A couple of things caught my eye on the news this morning. The first was the suggestion that university tuition fees will have to rise and the second was something about Britain's status as one of the world's leading science and research nations is in decline.
They both caught my eye individually, but the curious thing is that they are, in my opinion, related.
First of all, you would think that with more and more youngsters entering university these days that our science and research traditions would be boosted, wouldn't you? But they are not - and the reason is that, although more and more children go on to university, fewer and fewer are studying degrees of serious academic worth.
The second thing that bothers me - and is something which I've been ranting about for a long time - is the fact that I can not stand the way my generation are depriving future generations of the things we had access to and enjoyed - and one of those was the student grant system. The majority of MPs in parliament who went through university probably did so at a time when students got grants to study - instead of student loans which leave them up to their necks in debt before they even start their careers.
I just don't think it's right that the people who took advantage of a benefit should be the ones who deprive the next generation of that benefit to just suit their own political and personal ambitions.
The truth is that we need to get people into university and get them studying worthwhile degrees that will bring long term benefits to this country - medicine, physics, chemistry, engineering and so on. I think the government should identify a few core degrees such as these, plus a few of the "classics" and offer student grants (not loans and free from tuition fees) for anyone studying these degrees at an approved university.
This will do two things. It will encourage more of the most able people to study degrees that will benefit the nation in the longer term, but have fallen out of favour - and this, in turn, will boost our science and research fields.
If other children want to go and study media studies, pop music or social science then they can have the student loans and pay tuition fees.
I also believe that the whole point of university is to educate the brightest and the best - and the sad fact is that, in any society, the brightest and the best is unlikely to be much more than 30% of the population - so that should be the benchmark target for children going on to university.
Of course I want to see the other 70% of children getting further education when they leave school - but I think that is best served through a combination of technical colleges, incentivized employer sponsorships and day release - not state financed mickey mouse degrees.