Tag Archives: nus

Nick Clegg’s message to the National Union of Students Conference

All party leaders (apart from Nigel Farage) were invited to submit a short video to NUS for their recent conference. Given the Greens supposed popularity among students, it was, shall we say, surprising that they didn’t put one in.

Nick Clegg’s did not shy away from the issue of tuition fees, but he did point out how much less people would be paying per month than under the old system, giving them more money at the time when they needed it most, when they were starting out on their working lives. He went on to talk about 3 issues which showed what the Liberal Democrats offered young people – on drugs, mental health and help with housing costs.

You can watch all the videos submitted here. Nick is on first. It was a pretty reasonable effort in the face of NUS’s unpleasant £40,000 Liar, Liar advertising campaign. It’s worth pointing out that however badly we handled the tuition fees issue, what we did when confronted with a situation when there was no money left, we spent it on breaking down barriers for disadvantaged people. A generation of kids from poorer backgrounds are already benefitting from the extra a money Nick Clegg sent their way to help them in school and from the extra year in nursery.

Posted in News | Also tagged | 114 Comments

Liberal Youth members fight NUS Liar Liar campaign by donating to Liberal Democrat campaigns to #trollNUS

The National Union of Students has spent £40,000 of its money on billboards urging people to vote against MPs who broke its pledge on tuition fees in 2010. This, it should be noted, was a pledge in which they did not believe themselves. When the Browne Review came out, they were calling for a Graduate Tax. The system implemented by the Coalition is not a million miles away from that.

It should also be noted that NUS is not endorsing those Liberal Democrat MPs who actually kept the pledge, either.

The whole point of a liberal youth organisation is to stand up against unfair, collectivist nonsense wherever it may be found. Liberal Youth’s response to the NUS is very creative. It’s encouraging people to donate to Liberal Democrat candidates to troll NUS. Some of them have been making a special point of donating to Nick Clegg’s campaign to annoy NUS to the max.

This is not to say that they totally endorse what the Liberal Democrats did on tuition fees. They know we made a big mistake, but they see the nakedly partisan NUS campaign for what it is. Where was their campaign against Labour MPs who introduced tuition fees and top-up fees when they said they wouldn’t?

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Liberal Democrat Lucy Care answers questions from NUS students

The National Union of Students is questioning candidates across the country via the medium of Twitter as part of its build up to next year’s General Election.

The idea is that they will take one marginal seat at a time and ask each of its candidates a series of ten questions. The  candidates will then tweet their replies. The first such event took place last Wednesday involving the candidates from Derby North, including our own Lucy Care. Tackling the subject of tuition fees in 140 characters and doing it justice was quite a challenge but Lucy managed it.

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Liberal Youth: It’s time to think about Freshers

As the academic year draws to a close, most young people are thinking about the summer ahead – not us though. At Liberal Youth we’re already planning for the next academic year and we want this year’s Freshers (the inaugural party / join-a-society week at the start of the academic term) to be the one that puts us back on the map.

The Freshers period is incredibly important to our organisation, more so now than ever. We’re not naive, we know the Liberal Democrats’ reputation on campus isn’t the same as it was a few years ago, but we’re working hard …

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Opinion: The truth about the graduate contribution

There is a real danger that many prospective students will be put off from going to university due to the confusion, half-truths and lies, often left unchallenged, relating to the new system of university funding and graduate contributions.

A bright light which breaks through the fog can be found over at MoneySavingExpert.com, where Martin Lewis pares things back to the bare facts. His Student Loans Guide 2012 makes the following key points:

  • Existing students stay on the old system of loans
  • Students don’t pay anything up front
  • Graduates will pay back £540 per year less than they do under the current system – graduates will have more money in their pocket each month
  • Graduates who earn less than £21,000 don’t pay back anything
  • Graduates will owe more and be in debt longer but this debt will not affect credit ratings
  • People shouldn’t think of the new system as a loan but as a graduate tax
  • The rules may be different for students in Scotland and Wales
  • Most people will never pay back all of this debt as the debt is wiped out after 30 years

A graduate tax: the very thing that the NUS has been calling for. It is a crying shame that the NUS has decided to be political over the new changes rather than do the right thing by the people it professes to represent.

I would be extremely disappointed if there is a single person put off going to university due to the spin put on the changes by the NUS. Let’s hope that as many prospective students as possible find their way to MoneySavingExpert.com where they can actually get some honest expert advice on what to expect when they take up their courses in 2012.

Editor’s note: You can also watch a video of Martin Lewis explaining student funding from 2012 on YouTube:

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , and | 19 Comments

Telegraph turns on NUS over fees

Today’s Telegraph reports that the NUS would prefer to remove almost all of the hardship grants than charge higher fees.

The Daily Telegraph has seen emails from Mr Porter and his team in which the NUS leadership urged ministers to cut grants and loans as an alternative to raising tuition fees.

In private talks in October, the NUS tried to persuade ministers at the Department for Business to enact their planned 15 per cent cut in higher education funding without lifting the cap on fees.

I’m not sure this is anything other than an exercise in the dark arts on the day …

Posted in News and Op-eds | Also tagged , , , , , and | 16 Comments

Nick Clegg writes to Aaron Porter on ‘Right to Recall’ and tuition fees

Nick Clegg, has written to Aaron Porter, President of the National Union of Students, in response to the NUS’ ‘Right to Recall’ campaign.

His letter in full:

Dear Aaron,

Thank you for writing to me about your ‘Right to Recall’ campaign.

The idea of a right to recall was something I proposed when I first became leader of the Liberal Democrats and I am proud that it is now part of the Coalition Agreement. However my proposal was for it to apply to MPs who were found guilty of serious wrongdoing by the parliamentary authorities. My intention has always been that it should be

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False claims of betrayal do the NUS no credit

Have the Liberal Democrats betrayed students? The NUS certainly say so, and plenty of people agree.

They’re wrong.

The Liberal Democrats have made a u-turn on tuition fees – they haven’t denied it. As I argued a few days ago, the Lib Dems have no claim to be morally superior to any other party. We didn’t want to go back on commitments and promises but, like Labour and the Conservatives, we have done.

But is that u-turn a betrayal of students?

Or, to put it another way, is the result of that u-turn that students get a worse deal than they’d …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , and | 93 Comments

Opinion: The Four Boxes – why the student occupation should be denounced

There is a rather American saying which runs along the lines of “We have four boxes with which to defend our freedom: the soap box, the ballot box, the jury
box
, and the ammo box. In that order”.

It becomes a good way of putting Wednesday’s violence in context, particularly for those that are trying to argue some similarity between the suffragette movement and student fees. That movement had no choice but to resort to violent occupation because the very thing its members were campaigning for was access to the ballot box.

But rather than the entire NUS executive distancing themselves …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , and | 120 Comments

The Independent View: Clegg must play his cards right on student fees

Well here we are, in the cockpit of history. The Today programme yesterday reported that David Willetts had been yanked back from the Conservative Party conference to negotiate with Vince Cable over student fees, looking for a deal before the Browne Review delivers its report.

What kind of deal is possible? This is a crucial question not just for Liberal Democrats but for the whole country because Nick Clegg holds a powerful hand and the way he plays his cards may shape the future our universities and the role they play in this country for a generation.

The right of abstention …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , , , and | 38 Comments
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