NUS takes a neutral stand

January 31, 1997

THERE WILL be no 1997 equivalent of the National Union of Students controversial Target 70 campaign, focused on marginal seats at 1992's general election.

Accused then of partisanship by the Conservatives, NUS has concentrated on getting students registered for this election and believes that its partnership with the Rock the Vote campaign has been highly effective.

Executive member Ryan Norton said: "We reckon an extra 250,000 have been registered."

The NUS is careful to be non-partisan: "The message is that we are not worried who students vote for, as long as they use their vote."

But this year's tactics may also make a greater impact on party fortunes. Before the 1992 poll Chris Husbands of the London School of Economics said the targeted campaigns were unlikely to have much effect because of low student turnout.

The NUS is also briefing individual student unions on the state of play in their constituencies and advising them to question candidates on their views. The NUS public affairs unit is working on a list of questions that will take in issues such as student funding and maintenance, the quality of education and social issues such as abortion and the homosexual age of consent.

"You do get some interesting findings, such as a number of Tories who are opposed to tuition fees," said Mr Norton.

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