Formally our term here at Wesley finished last Friday with a Founders & Benefactors/Advent Carol Service and a Christmas Dinner followed by Port & Cheese in the NCR, which was all wonderful and very civilised. In actual fact I have found myself with a few meetings to attend this week, since Westcott & Ridley have official Reading Weeks this week before finishing their terms on Friday and I’m not going anywhere. That said it seems appropriate, since I’m using some of my time this week, alongside some in-depth reading and some essay and worship planning, to clear up my study, to do some blogging catch-up. So what follows is some random thoughts which I’ve been thinking about recently but which I haven’t had time to blog about owing to the busy-ness of term:
1. College life – I think that, in general, moving to Cambridge and becoming part of the community here at Wesley has been a great experience, and I’m looking forward to more of it as the next term unfolds. Sure there have been negative points, and life can be challenging, but most of the challenges this term have been ones that would have occurred, in some form or another, wherever we were. I have to say I’ve also enjoyed blogging about it, and am sorry I haven’t had enough time to blog more often – maybe I can get myself into the habit over the break!
2. Politics – Fees are the dominant focus for most people, though there are other major issues about (including the meeting in Cancun, which only seems to be getting press because Chris Huhne is being made to leave it for the Fees vote!). My view is that the argument over fees is not the argument that needs to be had. The argument that needs to be had is over the philosophy of education we have in this country – is education for career advancement or personal and social development? If it is for career advancement then, it seems to me, fees are a legitimate way of paying for it. If, however, we believe education to be more holistic than that, for both the individual and society, then I think it is far more difficult to argue that the individual should pay. Currently the British government, and I include the previous Labour administration in this, is of the opinion that education’s main purpose is economic. I do not feel there is an economic argument to be made against fees so I really want to see the argument re-framed. As for the LibDem MPs facing tough decisions in the coming 24-or-so hours, each make their own decisions – we elect our MPs and trust their judgement that they will use their judgement and conscience to do what is best for all of us. I already know that my MP is going to vote No, which is no surprise given where he’s MP of! I’m also impressed that there seem to be a couple of Tory MPs willing to vote No. That said, I understand why people will vilify any LibDem MP who votes Yes, to which I say “Fine, but just remember that a significant number of Labour MPs who vote No voted Yes when fees were introduced and voted Yes again when they were raised from just over £1,000 to £3,000 – other than losing an election, what’s changed? Is that not hypocrisy too? Is your issue over hypocrisy or over the point of view they’ve taken?
3. Sport – right, so, let’s get onto something far more positive. In fact, two more positive items. Firstly, the Ashes. I would prefer to be cautious and recognise there are still 3 Tests to go, but it is certainly looking good Down Under for the England team. Since coming out to bat in the second innings of the first Test they have been magnificent – to the extent where former captain Michael Vaughan seemed genuinely unable to identify a weakness for them to work on between now and the third Test. They have batted brilliantly, bowled superbly, and fielded magnificently. In two innings they have achieved more than 1,000 runs for less than a full team’s worth of wickets. The last time Australia looked this helpless at home was during the final days of the West Indies’ prime and pomp in the early to mid-Nineties! Personally I think England will win the series comfortably, with the loss of Broad far less likely to affect us than Australia’s loss of Katich. Secondly, the BBC Sports Personality of the Year nominations have been announced and I have to say they seem like a well deserving group, with no obvious winner (by which I mean someone who is so well-known that, whether or not there are more deserving candidates, and there are usually at least a couple, they are guaranteed to win) and each of them would be fully deserving should they win. Of course, as a Mendips kid, my preferred candidate is Winter Olympics gold medallist, Amy Williams, who comes from Bath (and who, additionally, was born in Cambridge!) That said, I genuinely think each of the 10 would be a worthy winner and will be happy whoever wins – not something I have often found myself saying in the past.
Well, I think that’s it for now. I’m looking forward to the vacation, a time when I can do some more in-depth reading on subject matters, and get to grips with some of the questions we’ve been set. It’ll also be good to have a break, once schools finish in a week-and-a-half, where I will be able to stop and spend time with the family rather than continuing to work and wishing I didn’t have to. (Though I will have my 15 minutes of Hebrew a day to keep up with!) At the same time I can happily say “roll on next term”, as I look forward to more exciting steps on my current journey.