The emperor and his clothes

Well he doesn’t seem to be wearing any in the US, as any child can see.

In Austria, it’s slightly different, but the garb is becoming a little threadbare. There’s a government now, some say a sold-out one, others say that it’s the best of both not-so-good worlds. We’ll see.

In Vienna, the youth group of the winning party, the socialists, came out in droves to slam it home that Chancellor Gusenbauer had not kept his electoral promises re student fees. The new deal is that the fees stay and that students can do civil support work of a social nature to offset the fees. To my mind, the idea is fine if the work is in an area which a student can use on his cv. (Sorry for the “his”, but I’m talking generic now and not pc, or has generic now become “she”? I’m perhaps a little confused on this issue as I believe in persons and not gender, but back to my point.)

When I studied in Vienna in the late sixties, I had to pay fees as a foreigner – around 300 Schilling per trimester – but these were waived if I got good marks which I did in my second year – the first was open to scrutiny. I was a student at the Dolmetsch Institut (translation and interpretation), and to pay my rent I gave coaching in English to kids and adults and did some cheapo translations. Thing is, I chose work in the area of my studies that I could use later on my first cv, so didn’t feel any bind, just opportunity.

So what if, since the other party won’t budge on the fees and the Chancellor is stuck between his dream of becoming just that and not reneging on promises, student were able to do their “civil duty” to reduce fees by working in areas related to their studies? That would help the country and their cv. Or am I missing the point?

If a solution isn’t found, then Dr Alfred may find that the generation that will be called on in the future to support the country today all think that he has no clothes on.

Don’t mess with the young, don’t betray them, I say. They are the leaders of tomorrow who will decide our old future.

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