Platform: Education is litmus test for all Lib Dems

An open letter to Scottish Liberal Democrat MPs and Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Tavish Scott:

They say history often repeats itself, yet it is all too easy to forget our past mistakes. Only six years ago, top-up fees down south were voted through by just five votes despite the Labour government holding a 161 majority.

This Thursday's vote to treble tuition fees in England is far from an English-only issue. The daunting price tag of up to 40,000 will be hung over the heads of any Scottish student studying south of the Border.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

I have three requests to make on behalf of Scotland's students.

Firstly, to Scottish Liberal Democrat MPs: you signed a pledge before the general election to "vote against any increase in tuition fees". Your manifesto promised to phase fees out completely. Even your own coalition agreement said you would judge any proposals on tuition fees "against the need to take into account the impact on student debt" under which if you did not agree, you would abstain.

We know that these proposals will have a direct and detrimental impact on Scotland. Scottish Liberal Democrat MPs, based on your promises, the interests of Scotland and any belief you have in the integrity of politics, vote "no" this Thursday.

Secondly, to Tavish Scott MSP: your party in Holyrood has a strong record when it comes to students – opposing fees, scrapping the graduate endowment and supporting calls to increase student support and childcare funds.

Before the vote this Thursday, you must come out publicly and call for Scottish Liberal Democrat MPs to vote against increased fees.

And finally, a request to all parents, school pupils, teachers, workers, families, friends and all those who value education: add your own letter to the 20,000 already sent to Tavish Scott and Scottish Liberal Democrat MPs via Join us at 4:30pm on Thursday at the Scottish Parliament for our candlelight vigil and education rally.

• Liam Burns is president of NUS Scotland.