'Nation stunned as top two universities in Europe charge 'money' for degrees.'

'It's the workhouse for us!'
 The entire population of Britain was last night reeling in amazement and disbelief after the surprise news that Oxford and Cambridge Universities would probably charge the maximum amount allowed for student degrees. Poundstretchers and branches of Argos were closed all day today, as staff workers struggled to get in due to a combination of grief and shock.

'I can't believe it,' said Cristal Bludgen, a fourteen year old trainee beauty therapist from Dagenham. 'This is the end for me. As it was, my chances of going to one of the two top ten world universities was slim, what with my forty-hour-a-week exfoliating and cyberbullying commitments. The decisions of the two senate houses has now priced a world class degree in Cyrillic languages completely out of my grasp. It looks like it's the Lottery and Holby City for me now. Oh well, aut viam inveniam aut faciam, I always say.'

Others took it even harder. 'This has come out of nowhere,' said Tarquin Vespa, the owner of two high-end discount leather goods stalls in Roman Road Market, Bethnal Green. 'Like everyone else, I had somehow assumed that Oxbridge would have voluntarily offered degrees as some kind of charity commitment to the economically unfortunate. After all, the coalition specifically threatened them that they would have to provide evidence of a consistent outreach effort. Who knew that they would be so cavalier as to take no notice of so stiff a sanction?'

'Now as far as I'm concerned, you could tell me that black was white and I might believe you. It's a grey day for carefully nurtured prejudices based on intuition and stupidity, and no mistake.'

'I'm home-tutoring my Kyle.'
The Dean of the University of Lewisham High street was unavailable for comment, but it is thought he will announce on Monday a new fee system designed to attract those unavailable to pay the Oxbridge fees. Dubbed the 'Wheel of Learning', the application process will disregard applicant's qualifications and hobbies indicative of social enthusiasm, and instead choose successful students at random after they have called a premium-rate telephone number. 'It's as fair as many and as good as any,' said the porter of Lewisham Lodge, in between his second and third jobs in a kebab shop and an off license. 'And they can just keep phoning and eventually they'll get in. I'd say that was pretty fair. Sorry, the phone's ringing.'

Sir Keith Joseph is 55..