Sunday, December 12, 2010

Cliches of 2010 #5

"Students should engage in the democratic vote instead of protesting".

But that's what they did!

The majority of students voted LibDem at the last general election. According to a YouGov poll published in May (see here), a stunning 45 per cent of the student vote went to the Liberals, making Nick Clegg and Vince Cable's party the firm favourite in campuses up and down the country.

And that's why students and perspective students are fuming. They think all democratic doors have been slammed in their faces. When Tony Blair u-turned on tuition fees in 2003-04, students turned out in droves to support the only mainstream party that still actively campaigned to scrap university fees.

Now that the LibDems too humiliated millions who cast their vote in good faith, it's hardly surprising that many no longer see any point in the democratic process. Cue the repeated protests. Cue the anger.

And they get even angrier when they hear patronising sermons that Thursday's vote in the Commons is true democracy in action. That's the will of the majority and "put up or shut up".

However, what is democratic in passing bills thanks to the same MPs who - only months before - asked for a mandate to do the exact opposite once in office, I'll leave it to you to work out. I can't get my head round it.

#4 "Society benefits from extreme wealth at the top".
#3 "There are jobs out there if you really want one".
#2 "The Royal Family brings in tourism revenue".
#1 "Iain Duncan Smith is a kind and honourable man".

1 comment:

cim said...

Given the ages of some on the protests, "Ah, so you support reducing the voting age to 13." is another response. Any one for whom the 2015 election will be the first they're eligible to vote in can't express their feelings that way.

I'm not sure students really did turn out that much, though. Student turnout in the 2005 general election was generally really low. I can't think of many seats in which the massive swing YouGov are finding in the student vote will let Labour take the seat from the Lib Dems (though it will secure a bunch of existing Labour seats) Cambridge, perhaps, but Huppert voted against the government.