Students: 'Stop hiding, politicians'; Facebook as weapon

With social media as the Generation Y's biggest weapon, it is being used to target politicians to come clean on university tuition fees before the election,
Written by Zack Whittaker, Contributor

Students are demanding that politicians from all parties "come clean on tuition fees" in the run up to the general election on May 6th. With social media rocketing in this part of the decade, since the last election, it is pretty much all students have to share their feeling about this potential lack of access to study.

So far, all major parties and most parliamentary candidates have stated their position on raising the cap on tuition fees, which currently stands at around £3,300, but could raise to double or even more than that per year. However with the general election being less than exactly two weeks away, politicians are holding back on announcing these decisions until after the election - a major issue for students who want the opportunity to have their say in democratic means and electing those who won't force them out of their degree programme.


The full, in-depth analysis of the student vs. politicians issue of tuition fees - a most excellent read - is on the BBC News website.

This is the first general election in the UK which has fully harnessed the power and functionality of instant communications, Facebook, social networking and media; just as the recent presidential election in the US which some argue may have resulted in Barack Obama getting in office.

So much social media has already erupted, with YouTube manifestos being published online, Twitter pages being set up, Facebook used to spread the message, and all in the name of getting through to the younger Generation Y. One prospective candidate was removed by their party for tweeting offensive comments, which ironically got far more airtime for Twitter than at any other point so far this year.

A similar trend is being seen with younger eligible voters, that Facebook and Twitter will have an absolutely unprecedented impact in the outcome - which at this point in time looks likely to be a hung parliament.

With all UK student voters - including mature, international, and part-time students - this is about 15% of all eligible voters in this upcoming general election, which may not seem like much, but it all counts in the local constituency.

Such cities including my own, Canterbury, but also Manchester, Liverpool, Edinburgh and Newcastle, have strong, lively yet crucial student voters which could turn the tables on the politicians. The National Union of Students has the Vote for Students campaign, asking students to vote for those who will plan to keep tuition fees as they are or scrap them altogether.

At the moment student voters have two options. The current opposition, the Conservative Party, are reluctant to share their views on tuition fee rises. Then again, as they don't take into account those of a lesser class to themselves, such as working class background families (as I am from) then students simply won't vote for them.

Or, they could publicly continue the social media and online action phenomenons by live slapping the respective party leaders as and when they annoy the electorate.

Are tuition fees too high? Should they go up, or stay as they are, or be scrapped altogether? How bigger impact will social media have on the election? Comment away.

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