialism apparently once complained that some impudent Zulu had turfed him out of his seat on a bus, or something like that – Gandhi was brought up and trained as a lawyer in multiracial 1900s South Africa, even then compartmentalised into whites, blacks and browns, where he sat in the latter category.

This evidence of blatant racism against Zulus, far worse than the exploits even of some Imperial blimp like General Sir Redvers Buller VC, whose fine 1905 equestrian statue dominates the city of Exeter, now with a traffic-cone on its head, has led to a campaign to have all Gandhiji’s statues removed from whichever flyblown meridianal campuses they may be detected on. I missed that bit of the story.

Do these low-wattage bulbs not get that, without University quads being festooned with heroic early C20th statues of their colonial oppressors, we would have no memory, knowledge or understanding of WHY the pseudo-science of racialism is now considered to be A Very Bad Thing, and who was responsible for it?

The statues do not serve to act as propaganda for modern neo-colonialism, they have the opposite purpose of reminding us of who it was, exactly, when and what we’ve been fighting against, and for; and should be kept as such. The occasional jape involving traffic-cones is de rigueur. The mute statues prompt us to ask questions, not to declare certainties.

Any fule kno, that the problem of the far-right in Germany has been exacerbated because the story of the Nazi aberration of the 1930s has been so thoroughly deloused over the decades since WW2, that it seems to most people beyond belief that anyone could actually hate Syrian children.

Sanitising the history of the world is not your job, student baboons. We do not require you to do it. You are no better behaving like this than the Taliban, or IS iconoclasts. Take your expensive pieces of paper and go in peace.

 

Confectionery Corner

NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

From our Confectionery Correspondent ©2016 Phil McAvity. @thedentist.gum

Baby-killers, Nestlé have just announced that they are naughtily nicking all the sucky-with-chocolate-on, gold-wrapped Toffee Deluxe sweets out of their Quality Street box product offering, and replacing them with some foul, cheap, tooth-binding, air-filled, gone-in-a-moment “honeycomb” experience you apparently requested.

This, they say, to “celebrate” the dubious 70th anniversary of the brand launch. It’s like demanding birthday gifts from someone on their birthday!

‘People thought there were “enough toffee based sweets” in the collection’, the firm told the BBC’s juvenile radio news outlet, Newsbeat. (BBC Report, 24 September)

“People?” What improbable assortment of people, pray? UKIP members? Brexit baboons? Corbyn’s triumphant Momentum supporters? Farage’s radioactive children? Salafists? The FARC? Daily Express readers? Middle-American dimwit Trump voters? Star Trek fans? The Front Nationale? ISIS? Amber Rudd? Investors in Panama? Radio One listeners?

Unlikely. What self-respecting “people” would say there were “enough toffee based sweets” in the box? There are never bloody enough!

According to Nestlé’s global reassurance team, we’ll still be able to buy Toffee Deluxe in their more expensive ‘ignore the health ‘n’ safety warning’ collection. Oh, great. Fucking Swiss, laughing all the way to the bank, as usual.

 

Showbits

What is happening to our planet????

Now it’s Ballboy!! (Writes Showbiz Correspondent, Polly_Wood ©2016. @fuxnews.org)

“TV presenter Zoe Ball and husband DJ Norman Cook – better known as Fatboy Slim – have announced their separation after 18 years together.” – BBC News.

I do not BELIEVE it!! 2016 must surely go down in History as the Year of The End!!! (Among other things. Ed.)

Of course, there is a bit of an age gap thing. She’s still quite sexy for 45, while he looks older than the Editor! (That’s it, you’re fired. Ed.) You can have too much of spinning discs in the living room!! Who gets to choose the playlist at Christmas lunch, eh???

And who remembers The Housemartins anyway? They flew back to Africa or somewhere LONG AGO!!!

But hey #sadface. Stuff happens.

 

 

 

 

 

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