Having covered the manifesto commitments of the Conservative Party, the Labour Party and the Liberal Democrats previously, we decided to the same for the smaller and non UK-wide parties.
Caveats apply, not least that the table does not include absolutely every mention of the issues indicated in the headings, nor does a party’s manifesto constitute their entire election offering, nor even are manifestos necessarily the best predictor of what they will do in office.
Why bother then, especially with these smaller parties who are most likely not going to govern come the final result? It is true that it is unlikely that any of these parties will gain a majority, but waking up on the 13th December to a hung parliament is a real possibility. In this case, power shifts to these smaller parties as the largest party look to find support enough to govern at least temporarily, be that in a coalition or a Conservative-DUP-style pact, and the priorities of these smaller parties move from ideas in sidelined manifestos to potential realities.
So if we do end up with a hung parliament, would a Green-Labour arrangement see the establishment of a new Food and Agriculture Research Council? Or if the Conservatives fall a few seats short, would they let the Brexit Party cap both home student numbers at 50% and international student numbers?
I hope this provides some food for thought both for those who want to complete the picture of how the various parties are proposing to approach higher education in office, and for those hoping to second-guess the uncertain future of higher education.