Down in Brighton, the Green Party’s leading front-women Natalie Bennett and Caroline Lucas have been trying to please their most loyal supporters from Sussex and Brighton University- their beloved students. Those green signs are beginning to flourish in the city’s streets just like the 3am club leaflet litter.
With widespread statements that students have the momentum to #SwingTheVote, the Green Party’s manifesto is full of pleasing policies and intentions that seem rather… pleasant. When I say the word ‘pleasant’, I emphasise how these are pleasing to the eye, short-term, and ‘nice’ of them to say – but this is not enough.
These pleasant yet loose priorities for the Green Party may gain them the student vote for now but in the unlikely event of them governing our great country, the priorities may begin to rapidly fade just like their popularity. Their promises tick many boxes for us students. A living wage? Check. Controlled rent levels? Check. No tuition fees? Absolutely check. But will these short-term snippets of darling promises give Britain the long-term benefits our economy and people need?
Pledging to cut tuition fees is one hell of a promise. For a party that proposes a greater economy, environment and everything else in between, cutting tuition fees will make or break the Green Party. With many students laying their faith and loyalty with the Greens (with one student claiming to have a Lucas ‘shrine’ in their university room), the promise of no tuition fees weighs a tonne. Actually, a few million tonnes if you equate it to how much money Britain could be sacrificing. Apply the enormous weight of student dependency, trust and work in promoting Green policies, this attractive promise needs more thought, particularly on the implications this will have other aspects of the UK economy.
It may satisfy many young people now, but the end of this tuition fee fiasco is never going to let students live happily ever after. In fact, student life lasts a lifetime. The continuous loan payments will be added to the list of other outgoings including rent and living expenses- implying a domino effect. The Green Party have done well in focusing on the now but what about our future?
Maybe the Green Party’s suggestion of a ‘peaceful political revolution’ may not be as ‘peaceful’ if they do not please their main supportive demographic. Let me remind you – 2011’s student protests. Need I continue?