Tuesday, 2 December 2014

The student vote could be vital

With university occupations mushrooming across the country, as students call for a return to free education, unsurprisingly the duplicitous Tory chancellor continued on his path towards shrinking the state back to levels last seen in the 1940s.  With up to a million more jobs still to be cut in the public sector under his plans, and years of enforced austerity and poverty for most of the workforce, Osborne claimed to be encouraging students into postgraduate study. However, what he was doing actually was the opposite; allowing postgraduates yet more loans of £10,000 to study for a master`s degree would mean many students starting their careers with debts of over £50,000, and is not likely, as the UCU general secretary said, "to attract the brightest and best into further study". Let`s hope students use their votes in May, and that Labour increases its efforts to ensure all students are registered to vote; students have an important role to play in the election.
         Quite rightly, duplicitous Lib Dem MPs, including their leader, are in danger of losing their seats in next year`s election because they reneged on their promise to campaign for an end to tuition fees. Hopefully, students will not forget, either, how the Tory Education Secretary insulted them by stating that the GCSE and A-level examinations, for which they worked so hard in order to gain top grades,were, in his opinion too easy and needed more "rigour". Let`s hope they remember how Gove`s reforms meant for many of them changes in course details, assessment procedures and even in their subject teacher! Driving good teachers out of the profession has been one thing in which this government has excelled, and for which they will surely pay, come next May! Students will recall how these reforms went through parliament with the full backing of all Tory and Lib Dem MPs.
      As for Ukip, students will be aware of their preference for grammar schools, and how they simply result in 75% of all pupils getting an inferior education; they don`t even pretend that everyone should have a chance to show their true abilities. Many of today`s university students will no doubt have been late developers and would not have been able to show their true talents in secondary moderns, and gain the qualifications necessary for university entrance. Anyway, what is likely is that students will be aware of the other even more sinister Ukip policies, and reject them out of hand!

       A party wanting to win the student vote will not only be considering reducing the fees, and therefore the ridiculous amount of debt with which postgraduates are saddled, but also proposing to restore the even "playing field" to which Gove objected so much. That would require the wholesale repeal of all things Goveist. Furthermore, students are part of Generation Rent, and any party, in the run-up to the election, which ignores how people living in private rented property are being exploited by profiteering landlords, does not deserve their support. Tinkering with this problem is not an option; the formation of an Ofsted-type unit to assess the condition of all rented property before then setting an appropriate and affordable rent is, and students would show their appreciation at the ballot box!

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