Monday, 13 October 2008

A simple thank you

To all the people who have fought for so many years to keep the issue of a universal student allowance on the political agenda. Thanks for your patience and forbearance, even if you (like me) haven't raised it recently. Together we created a continuum of strength that has brought us to today.

To the parties who kept promising a universal student allowance, the Alliance, the Greens, the Progressives, even NZ First. Even though I've never voted for most of you your pledge made me consider it, and no doubt brought in a few votes for you over the years. Shame you'll have your glory stolen now, but I hope you get to bask a bit in the righteousness first.

And, to my friends in Labour, including the ones I have never met or even heard of, who kept putting those remits up, kept arguing with caucus members, and didn't let my moaning about their ridiculous incrementalism make them shelve the issue in a bitter fugue. It seems that sometimes "What do we want? Incremental change! When do we want it? As fiscal conditions allow!" can deliver us something I thought might never be won ;-) Good on you for fighting the good fight that I wouldn't hold my nose to take part in.

But it all means nothing unless the Forces of Good (that would be the centre-left) hold the Treasury Benches come Xmas. I think I'm starting to understand why Labour want a fourth term. I'm starting to think I want them to win it too, and not just because they're better than that other lot.

Is Labour's universal student allowance promise all that feminist? Probably not. But it did make me pretty happy today, not least to think that there will be young women out there who will be able to be independent from their families, from their partner, and have opportunities that otherwise might be shut off from them. And they won't have to suffer a choice-shrinking debt to study. Yay!


Sophia said...

Yay I was excited too. It made me feel pretty good - the simple idea that if you keep lobbying, keep campaigning and keep the issue on the agenda, you can achieve major goals. It gives me warm fuzzies :)

Jordan Carter said...

What I liked about it is that after nine years we have filled in the bricks in the wall that had crumbled away after the years of neoliberal insanity.

Now, just a little, we seem able to lift our sights higher and cast our eyes forward to a more social democratic future.

That's what it's all about.

homepaddock said...

Ten years of deficits ahead of us and even greater subsidies for the offspring of middle and upper income parents is a priority?

Hugh said...

NZ First promised a universal student allowance?

Clearly that policy never attracted the attention of anybody high up in the party hierarchy.

Julie said...

I should clarify that I don't think the student allowance promise is explicitly feminist, i.e. I don't think Labour's done it primarily because they think the current system is unfair on women, although clearly, as Maia has pointed out in her post today, the lack of a universal student allowance has disproportionately increased debt for women.

@hugh, Brian Donnelly always seemed a bit bitter than NZF had promised a universal student allowance for years and never been supported by masses of students. I recall him stating at a forum that they weren't going to promise it again (this was probably after 1996) given how little traction they'd got with it, but I note that they did keep it in their policy.

Azlemed said...

to homepaddock... I arent a child of middle income parents, I didnt recieve a student allowance either, and I have over $30000 of debt to my name, coupled with my husbands debt we at one staged owed over $60000 for a bsc, msc, b.scosc, and a grad diptchln.

I am pleased that my girls will hopefully not have this level of debt from borrowing to live,

and yay all that lobbying inside the party has finally paid off....