The SNP continues to run a very smart campaign in the final days before the Scottish Parliament elections. They have regularly managed to pitch policies which tickle the soft underbelly of the Scottish electorate and make it more willing to roll over for the party of independence.
Recent research has shown that UK parents spend around £4000 a year to pay for their children to go to university. Students at Scottish universities typically owe an average £7561 when they graduate, a quarter of them owe more than £12,000.
The arrangements for Student finance which have led to this mountain of debt were based on the assumption that students would typically earn thousands of pounds more during their lifetime than those who had not been to University. While this assumption is true for students who will graduate towards the "old professions" such as Law and Medicine it may not be so true for thousands of others who will find themselves in careers paying only average earnings. There have also been concerns that these rising debt levels will deter those from poorer backgrounds from going to University.
Scotland has traditionally prided itself on its educational system - and rightly so. The arrangements for student finance are however a disgrace and have been put into place by a generation of politicians who themselves often went to University with the support of means tested student grants.
Students, their parents and other relatives can be seen as ripe for plucking by a party such as the SNP which is talking about abolishing such student debt. There will be many who have their doubts about the SNP agenda for Independence who may just be persuaded to vote SNP because of their more progressive policies on issues such as student debt.
It is the failure of the Labour Party to address issues such as the mountain of student debt that may hand victory to the SNP on May 3rd. As a parent of a student but a supporter of the Union I am faced with a hard choice. Do I risk opening the door to independence by voting SNP and take risks with my child's future in that way or do I vote for a unionist party and continue to see my child faced with a mountain of debt?
It is because of issues such as these that the SNP are ahead in the polls and it is a tragedy that the unionist parties have not been more imaginative in their policy proposals on matters such as student debt.