Saturday, 21 November 2009

Tuition fees debate

Just got around to blogging about the tuition fees debate at Reading University. I was on the panel with the other East Reading Parliamentary candidates. We each had five minutes to talk on this subject. I put forward the Green Party argument for good quality, well funded public services, and argued that tuition fees should be scrapped as they are a barrier to higher education.

To summarise the rest of the debate Gareth Epps from the Liberal Democrats also argued against fees but acknowledged he was campaigning against his leader. Annelise Dodds from Labour agreed that the fees should not be increased -- unfortunately this is not the Labour position which is to wait for the conclusion of a review conveniently timed after the general election. Rob Wilson from the Tories managed to fill his five minutes without saying much other than he too would also be waiting for the conclusion of the review.

Everyone apart from Rob Wilson agreed to sign the pledge against any increase in fees and in favour of a fairer alternative.

There was one surreal point towards the end of the debate when Rob Wilson went off on a tangent complaining about constituents asking him to sign Early Day Motions and generally contacting him. I got a good laugh when I pointed out to Rob Wilson that that is democracy. One of the NUS campaigners informed me later in the evening that I scored double marks for this comment because apparently "that's democracy" is one of their often used catchphrases around the office at work.

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