Comment Writer Tom Young argues that Jeremy Corbyn's housing plans are unrealistic and insubstantial, as well as being destructive for studentsWritten by tomyoung22 on 29th April 2017
Blair Blair: a response to the NUS’ ‘Liar Liar’ campaign
Liberal Democrat member, Sarah Dougherty, criticises the NUS for their short memory on tuition fees.
You probably missed it, but the National Union of Students made the news. Not for an increase in the maintenance grant, something students struggle everyday with, nor to challenge the renting market, which prices students out of acceptable houses, but for something decidedly more backwards looking. Yes, we’re still talking about tuition fees.
“The NUS thinks a campaign to attack the Liberal Democrats for 'their betrayal' is meaningful, and moreover, what students want.
The NUS is focusing on 31 Liberal Democrat seats - a noble goal, if 20 of them weren't Tory facing and if such campaigning wasn't probable, in the unlikely event that the campaign achieves momentum, to return Conservative MPs instead. An example includes Sheffield Hallam, the seat of Nick Clegg, which was staunchly Conservative until 1997 and has been staunchly Liberal Democrat since. Labour have only ever been a distant and forgettable third in Hallam, and wishful thinking won’t change that. The Conservative policy is, of course, to fully implement the Browne review, which proposed an unlimited cap. Which is a lot more than £9,000.
Among those 31 Lib Dems are 3 who weren’t present. Martin Horwood and Chris Huhne were at an international climate change summit, representing Britain’s fight against global warming, and Sir Robert Smith was also absent. 7 more abstained, which is different to a “betrayal”, but these 3 in particular are being condemned by the NUS for not being able to be in two places at once. There are also a couple of token Tories included, but as the Conservatives might actually form a government, and 20 of the seats that are being condemned will return a Tory if not a Liberal Democrat, it’s probably not in the NUS’s interest to make anything more of that.
“116 of the Labour MPs who voted to treble tuition fees were still sitting in the House in 2010 and a significant number of them will be standing again in 2015
Of course, it’s little surprise when one time NUS President and current leader of Scottish Labour, Jim Murphy, suspended his NUS National Executive Committee (NEC) Vice President for supporting the Campaign for Free Education in 1996. Short memories are perhaps understandable, but hypocrisy is not excusable. Tuition Fees aren't only bad when the Liberal Democrats are involved. Even Labour aren’t proposing a return to £3,000 – a tax cut for high earning graduates is on the cards, as they’d reduce fees to £6,000, meaning those with high incomes can pay back their loans while lower income graduates remain tied to them for even longer. Labour’s policy is, impressively, worse than £9000. The NUS supposedly aims for free education, but the leadership seems to have no aspirations in attaining it, because the NEC voted against Conference in recognising its own commitment to it in 2014. Indeed, NUS President Toni Pearce spoke against making education free at the last national conference – making her statement that the Lib Dems “trade lies for power” nothing less than farcical.
“It’s no coincidence that Toni Pearce is herself a member of Labour.