We interviewed the people behind Warwick’s free education movement
They think George Osborne is (possibly) an alien
Who are these people shoving leaflets at you as you try to fight your way through the wall of people between you and your next lecture? Although some people argue free education would be a complete disaster, we decided to get to know the faces of the Warwick for free education movement and see their side of the battle.
Let’s play devil’s advocate. Is there any point in you guys existing? You know free education doesn’t actually exist, right? It’s just someone else picking up the bill
That’s a really tactical way of phrasing it to make it seem unfeasible. It’s not just free as in it [the money] comes from nowhere. What we’re talking about is taxing corporations.
I always remember Jeremy Corbyn’s example: if we increased corporation tax by 0.5 per cent, it would still give us the lowest corporation tax in the whole of the G7. That would be able to fund tuition fees and grants for all UK students.
Are you just going through a left-wing uni phase? Or are you lefties for lyf?
Growing old and Tory? Absolutely not.
Are fees really a deterrent to people from disadvantaged backgrounds, though? Some people say the number of working class students has increased since the introduction of fees.
The fees aren’t a deterrent to students from disadvantaged backgrounds. It has restricted access for students in other ways. Part of the reason the fees haven’t been a deterrent is because of the insecure job market and austerity. There is much more pressure for people to have a university qualification just to find a job. Even if more working class people go to university, if university is structured to keep them in their place then it doesn’t actually benefit them throughout their lives.
Who is your favourite Tory MP and why?
George Osborne seems the most inhuman. It’s not even that he seems an evil human, he seems like he’s not even a human. There was that interview after the tax credits bill. I thought he looked like he was high on cocaine or something.
As far as I’m concerned, if you’re opting to be a Tory MP, you’re complicit in the killing of disabled people, working class people, old people. Not literally, but through benefit cuts.
What is with these little pieces of felt you guys wear?
There’s a long and very inspiring story about the red square. It was popularised in the Quebec student strike in 2012. It goes from Quebec to Britain to Turkey. There’s a website with its history.
I had a request to ask you this: are you a Blair in the streets but a Corbyn in the sheets?
Hahahaha. What does that mean…uh…what?
Maybe like how we are flashy and empty in the streets but in some way have more moral value…in… the sheets?
I think we’d all like to distance ourselves from Blair. He’s a murdering war criminal. We’re certainly nothing like him on the streets.
Do you reckon you’ve got enough support for a total campus shut down? Like road blockades etc?
Not right now. Maybe by the end of the Tories rule I would be interested to see the mood of the student movement. If education cuts keep coming as fast as they are at the moment, maybe. One day. We can dream.
Do you ever think you will actually achieve free education? Do you ever feel like giving up?
You sometimes do feel like that, just in general with left wing activism, especially when there is a Tory government in power. But you just have to look around and see countries in the world where it exists and it is completely viable.
Free education is now much more in the running now we have a leader of the opposition [Jeremy Corbyn] who openly supports it.