Tag Archives: scotland

How do you see the United Kingdom?

I wrote something recently on Huffington Post about how British people need to consider that the eyes of the world are on them for the Olympics. Nobody likes wall-to-wall brands, road closures, and all the other inconveniences of the Olympic games, but if the British want to behave so negatively that the world wonders why we ever bothered bidding for the games then it will affect investment into the UK for at least the next 30 years.

I’m not kidding. Wall-to-wall images of the UK week after week all over the world can influence where people go on holiday and where companies invest. If the London Olympics is a roaring success then the money spent on it – even though more than expected – will seem like peanuts as holiday-makers flock to the UK and businesses invest cash.

As an example, national TV here in Brazil was showing interviews with Londoners today who almost all said they hated the games, did not want them in London, and the comment from the Brazilian broadcaster was that the British are very miserable people. Is that how the rest of the world now sees the UK?

So I want to hear from you, so I can do a follow-up to the Olympic article that led to so many people posting negative comments. Send me your opinion on what you immediately think of when someone asks you what you think of the United Kingdom:

  1. As a place to take a vacation.
  2. As a place to do business.
  3. In general, music, culture, art.

You don’t need to write a long essay – I will only quote the best bits in the article anyway, but I appreciate anything you can send – especially if you are not from the UK. And do let me know if you want to remain anonymous, or give me the correct name, title to use when quoting you.

You can send your thoughts to me here: mail AT markhillary.com

London 2012 Gold Medal

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Universities should charge more?

Remember when English universities started charging students to attend? There was an outcry. I personally still remember the days when the government ensured it was free to attend higher education, and not only free to attend, they would give you a grant based on how much cash your parents earned. Now, the Confederation of British Industry is suggesting that universities should be free to charge higher fees and that the aspiration of getting 50% of all kids through university be dropped.

It’s true, the 50% figure is aspirational and is probably not based on any research about how it affects society, but there is a psychological advantage in getting more than half of all kids through higher education. And let’s not fall into the trap of suggesting that this means kids will study useless courses just to meet the stats. Higher Education does not have to mean university alone, it can also include vocational courses that go beyond school learning up to age 18.

I think the CBI is getting this all wrong. England should really be looking to Scotland as an example, not looking to charge kids more fees. The Scottish don’t charge students for their Higher Education. It’s considered advantageous to offer a good education to children from any class or level of financial background.

If we can’t get health and education right then how on earth are we going to fix those areas of government that really do need to be rationalised? Charging students more to go to university is an incredibly short-sighted regressive step.