There have been several pieces of good news over the past few weeks in regards to the vote on tuition fees. It emerged today that former Lib Dem leader Charles Kennedy is going to vote against the fee rise. He said he found it ‘impossible to reconcile’ pledging to campaign against fees and then voting to raise them. It seems there are (a few) honest Lib Dems out there.
Even more surprisingly though was a revelation that Tory MP Lee Scott will also be voting against the tripling of university fees. Scott was one of the MPs who signed the NUS pledge to oppose higher fees before the election, but recently seemed to waver about which way he’d vote. It has been confirmed that he will be voting the way he promised.
There’s even more good news. Andy Burnham has come out in support of the Save EMA campaign – a welcome addition to the cause. Labour introduced EMAs when in power and the scheme is now going to be completely scrapped by the coalition, under an mischievous part of the Spending Review which says it will cut the EMA budget by £0.5bn – the entire budget. The Save EMA campaign now has the support of thousands of students, some politicians and quite a few anti-cuts and community group, as well as some prominent Labour MPs.
Students are making gains, but it is important that we fight even stronger than before. With enough rebelling Lib Dems and Tories, and the support of smaller parties (e.g. Plaid Cymru and Green MP Caroline Lucas) the move to increase tuition fees can be defeated.
After we’ve done that we can pressure the Coalition of Millionaires to follow up on their ‘we’re all in this together’ rhetoric and pay for their Oxbridge educations like we all have to…