My friend Oli's summing up of the issue of student fees :
You raise taxes against things as a disincentive to consumption (eg. cigarettes, alcohol). If you raise taxes against education, you decrease consumption of it. Is this what you want to be doing when the economy needs to be increasing productivity and creating more high-value products and services to be globally competitive?
It's seductive. I can't help noticing that the same argument could be used to argue that we shouldn't be taxing anything we approve of (eg. paying people salaries). And I'm not sure I want, ultimately, to accept that the arguments for or against education must be reduced to questions of national economic interest. But putting aside such caveats for a moment, I agree.