Debate & discussion: Fees headline - a catch

Submitted by Anon on 5 February, 2004 - 4:33

As a student supporter of Solidarity/Alliance for Workers' Liberty I was a little disappointed with the Solidarity headline, "Top-Up Fees: Resist the Market Principle" (3/43). That seemed to me to be inadequate on a number of levels, and was perhaps chosen for all the wrong reasons.
The headline goes down exactly the same route as the NUS bureaucracy one, which lets those hacks off the hook easily.

Even without top-up fees being introduced tuition fees remain. These are the market principle - resisting that principle cannot be phrased in terms of resistance to the new policy as the old one has already introduced it.

The market principle is already here. We run the risk of fighting merely its extension, not its introduction overall: even if the fight against top-up fees is won the fight against tuition fees can still be buried. We could end up with a situation where winning is still losing - all basis for further struggle has been eliminated from the political culture.

If top-up fees are introduced then, on NUS's current form, the campaign against them will continue sporadically for a few years and then be subsumed into the campaign against whatever new extension of market economics the government decides upon.

Was the wording then chosen as it grabs people and can sell a few more papers? It seems to me it must be. On issues such as George Galloway, or the war on Iraq we, quite rightly, put politics first. We could have buried "No to Saddam" in the middle of the article, not the top of the front page, but we took the right decision and stuck by our politics. Why do we not do the same on tuition fees? Once we start going down the road of catchy headlines and burying the politics in the articles then where does it end?

Michael Wood

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