A protest in Westminster against the abolition of student maintenance grants. Every single person in the image is more intelligent than Nick Boles, but will not benefit from the life chances enjoyed by that entitled upstart. [Image: Jay Shaw-Baker/Demotix/Corbis].

Nick Boles. If the Conservative Party really are “lower than vermin”, as Nye Bevan once said, then he must rank among the lowest of the low.

Last week, he was talking nonsense about the junior doctors’ strike on the BBC’s Question Time; now he has been prattling about his party’s decision to deprive the intelligent poor of a university education by removing the student grant.

He reckons the choice was between limiting access to a university education or offering a system of subsidised student finance. This Writer would expect all right-thinking people to agree that the latter is the way to go.

So why does Boles so clearly support the former, which is the course of action voted through by a tiny Commons committee last week, and supported in the Commons by a margin of only 14 votes yesterday (Tuesday)?

Wait, though – was he actually trying to say the Tories were supporting “subsidised student finance”?

A quick glance at his CV shows the 50-year-old son of former National Trust chief Sir Jack Boles and great nephew of Conservative MP Dennis Boles studied PPE at Magdalen College, Oxford – so he clearly had the opportunity to benefit from student grants himself (it was only after he would have been at university that the Thatcher government introduced loans for the first time).

Another hypocrite, then. He was able to benefit from the grants he is happy to deny to people more deserving than he was.

Not only that, but he very obviously did not benefit from the educational opportunities provided, being an ignorant clown.

Members of the National Union of Students should remember his crack about them being a union of “shroud-wavers”.

That’s something they should take with them to the polling booth, every time they vote, for the rest of their lives.

Speaking in a Commons debate on the government’s decision to scrap student maintenance grants and replace them with loans, Boles said the government had to choose between limiting access to a university education or offering all those able to benefit from it “a system of subsidised student finance”.

Ministers have been accused of attempting to sneak proposals to end student grants in England though parliament without proper scrutiny by using a statutory instrument, which does not require a vote in the House of Commons. The Labour party tabled an annulment motion to try to block the proposal on Tuesday, but it was voted down by 306 to 292.

“A party’s attitude towards student finance is a leading indicator of its fitness to govern,” said Boles. “In opposition, a party will take the irresponsible route in an attempt to curry favour with the national union of shroud wavers, sorry, students.

“In government it will suddenly discover the merits of a sustainable system of student finance that is fair to students and taxpayers alike.

Source: Minister defends abolition of student grants and attacks NUS ‘shroud wavers’ | Politics | The Guardian

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