Up and down on student fees

For some time, Aaron Porter’s “dithering” was the bane of students’ life. Here in the Jeremy Bentham room, University College London, his lateness to come out in support of peaceful occupations wound activists up to the point of hair loss. His tweet explaining a U-turn, now supporting such occupations, was met with near jubilation, though it was not without cautious reservation. Now it turns out this reservation was correct; he has changed his mind back, allowing Judy Friedberg to wonder whether we can expect another makeover next week.

The contentious issue surrounds whether an individual student is legally covered by the NUS, and since direct action by students is the order of the day to see demands met, in an environment where it seems voices are not being heard, the flip flopping by the union is not just annoying, but dangerous. The question remains: should Aaron Porter face a Vote of No Confidence in his presidency over his handling of NUS support for the national student walk-outs?

The highest order of our student representation is back to dithering, but all is not lost today; in addition to the petition against fee rises by 104 failed LibDem candidates for parliamentary seats, Jennifer Willott, MP for Cardiff Central, has resigned from her party over the issue. Her page on They Work For You mentions that her priorities in parliament were local health services, tuition and top-up fees, and council tax. She’s not alone in the party who campaigned on a similar platform, this could be the necessary event that could arouse further resignations and more vocal rebels inside the party.

While government splits take real traction, our student representatives forget whose side they’re on – with further leadership pettifoggerywe take one step forward, and two back.


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