In a recent blog from our friends at BUCF the issue of top up fees was introduced.
“Take students for example, you have brought in top up fees and now left the average student crippling under the weight of £20’000 odd worth of debt and the worst graduate prospects since the World War Two…. Why would an average student consider voting Labour based on what your government has done??”
Young Labour, and Labour Students, will always be the fiercest critics of the regressive nature of higher education funding. While it is clear that free education is not on the table under a Labour or Tory government, the top up fee system is a perpetuant of societal inequality.
It is Labour Party members in NUS driving forward the campaign for a fairer funding system. It is a Labour MP (Paul Farrelly) who tabled this Early Day Motion.
The EDM calls for a full review of higher education funding that
“should encompass full consideration of both student support and tuition fees, should aim to ensure that students are supported according to their needs while they study, and that their contribution to the costs of higher education should reflect its true benefits after graduation; considers that the review must recognise that unmanageable levels of debt are bad for both the borrower and the lender, act as a barrier to wider participation in higher education and should be avoided wherever possible; and further believes that it must examine the proper balance of contributions between the state, individuals and employers to ensure that the future funding of higher education is fair for all.”
And it is Labour MPs who are rallying behind this EDM, fighting for a fairer deal for students.
The EDM has 76 signatories
If your MPs aren’t willing to work with the student movement to demand fairer higher education funding then don’t try and tell us that the average student has any reason to vote Conservative.
Hollie Jones, BULS member
Yesterday something momentous happened in the NUS: the Governance reform so badly needed for so long was finally ratified. Not all delegates were enthusiastic about this though, and chose to express their dissatisfaction on this constitutional issue by staging a protest about, erm, Gaza.
This exclusive footage was shot by dismayed delegates to this year’s second NUS extraordinary conference as they watched in exasperation as thirty Trots occupied the stage to disrupt proceedings for over an hour. If you want to know why the hard left gets a bad name, check out them disrupting democratic proceedings, which Unions had paid huge amounts and put in much effort to get to, below, as the chair battles on heroically with the conference.
Protest was followed by counter-protest and a rallying call from President Wes Streeting for us to keep going. After an agreed five minute statement on Gaza the protesters vowed to stay there until the NUS took a position on the issue, and for all we know could still be there in Wolverhampton. By being on stage shouting they surrendered their opportunity to vote against the ting they had turned up for in the first place, and the vote went through by a huge margin. There is a time and a place for protest, and disrupting proceedings on a vote that was completely irrelevant to this issue and demanding the NUS take an official stance on a hugely divisive issue when quite frankly they had their own fish to fry was not it. Full credit to the NEC and chair for handling it all so well, and let us all rejoice in the fact that the NUS has a brighter and hugely promising future ahead of it thanks to their hard work.
NUS’ Extraordinary conference in Wolves today has been stormed by a Pro-Palestine Rally. After the 30 minutes the participants left the stage in return for a 5 minute speech.
MORE TO COME.
As Tom Guise mentioned earlier this week, I am indeed fresh back from my first proper NUS conference. It was quite a spectacle.
It was interesting to see where the big debates fell. While the issues of governance and education attracted long, passionate debate, with the same people arguing against the same people again and again, issues of welfare and “strong and active unions” attracted no such controversey. The politics was agressive- the same tired rhetoric was trotted (heh) out again and again by both sides, and the bitching about the “right wing new labourites” who apparently run the NUS (how ironic) was constant. Factions were evident by the rainbow of t-shirts being worn for various candidates/sides of the governance debate, but not being in recipt of any of the thick field of text messages flying around the room I was ignorant to what was really going on beneath the surface.
I was thoroughly dissappointed, although not surprised by the pathetic and undemocratic efforts to filibuster controversial motions off the agenda (by various factions); I was bored of the constant bitchiness between groups and the long, laborious processes of getting things done; and I was amused by the wonderful irony of seeing a room full of Labour Students upset at the failure of the much needed governance review, having visciously shot down such reforms in their own group only a year previously. My frustration at the failure of the governance review grew as the conference went on and I was treated to more and more glowing examples of the ineffectiveness of the organisation.
Overall, I left feeling I had changed little. Yes, some excellent people were elected- Wes Streeting, Ed Marsh, Susan Nash and Hollie Williams in particular. Yes, we got a lovely set of policy outlining of the kind of things we ought to be fighting for. But with the failure of reform, nothing particuarly momentus happened. What I took away from Blackpool is the knowledge that the NUS has been left in a safe set of hands, with a clear vision of what it ought to work towards…
That, and a hangover.