27 DECEMBER 1969, Page 24


From Brian I. Mapletoft, Alfred Sherman, Charles Anderson, Fritz Bopp, I. F. Taylor, I. M. C. Yates, Ralph Rochester, W. S. Howard.

Youth and the seventies

Sir: One conspicuous omission from Auberon Waugh's treatment of the politics of youth in the coming election (13 Decem- ber) was any mention of student politics, which, since students are the largest homo. genous group newly enfranchised, are by no means as irrelevant to national and party politics as left wing disorganisers or SPEC. TATOR political commentators might think. On three issues in particular, Conservative students have been outspoken, illustrating the connection between student and party politics.

Firstly, students' grants, when we have defended them t.gainst pressures even with- in our own party for loans, when we have been as one in opposing the (1968) Labour decision to halve the increases recommended by the Browns- Commission to offset the rise in the cost of living since the previous review—at present we are investigating the possibilities of the abolition of the parental means test for grants, which in these post- Latey days provides intolerable ties to parents' apron strings for students not fortunate enough to come from families poor enough to qualify him/her for a (still inadequate) full grant.

Secondly, the Parliamentary Select Com- mission into staff-student relations, to which the Federation of Conservative Students was the only national student body apart from NUS to submit contributions. We welcome the Commissions' proposal for a national standing commission to review student union constitutions since we recognise that the misappropriation of student union funds by the left wing, whether in supporting 'freedom fighters' in one country or another, in helping the 'people's democracy' in Northern Ireland, or in paying the fines in- curred by violence in Springboks demon- strations, the most insidious manifestations to date of extremist student activity.

Thirdly, Biafra, on which it was the Federation of Conservative Students rather than, as Auberon Waugh reported, the Young Conservatives, (though we respect and welcome their contribution) who were the first organised body within the Conser- vative party to press the party to dissociate itself from the Labour government's policy of supplying arms to Federal Nigeria. We share the SPECTATOR'S desire for the Con- servative party under the leadership of Ed- ward Heath and Sir Alec Douglas-Home (both of whom have been pressed by me and other members of the Federation on this point) to revise their views of this war; we hope and pray that the report of Lord Carrington will provide an occasion for this vital revision, and in the name of humanity. for an attack on this weakest link in the Government's armour.

Brian I. Mapleton Chairman, Northern Region, Federation of Conservative Students, 32 Smith Square. London swl.