Sunday, 21 November 2010

Apple Macs for all!

I should probably blog about something other than EMA but the Save EMA website is just too good not to comment on. So in my last post I explained how one young woman 'needed' EMA to buy a car.  Here are some more EMA uses.
Charlie: I Think that without ema i will never be able to afford to go to college and pay for the equipment i need as most of my work is done on apple macs as i am a media student all my ema will go towards paying off my fee for my apple mac and other equipment.
Dan: Without my ema, i will not be able to afford a car, which i need for my work (i have no choice but to be self employed).
George Skae: without EMA, my education will suffer and most of my time will be taken up by working for money so that I can have enough money to go on educational trips such as Auschwitz with Religious Studies.
I should say here that I don't necessarily blame these kids for taking what they can get.  As I have said on a previous post, I didn't take up EMA when it was available and I probably should have done.  It would have meant that I could have learnt to drive years before I eventually did, and maybe got a new computer too.  If the government are chucking money at you of course you are going to spend it.

What aggravates me is that these kids honestly believe that they deserve this money. They honestly think that driving lessons, trips abroad and Apple Macs are things that the government should be subsidising.  They honestly think that without these things they are deprived.  They honestly think that without these things their future is being wrecked. We're in an unparalleled financial crisis, and 17-year-olds think that a personal Apple Mac for every media studies student is a national priority.

And these are the sorts of things they think are absolutely necessary for sixth form study. These aren't in that sense abuses of the system - I didn't go undercover and track down how they spent EMA, I didn't even ask them to list non-essential things they spent EMA on. They are citing these things as positive and essential uses of EMA. I'd love to know the sorts of things they think are not necessary, or even, perhaps, actively detract from studying. Another student gives us an idea:

Sam Young: i feel like i am loosing out when i look at my peers who have EMA and they are able to go out each weekend, or go shopping. 

So some of the kids do realise that quite a bit of EMA is being wasted. But unfortunately, the conclusion this young man draws from this is not that we could therefore legitimately cut a lot of EMA, but that it should be expanded so that he can be eligible for it too! Incredible! We're wasting money - let's not cut waste, let's give everyone the same entitlement to be able to waste money.

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