THE BLOG

Student Disunion

21/04/2015 10:45 BST | Updated 20/06/2015 10:59 BST

Recently the National Union of Students (NUS) released their pre-general election campaign for 2015, a tradition that is supposed to mobilise the youth vote and champion student politics on a national stage - however this year's campaign is less remarkable for the promotion of student involvement in the democratic process and more for partisan alienation of those who don't subscribe to a very specific ideology.

The not so subtle smear drive against the Liberal Democrats for what is perceived as a betrayal over the issue of tuition fees in the 2010 coalition agreement is the focal point of their campaign. Seemingly angry at a perceived dent to student finances, the union has spent £40,000 of student money to whinge about it five years later - that costs more than your degree. The NUS is supposed to be an independent body that encompasses, reflects and supports the variant, diverse political views of student bodies up and down the country - and with that in mind, this campaign is disgraceful.

Firstly, let's clear up any discrepancies over the Lib Dems controversial U-turn on tuition fees. I, even as a Liberal Democrat member myself have a major issue with the party's failure to deliver the policy that was one of the focal points of our 2010 manifesto. It's frustrating but concessions had to be made to form a stable government in a time where the economy was anything but. The less publicised version of events is that both the Conservatives and the apparently supreme student guardians Labour both opposed the abolition of tuition fees, so the policy was undeliverable unless the Liberal Democrats won an outright majority. After all, it's probably a little silly to expect a party that was awarded just 57 out of 650 seats to enact their full manifesto as the junior party in a coalition government, but I guess that's a discussion for another time.

Regardless of this shortcoming - which has been persistently apologised for by both the party and Nick Clegg by the way - the Lib Dems are still championing rights for students such as the delivery of the Pupil Premium and commitments to slash public transport costs for students dependent on the service. The point I'm making is a sense of Lib Dem abandonment of the student population is so far wide of the mark.

The big issue of this campaign by the NUS is its blatant subterfuge. The union carries very cosy links with the Labour party. Does anyone else find it convenient that the SEVERAL broken pledges by Labour on tuition fees are ignored in this 'student retribution' campaign? They pledged to not introduce them, and then did so in 1998. By 2001 they were promising not to raise fees but went right ahead in 2003. Ten years later, the party want to reduce the fees to £6000, which will only benefit those students with more disposable income - just when you thought Labour couldn't slink any further to the right. Perhaps, the most staggering fact of all is that students are now paying back less in loans under the Lib Dems than they were under Labour, despite the heightened fees. Surely the NUS' decision to turn a blind eye to all of these clangers by Labour on student politics has nothing to do with the fact that each NUS leader has been a Labour party member for the last thirty years running, and that the Lib Dems are traditionally their biggest competitor for youth support?

Look for yourself, the party's each have their own ideas for student politics - some more than others. The NUS should place the impetus on students to explore their own political opinions and form an identity for themselves. They should not pigeonhole a group of people they're supposed to represent in to a parochial parable that only serves their interests. The so-called National Union of Students has done nothing but disunite the student population by propagating votes for their chosen political ends on the back of a false pretence whilst typecasting 10% of the student population as supporters of poisonous liars.

Thankfully, an anti-campaign aiming to troll these biased perjurers is in place, you can donate money to the Liberal Democrats, if you're that way inclined and not let the NUS manipulate you with senseless propaganda. In fact, I'd go as far as to say that this campaign is a disgusting betrayal of the student population, something they're purportedly against. The only liars here are the NUS, they haven't failed to deliver on a promise, they've tried to exploit student to further the power of their UKIP-lite overlords, they should serve the student population - not manipulate them.