I’ve always had mixed views on Tuition Fees. I’m of the impression that it’s more important to help students with their money while AT uni, rather than with their later debt – Hell, look at me! Uni was very difficult for me for financial reasons – and it wasn’t fees that were the problem! (Thought it will be fees that stop me from going back and starting again.)
That said, I do feel that the principle of free education is important and that fees are still a barrier to education, even if they aren’t the biggest one. More importantly, however, I feel that breaking promises isn’t something to be taken lightly. Today we’re looking at a fees raising to £9,000 per year. £9,000! ALL Lib Dem MPs signed a pledge that they would not vote for a raise in fees – it’s quite sad that just a few short months later we have to remind them of that. It’s not just the pledge though. It’s not just the broken promise.
I know of a few students who got involved solely based on the tuition fee policy. Some of these students have gone on to chair LY branches and some have lead campaigns and run as candidates themselves, all because of tuition fees! Some feel so strongly about it that they would leave the party if that policy were to be reversed. The work of student activists can not be underestimated by the party. The hours and hours of trudging through the rain with heavy bags of focuses. The aching muscles and sore feet after the 50th tenement flat that morning or even just the first high rise of the afternoon. Stuffing envelopes, fighting with RISOs, staying up all night to study to leave days free for campaigning… None of this is unfamiliar to a student activist. All for the party. Who now pull the rug out and say ‘thanks for the help guys! We’re having to change our minds about a couple of things though…’
Some MPs wouldn’t be in their seats if it weren’t for the students: the students who got involved because of tuition fees.
Have they forgotten that?
Oh, and let’s not underestimate the student vote either! Students are notorious for staying in on voting day, but many do get the postal ballot or head on down to the local primary school come election day and countless students will have put a big X next to the name of an MP who had promised them free tuition fees last May. Again, ‘thanks guys! Great to be in power, but oh, about those fees….’
And if you think it’s just the students that are annoyed at this, think again! In politics, every day you are faced with ‘they’re all the same’ and ‘politicians are liars’ etc etc – I always felt that I was involved in something different. I’m not longer sure, and nor are the electorate who may previously have seen a fresh, honest and trustworthy bunch in the Lib Dems.
There won’t be a way to recover from this.
Liberal Youth are still hugely opposed to fees. That hasn’t changed!
Add your voice to ours and make it stronger.
We are calling upon all Liberal Democrat Members of Parliament to represent students and abide by their commitment to the Liberal Democrat policy of removing tuition fees.
Please sign the petition: bit.ly/dxuzRG