Fees will be an issue

April 1, 2005

Paul Whiteley's opinion that "Education is not an election issue" (Soapbox, March 25) is contradicted by your report of the survey of student voting intentions in the same issue ("Lib Dems top on campus").

As Professor Whiteley says, education issues do not figure highly on national voter intentions. But the issue of increased fees registers highly among students. Since students are more likely to vote than the average adult, and since many are registered in marginal constituencies, it is to be hoped that their preference for the only Parliamentary party opposed to fees, the Liberal Democrats, will put a dent in Labour's majority. They may even make the re-elected government think again about raising fees still higher.

Professor Whiteley is perhaps blinded to this possibility by his enthusiasm for a free market in fees in which, according to some estimates, half of English institutions would close or merge over the next decade.

Patrick Ainley
Greenwich University

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