Current state of play
These last few weeks have been quite interesting to say the least!
You will remember from my last blog that a number of students & student officers marched on parliament a few days after the government announced an ‘independent’ fees review was underway. Our aim was to get politicians to come clean on their views on tuition fees. We aimed to let them know we’d be basing our votes on their stance. A fairer funding system was requested, not the current system where someone from a poorer background, no matter their academic ability, would be unable to afford a university education.
Many MPs signed the NUS pledge stating they would vote against lifting the cap on fees. A large portion of liberal democrats were on hand to speak to us gathered around. Their stories were the same, they didn’t have to pay fees so it would be unfair to charge us. Labour backbenchers said the same. David Lammy, HE minister was on hand to answer questions and while his back story was the same, when pointedly asked if he would sign the pledge he reverted to the line that his opinion is that of the government, he’d wait on the fees review.
It looks to me like we’re in for a rise in tuition fees, unless you, the students affected, get involved. Let your MPs know you will not stand for tired non-commital lines and turn out to vote. I personally believe that the politicians are not voicing a clear opinion because they firmly believe that students will make no difference, we do not vote and haven’t done so for years, so why should they think we will this time round? The next time your MP knocks on your door requesting your vote ask for their stance on tuition fees. Let them know that this time around you WILL turn out to vote and you will chuck out the current government if they give no assurances on tuition fees.