The Real World…

12 10 2009

I was back in Birmingham for the first time in about three months last weekend, catching up with friends and reminding myself of the student life. After a more than filling curry, conversation moved onto politics, as it invariably does.

It was little more than I was expecting. Whilst my mates are unashamedly left wing in political outlook, it was the comment that Cameron, Boris et al do not live in the “real world” which stuck in my mind the most. It seems a strange comment, given the limited “real world” experience of the commentator. I sat there and kept quiet, avoiding a debate I simply could not be bothered with at that point.

It is true that students do have many problems, issues and complexities with which they have to deal. I’m aware of that, with my own experience as a part-time student continuing, and indeed, set to continue for the forseeable future. However it seems odd to me that a student, who has spent all of his adult life in education of some variety or other, should suggest that the folk of the Tory party do not live in the real world. I don’t profess to know quite what the “real world” is other than some notion used to lazily define the everyday man. I do know that a student with such a limited life experience cannot claim to understand what the real world is, let alone use it as the basis for dismissing the Tory party. I accept that he dislikes the Tories, but that suggestion was both odd and ill-considered.

By all means have a view of the world, but do not claim to have views representative of the “real world” as a) the label is misnomic and b) it is very unlikely that you do.

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2 responses

14 10 2009
Phil

Was this aimed at me? If so, I can’t actually remember it. How much “life experience” would you consider necessary to make such a judgement on others?

15 10 2009
Luke_D

No, it wasn’t.
Who do you mean by ‘others’?
Perhaps the above is poorly phrased (I was tired, and not in the best of moods when I wrote it), but the way I see it is that in life you get caught in various ‘bubbles’. There is the ‘student’, ‘single parent’, ‘minimum wage employee’ etc etc. Each have a view of the country. Each can and do profess to life in the ‘real world’, as though it is understood what such a term means. The thing is, it means different things to the different groups, ultimately meaning that such a notion is an illusion, in the same way as, for example, there are class boundaries. No-one can define it, let alone fully explain it. We could try – 9-5 job, low pay, perhaps even no job, rent, bills, tax etc etc. It’s pretty hard to do. What I suspect was meant was ‘the world with which most people can relate’, but I would now argue that that world is not one of the student.
The point is, that whilst ‘students’ can, should, and do have opinions of the world, there can be tendancies to think that what they think is representative of the nation as a whole. It isn’t, and nor can it be from inside the bubble of ‘student’.

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