Irvine Welsh says young people better off dealing drugs than studying for ‘meaningless degree’

Trainspotting author Irvine Welsh has suggested that it would make more economic sense for young people to deal drugs than studying for a “meaningless” degree.

• Studying for degree is little more than “prison of debt”.

• Scottish political separation “could provide cultural unity” for UK.

Speaking on an online blog, the writer said that studying for a degree at university now amounted to no more than a “prison of debt” and that if he were in the shoes of young people today, he would invest in cocaine. He also said that an independent Scotland could bring a positive political change and that ‘assumed Englishness’ had undermined the country.

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Writing on, Welsh hit out at the lack of opportunities for young people and the unaffordability of further education.

He said: “I was personally liberated by the welfare state, specifically the Butler Education Act. This meant that my college fees would be paid in full by the state, and I would also receive a full grant, which amounted to 2/3rds of my dad’s wages. Now all that has gone, and I personally would never enter the prison of debt, in order to go to University for a degree that has been rendered pretty meaningless.


“I would choose to invest any resources I had in other directions; like many bright, eager young kids from poorer backgrounds now do, I’d probably buy a rock of cocaine, cut it and sell it. And repeat. It simply makes more economic sense.”

Turning to the question of Scotland’s place in the Union, Welsh added: “From the viewpoint of the Scots, it has foisted 35 years of a destructive neo-liberalism upon us, and prevented us from becoming the European social democracy we are politically inclined to be.

“Therefore I’m advancing another proposition: political separation could promote the cultural unity that the UK state, in its current form, with its notions of ‘assumed Englishness’ is constantly undermining.”

Irvine Welsh’s books are often based on his upbringing in Edinburgh, with heavy focus on drug use and the question of Scottish identity often featuring.