Monday, 27 July 2009

Labour betray their socialist roots, Lib Dems are the answer

Reports over the weekend suggest that the wheels are in motion to increase university tuition fees up to as much as £7,000 a year.

Both Labour and the Tories would push the move through if they were to win next year's general election, meaning that changes could be made as quickly as 2011.

Back in March when murmurings of this atrocity first surfaced, I wrote a story for InJournalism.

I must admit, I had forgotten all about it since. But this latest news saddens me greatly. I know it may be naive of me, but I still have this stupid notion that the Labour party are supposed to be socialists. This probably comes from my father, who was as old Labour as they come and was an undefeated local councillor for them for around a decade.

We already have a two-tier health system, with the rich using private healthcare instead of the flailing NHS. Increasing tuition fees will only serve to make education a two-tier system as well. The Labour government was supposed to preside over a narrowing in the yawning chasm between the social classes, not make decisions that only serve to increase the gap.

However, there is hope for the nation's youth. The Liberal Democrats are vocally opposed to top-up fees. Liberal Democrat Shadow Innovations, University and Skills Secretary, Stephen Williams said, back in March: “Liberal Democrats believe that all students should be able to go to university without having to worry about getting saddled with massive tuition fee debt. That’s why we think university fees should be scrapped, not doubled.”

Unfortunately, the Lib Dems have failed to market themselves as a viable alternative to the two major parties, despite also being fiercely anti-war as well as against tuition fees. Depressingly, as I Tweeted last night, had all the people affected by top-up fees and the illegal war that Tony Blair led us to in Iraq, voted for the Lib Dems, they would have had a chance of being elected. And it's no coincidence that the Democrats came out better than any other party from the recent MPs expenses scandal.

This isn't a cheerleading post for the LDs. I just wanted to express my dismay that young people in Britain can't put down their mobile phones and Xbox controllers for long enough to vote in elections, even when there is a party campaigning mostly on issues that affect them. Hopefully next year it will be different.

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