It is hardly surprising that students are angry when they have been lied to for so long. We all know about Clegg’s recent betrayal, but what about Labour?
In 1997, Tony Blair told a newspaper that he had no plans to introduce tuition fees. As Prime Minister, he brought in fees of £1000. Labour’s 2001 manifesto stated that the party would ‘not introduce top-up fees and have legislated to prevent them’. They then introduced fees of £3000. Attempting to defend this U-turn, Alan Johnson (now Labour’s Shadow Chancellor) said ‘There will be occasions when politicians do have to do something different to what they said they’d do because circumstances change’. Does that sound familiar?
So what about now?
Labour’s current policy of a ‘Graduate Tax’ would still pass an unacceptable burden onto students. The policy assumes that education is only of value to the person being educated. This is a narrow, utilitarian view.
It is also unfair. Why should those people who studied hard to earn a well paid job pay more tax than those who inherit their wealth, or someone who works in an area with a disproportionate rate of pay, such as investment banking?
The Green Party believes that education is valuable to everyone in society – both economically and culturally. We are now the only English party with representation in parliament which opposes tuition fees in principle. We support higher education paid for through general taxation. We hope that voters will remember this during the local elections in May.
And if you needed reminding about Clegg’s betrayal on the cuts agenda – check out the video:[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BQFwxw57NBI&hl=en_US&feature=player_embedded&version=3]