NUS’ ‘Liar Liar’ campaign comes under fire for being politically biased

The campaign has been criticised for being politically biased in favour of the Labour Party and not being a good use of the NUS’ money

The NUS’ recently launched ‘Liar Liar’ campaign, estimated to have cost £40,00, has been criticised for being politically biased and a waste of money.

Image: NUS

Image: NUS

The campaign draws attention to the Liberal Democrat MPs who pledged not to increase tuition fees but then voted to triple them once in office.

A Facebook event has since been set up in response to the campaign urging people to troll the NUS by donating to the Liberal Democrats.

The creators of the event accuse the NUS of “being dominated by Labour students” and “aggressively pushing an agenda that hasn’t been endorsed by the many it is meant to represent”.

The event description states: “It’s conspicuously odd that no such campaign was reserved for Labour when they broke their promises on fees not once, but twice.”

Over 200 people are currently listed as ‘attending’ the event.

Rachel Edwards, Events Officer for the University of York Liberal Democrats, said: “This is just another case of
the NUS acting as a campaigning wing of the Labour Party, wasting £40,000 on a campaign which will do nothing to help students. The NUS recently voted not to have a trans* officer due to cost, but this campaign could pay for one twice.

“Until the NUS gives all students the chance to vote on its leadership and policy, it’ll remain unrepresentative, undemocratic and irrelevant to ordinary students.”

Naomi Barrow, a second-year student at the University of York, added: “I completely disagree with this campaign. Spending £40,000 on what is effectively a smear campaign targeted largely at one party is not something that represents students as a whole.

“They should be using the money to encourage students to vote and sharing the manifestos of all parties to help students have an informed vote, particularly as 18-24 year olds historically have a much lower turnout then other age groups.”

However, Stephen Harper, NUS Delegate, said: “I think it’s a good idea.

“Poor student voting turnout inevitably leads to our needs being overlooked so mobilising the student vote over such a hot issue should hopefully lead to positive change. It’s high time the NUS means more to students than a discount card.”

The NUS were contacted for a statement but has not yet responded.

2 comments

  1. Quite right. This campaign is an absolute disgrace. I do not feel that this is fair, appropriate and promoting students as a reasonable voice in politics. Whilst I will not be voting for the Liberal Democrats, as I believe in more conservative values, I give Nick Clegg credit for clearly apologising many, many times for this. This aggressive, vindictive campaign is completely unacceptable. As a coalition was created in 2010, each party had to make compromises. The NUS need to take a reasoned perspective and I do not believe that they have done this. As a matter of fact, the £9000 fees have been a success as there is a fair system to repay the debt, a wider variety of students coming to uni than ever before and I have certainly noticed the increased funding in facilities, so they have many positives.

    I believe that the NUS, led by Toni Pearce is just promoting ‘Labour’ as the party to vote for without acknowledging the other parties that offer a lot to young people. The NUS should be comparing all the parties and not taking a clearly biased approach, as stated on Toni Pearce’s Twitter bio which states she supports ‘Labour.’ This is not a fair and representative perspective. The NUS should be encouraging people to vote as they wish, based on the facts, not forcing a left wing narrative which is what they are clearly doing.

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  2. I’m rather annoyed with Stephen’s comments, considering he ran for NUS delegate on an anti-partisan platform. If it’s higher student turnout and participation the NUS wanted to achieve they could have supported or launched something similar to Bite the Ballot. But they didn’t, instead they spent £40,000 on a poster campaign indistinguishable from something Labour would do.

    Which isn’t surprising when you consider how many just use the NUS as a springboard to enter Parliament, ala Jim Murphy.

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