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On Voting

April 19, 2010

Recently, I received an email from the NUS in which I was asked to pledge to vote only for candidates who would not increase students’ tuition fees. It’s old news now, really.

But while I personally hate tuition fees and all that they stand for, this email made me uncomfortable. Why? Because, frankly, we don’t matter. Students don’t matter. Tuition fees? They were a shit idea, and they’ve been carried out in a shit way, by shit people with shit morals, in a way that means my generation will be mired in debt for the next eleventy-billion years, but using my vote in that way won’t help with all of this.

For one thing, it’s not really the size of the tuition fee that is the problem. It’s the fact of its existance. Voting – for example – for an individual Labour candidate who says that they’ll vote against tuition fee rises isn’t much good to me when their party’s policy is that tuition fees are A Good Thing. Voting for a party who would remove tuition fees entirely would be a better bet, but the NUS haven’t asked that of me. Perhaps this is because the Lib Dems are the only one of the three main parties who would do that, and presumably it would be read as the NUS endorsing one political party. Even then, I’m not sure why this would be a problem. But I digress.

Because there are bigger issues at stake here. That the Conservatives say nothing about tuition fees is largely irrelevant, in light of the fact that they don’t like the gays, the women and anybody who isn’t white. Oh, and anybody who isn’t married. For whatever reason. Incidentally, and on that note, I found a link via The F-Word to Don’t Judge My Family, a campaign against the Conservative Party’s proposed tax break for married couples.

So: the vote. I’m glad I have it, and when I use it, it will be a vote that reflects more than just my current identity as a student. So there, NUS!


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