Students are being mis-sold degrees that benefit no-one

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Opinion Digest: the higher education con, the right to die and why Assange must face justice in Sweden

LAST UPDATED AT 10:53 ON Fri 17 Aug 2012

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STUDENTS ARE BEING MIS-SOLD DEGREES
FRASER NELSON ON HIGHER EDUCATION
From the moment John Major started abolishing student grants, the British government has been in the business of selling (rather than simply providing) higher education, says Fraser Nelson in The Daily Telegraph. Yes, studying costs money, the argument goes, but it is an investment that will lead to better careers and higher incomes. That's not true. A recent government research paper found that while a doctor or dentist can expect about £400,000 more over a lifetime from their degree, graduates degrees in 'creative arts' for example, can expect to earn £15,000 less than those who start work aged 18. "The mis-selling of higher education is one of the least remarked-upon scandals of our time." By next year, all universities will be forced to release information on graduate employment rates for each course. Hopefully, the good courses will expand "and the courses that serve neither students nor society will be exposed".

RELIGION CONDEMNS TONY NICKLINSON TO LIVE
POLLY TOYNBEE ON THE RIGHT TO DIE
The verdict in the Tony Nicklinson right-to-die case was morally abominable but inevitable, says Polly Toynbee in The Guardian. However bad a law may be, "it is not for the courts to make fundamental change but for Parliament". Most people would surely shudder in sympathy "as Tony Nicklinson heard his life sentence". But in a democracy, the court had no choice but to rule against him. This concerns all of us because "many will be forced by law to end our days in pain, indignity, humiliation and despair". For years, opinion polls have shown 80 per cent support for a change in the law, "but every attempt at a right-to-die reform has been sabotaged by the large religious lobby". Yet who would want to live like Tony Nicklinson? Of all the various harms religions can do, "their successful opposition to the right to a peaceful death is one of the most pernicious".

RAPE IS RAPE – ASSANGE MUST GO TO SWEDEN
OWEN JONES ON THE WIKILEAKS FOUNDER
"I'm a supporter of WikiLeaks", says Owen Jones in The Independent, but someone accused of rape must face the allegations like anyone else. "Although now granted political asylum by Ecuador, Assange is a rape suspect who skipped bail." Fears that Assange could be extradited to the US are not unfounded. But that does not mean Assange should be immune from very serious allegations in Sweden. There have been suggestions that his accusers are part of some kind of CIA honeytrap. But what is most disturbing, is the attempt by some Assange supporters to claim that the allegations do not constitute 'real rape' but a less serious offence of having sex with a women without her full consent. "Let's be clear: rape is rape." By avoiding answering the allegations in Sweden, Assange has "tragically compromised" his struggle to hold Western governments to account. · 

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Simple solution to the Assange question. If Sweden and the USA are not colluding to get him extradited to the US then both should give an undertaking saying "Neither Sweden nor the USA will seek to have Assange extradited to the USA as a result of his surrendering his freedom to Sweden to answer the rape allegations. Should he be found innocent, he will be allowed to take up the offer of political asylum from the country of Ecuador." If found guilty, then he will serve his time in Sweden and then the USA will then apply openly and honestly for his extradition.

If the police and government put as much effort into the illegal immigrant problem as the Assange affair Britain wouldn't be the laughing stock of the rest of the world.

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