IAN HART Do we need all these graduates?

JUST whether the tuition fees protests will end up on a par with the poll tax riots or the miners’ strike of the 1980s remains to be seen, but it certainly has highlighted a serious ongoing problem.

When I left school in 1980, between 10 and 15 per cent of school leavers ended up going on to university.

That figure is now approaching 50 per cent.

Don’t get me wrong, I don‘t begrudge anyone going to university, including my own children, but with a degree comes a level of expectation regarding salaries and can our job market and national economy sustain such a level?

And perhaps more importantly, with so many of our youngsters chasing the university dream, how does that affect our next generation of skilled manual workers and trades people?

We seem to have all but forgotten about the importance of apprenticeships, and giving careers to youngsters who are better suited going out into the workplace rather than further education.

You only have to look at some of the most successful business people in the town – Greg Blurton, Peter Mott, Michael Jones, Chris Chapman and Shaffique Uddin, Richard John, Tony Maio, Derek Steel, Jeremy Silverthorne and Ashley Jacobs, none of them have been near a university!

As for the protests last week, I have no problem with people venting their feelings, that’s democracy, but when the line is crossed into rioting, the argument is all but lost.

Maybe with age I am getting more conservative with a small ‘c’, but seeing the police under extreme pressure, I was of the mind that they should have got the Army out to quell the riot, and if that had to involve the use of water cannons, then so be it.

It’s somewhat ironic that one of the protesters disgracefully swinging from the Cenotaph is the child of one of the country’s richest rock stars, so how is a change in tuition fees going to affect him?

As for the idiot who urinated on Churchill’s statue, I don’t share the opinion that he should be imprisoned, but I would like to see him tracked down, clearly named and shamed, and then made to do at least two years’ voluntary work looking after disabled ex-serviceman, which actually might teach him something about respect.

Tony Blair, famously spoke about “education, education, education”, but will what he has created put him at the top of the class when it comes to the writing of this country’s history?

I was overwhelmed with the response to my question about the record shops last week.

Shirley Ransom, Dave Hunt, Charles Pressley, Mark Amey and Vince Taylor were among the large number of people who got in contact with me to say the name of record shop in Liverpool Gardens was Mansfield’s, which also was a full-on music shop.

Sue Mason also took the time and trouble to get in contact to say you could also buy records in the town centre at a shop called Tansley and Cook.

I cannot remember the shop myself and wonder what shop occupies its building today?