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Student News

Students proving a match for government: marches, occupations and unrest

The continued pressure put on the British government by university students, school kids and wider supporters is starting to have some serious political ramifications.

Vince Cable of the Lib Dems yesterday said that he 'may' abstain in the vote later this month on a rise in university tuition fees. There's not much chance of him going back on that now. As the universities minister this is a telling sign that the tactics of student demonstrations, marches and illegal occupations across the UK are having the desired effect. The media, politicians and general public are starting to listen to the student voice.

But remember it's not just students and graduates who are against increased tuition fees, many school children, parents, grandparents, teachers and lecturers are also deeply concerned about the future of our higher education system.

Here at Save the Student! we have received many e-mails from the 'older' generation expressing their own disgust at the fee proposals and support for future students. It's becoming more apparant that the fight against savage education cuts and higher fees needs to draw on other areas of the population, and this strategy employed by demonstration organisers seems to be largely successful.

Meanwhile over the border, the Welsh parliament have agreed that they will not increase student tuition fees at their universities. This promise undermines Westminster and therefore could prove a significant issue for London.

Back on the streets, tactics have also changed. In London the demonstration marches have continued this week with numbers of several thousand. In response to recent student protests where the police used kettling tactics to contain protesters, organisers have tried to disperse marches across the city, diverting away from strong police lines.

After the original 'demo 2010' organised by the NUS on the 10th of November, it is encouraging to see that pressure has increased on the British coalition government. Whilst London is the obvious focus, there have been occupations of university buildings as well as frequent student marches across the country.

It is unfortuanate in some ways that it has taken such a damaging move by government to renew a student interest in British politics. This interest will not only have effects on short-term politics, but well into the future as young voters become weary of pledges and promises made by power-hungry politicians.

Sophia M.

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