Friday, 3 December 2010

One in seven students still love the LibDems

News reaches Next Left of a popular uprising on campuses up and down Britain in favour of beleaguered Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg.

LibDemVoice has sight of a letter from students who want LibDem MPs to vote for the government proposals. (They proudly claim to have read the Browne review, unlike their opponents. They have certainly had sight of key government talking points, though they appear to have overlooked the part where 80% of state funding for university teaching is chopped, so the higher student contributions do not increase funding for universities at all). A Facebook group has almost 700 members at time of blogging.

No plans for a series of national demonstrations has yet been announced, but this must surely be imminent. Cowley Street insiders say they are hoping to see enormous pro-government demonstrations on the issue, of a kind rarely before witnesssed in a democratic country.

Even the decision of party leaders Nick Clegg and Vince Cable to cancel all recent campus visits may also now be under review, enabling them to revisit the halycon days of the election campaign.

"Know that some students stand with you in taking this decision", they write to LibDem MPs.

The letter writers are absolutely correct about that.

Some students do.

YouGov can even put a number on it.

Their Sunday Times poll shows that the government’s policy is supported by 14% of students, with 78% against.

And 14% of students think the LibDems are right to ditch their promise, though 80% disagree.

That support is no doubt helping the LibDems to hold on to 15% of the student vote - though it is trickier to see how the "students for Nick Clegg" campaign can get them back towards the 45% of the student vote they won just six months ago.

PS: The pro-policy 14% and the LibDem 15% are, of course, not the same students. Most still-LibDem-voting students won't back the government, and will be in the large 'anxious' camp among still loyal LibDems. The government's proposals will garner rather more support from within the 26% of students who plan to vote Tory, though the government does not have the backing of a majority of Tory students either. Labour's student support has risen to 42% from 24%).


Anton Howes said...

Hehe, well we did word it carefully...
The point was to show that there are students out there who still listen.

For many LibDem MPs we thought it would be a morale boost and sway their vote to know that they're not universally despised by the student body like the media sometimes makes it seem.

charlesbarry said...

You can be in favour of tuition fee reform and oppose the extraordinary cut to the university teaching grant.

I still for the life of me can't understand why the government has chosen to cut the grant by 80%, four times the departmental average, while protecting scientific research.

Basically it means the government is saying that if you study anything that isn't medicine or a practical science, you can f**k off.

Stuart White said...

Anton Howes: you say the point was to show that there are 'students out there who still listen.' From the context in which this comment appears, I assume you mean that the students who support the HE proposals are, uniquely, the ones who have been listening.

I think you'll find that the vast bulk of the students who oppose the HE reforms have also listened very carefully. They just don't like what they hear.

This 'People would only agree with us if they listened' line is reminsicent of New Labour at its desperate worst. 'Oh, if only we had the demos we deserve...'

Freshly Squeezed Cynic said...

they're not universally despised by the student body like the media sometimes makes it seem.

Only overwhelmingly!