Link to this page: https://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/850/20405
Gloucester College hustings: Scrap all fees
John Ewers, Gloucester Socialist Party
Sue Powell, TUSC parliamentary candidate for Gloucester, spoke at a Gloucester College hustings on 19 March in front of 50 students.
The hottest issue was tuition fees. Sue spoke first on fees and said "scrap them entirely". The shortfall in education funding could be met by making companies like Starbucks and Google pay their full share of tax.
The local Tory MP and the Lib Dem candidate both said abolition or even a reduction of fees couldn't be "afforded", and student loans could be paid back easily!
The Ukip candidate said they would abolish fees but only for Science, Maths, and Engineering. Labour put forward a reduction to £6,000 a year compared to the current level of £9,000.
Following Sue's contribution, the Green candidate said: "I am growing a 'TUSC' at this stage and I will go with them."
We got the most applause on several issues. People wavered between us and the Green candidate.
Another question, which queried the "suited and booted" inhabitants of the Westminster village, seemed to throw most of the panel. There was an almost embarrassing rush of class disclaimers: 'my mum was a care worker', 'my dad was a lowly man', etc. The Tory, a wealthy former merchant banker, obviously desisted.
Ukip brought gasps of surprise from the audience by claiming Nigel Farage had been employed in an ordinary job - a stockbroker!
Sue said our candidates stood for taking a workers wage only. Three MPs in the 1980s, supporters of Militant (now the Socialist Party) did it. How else can we ensure our politicians aren't distant from our lives?
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