Brand UK: so last century

September 1, 2011

In November, I and thousands of students from Wales and Scotland travelled to London to march in solidarity with our English neighbours against the reckless actions of the Westminster government, safe in the knowledge that upon returning home our left-of-centre governments would protect Welsh- and Scottish-domiciled students.

In return for the solidarity we have shown with English students, we have received a kick in the teeth, perfectly encapsulated by Ann Mroz's comments ("In a terrible state o' chassis", Leader, 25 August).

Mroz accused the governments of Wales and Scotland of "navel-gazing" because they have the audacity to protect the people of Wales and Scotland from outrageous fee levels.

But if you look around Europe, what do you find? Even private universities in France charge only EUR6,000 (£5,300) a year and public institutions charge EUR169. In Germany, higher education is free in some states and in others it costs no more than EUR500 a semester. In Austria, Denmark, Finland, Greece, Luxembourg, Norway, the Republic of Ireland, Slovenia and Sweden, home and European Union students don't pay tuition fees.

It is the UK government and the Establishment that have a separatist education policy: it is they who are navel-gazing, stuck as they are in the imperialist past.

The people of Wales and Scotland have moved on: we are progressive, outward-looking and should no longer confine ourselves within the insular "Brand UK" - progressives in England should join us.

Luke James, President, Swansea University Students' Union

You've reached your article limit.

Register to continue

Registration is free and only takes a moment. Once registered you can read a total of 3 articles each month, plus:

  • Sign up for the editor's highlights
  • Receive World University Rankings news first
  • Get job alerts, shortlist jobs and save job searches
  • Participate in reader discussions and post comments
Register

Have your say

Log in or register to post comments

Featured Jobs

Most Commented

Monster behind man at desk

Despite all that’s been done to improve doctoral study, horror stories keep coming. Here three students relate PhD nightmares while two academics advise on how to ensure a successful supervision

opinion illustration

Eliminating cheating services, even if it were possible, would do nothing to address students’ and universities’ lack of interest in learning, says Stuart Macdonald

Female professor

New data show proportion of professors who are women has declined at some institutions

Sir Christopher Snowden, former Universities UK president, attacks ratings in wake of Southampton’s bronze award

Reflection of man in cracked mirror

To defend the values of reason from political attack we need to be more discriminating about the claims made in its name, says John Hendry