As a big supporter of access to education, each year I do an unpaid radio morning in conjunction with the government to explain how student finance works, as there are so many myths and misunderstandings (the parents’ guide to student finance we do each year is part of this).
By bad fate this year’s was scheduled in for tomorrow. Yet last night we heard about the fact the government was going to break the link between student loans and inflation (see student loans: government fails to honour promise); something I think is a dangerous principle and have press released on.
Should I do the day?
This put me in a bind. I think what the government has done is wrong, yet I still passionately believe we need to promote higher education as a viable financial option. Plus it gives me an opportunity to run through my ‘debt isn’t bad, bad debt is bad’ spiel which explains what good and what bad borrowing is: crucial to those just entering the financial world.
However, to do it tomorrow when the student loan issue is so fresh, would mean I’d have no choice but to slag the government off. Doing this when it’s paid for a radio studio (it hires the studio and then you do about 40 local radio interviews) doesn’t seem fair to me.
So I called its communication agency to give them the choice, saying unfortunately either it needed pulling or they needed to be aware what I was going to say. I have an agreement with them anyway that I’m free to say what I want, yet that usually coincides with the message it wants to get out.
In the end we agreed the best route was to pull the day. Of course I’m still going to rant about the student loan issue, but it’s slightly unfair to do it on the government’s own time. I hope we’ll be able to rekindle the day once the student loan funding issue comes down, then while I’ll still mention it, it needn’t be the entire focus.