Sunday, 23 November 2014
Tuition Fees: A Tale of Two Pledges
Mr Clegg could have insisted on the keeping of his pledge as part of the coalition negotiations and deal. He didn't and it was dropped at the first hurdle. His much parodied apology was for making the pledge in the first place and not for dropping it. The simple truth is that the Lib Dems were only ever half-heartedly against tuition fee rises in the first place and only then in order to gain the student vote. The Conservatives and Labour will simply increase the fees whenever they feel like it, that much is clear.
However the Green Party can be relied on to oppose tuition fees regardless of circumstances. On a personal level I will never break the above pledge. This is because tuition fees add to long term inequality. A student who goes to a fee-paying school is likely to have his/her fees paid upfront by their parents, given that they are lower per year than the school fees in many private sector schools. They will emerge from university with no debt. Yet a state school student whose parents cannot afford to pay the fees up front will emerge with £27.000 fee debt as well as living cost student loans debt on top. Later in life when the latter student is hit with loan repayments with added interest (in other words a massive stealth tax), the former student pays nothing.
Therefore I will never vote for for the keeping of or the extension of the fee system.