Wednesday, 24 November 2010
Some of the most vocal supporters for Nick Clegg during the Lib-Dem election campaign were students. Many lib-dem constituencies have universities, and this was reflectd by Clegg visiting many uni's and having lots of snaps taken of him standing alongside students and holding his famous pledge to oppose any tuition fee rise.
We know now that Clegg was doing nothing more than electioneering. It's shameful that he was so good as to actually fool so many people. I mean, there's a big difference between Blair making promises in 1997 and not fulfilling all of them, and Clegg's down right lying.
Honestly, we've come to expect misery from the tories, but from a party that champions it's progressive attitude and policies, the self-proclaimed saviours of Britain and British politics... it's kind of sad to see how they really weren't any different. Had it been the case that I was in a liberal-tory marginal, I would have voted Lib-dem, which is what Lord Adonis advocated late in the election campaign, and that means it hurts for me too.
The only good thing to arise from this is that students seem to be finding their voice again. Since the shameful lack of action on the trade union front, students appear to be 'leading the fight' as the guardian puts it.
This is all well and good, if overstated, but students alone isn't enough. Student action needs to increase, and increase by a lot, alongside trade union activity and the population in general.
If we don't act now, then they'll get away with this mutilation of Labour efforts, and I'm not just talking the last 13 years, I'm talking universal benefits, social care, work and pensions. The whole shebang. They're leaving no prisoners.
They're not operating inside of a mandate. The tories didn't achieve a majority. In 1997, Labour's victory was a clear mandate, and the 2001 election was a mandate to 'keep up the good work'. The reduction in seats in 2005 can be largely attributed to the Iraq war and the handling of the whole thing. The point is that neither Cameron nor Clegg came even close to achieving that kind of mandate, so they're acting on ideology (well, the tories are... God knows what drives the 'Liberal' Democrats... either a misguided sense of 'What's best' or more likely power starved) and that's just wrong. The tories are nothing more than the largest minority.
So you're not a student? Why does that mean you can't protest? If we all looked at things from a selfish perspective society would get nowhere, we'd still have the death penalty, corporal punishment in schools, no NHS...the list goes on. the tuition fee battle has taken on the persona of the entire fight against cuts, we need to recognise this. If they win here, they could very well steam roll their way through opposition to other cuts and hikes. If you oppose any aspect of the ConDem coalition government and it's policies, then you need to back the students. I'll barely be affected by the tuition rise, but that doesn't mean I think everyone after me should have to be paying off their fees till they're fifty.
Back the students.