Saturday, December 11, 2010

Who came out well from the tuition fees vote?

  • Not the Conservative Party, which somehow omitted the plans to treble tuition fees from its manifesto and singularly failed to make the financial or libertarian cases for the proposals.

  • Nor the Labour Party, which first introduced up-front tuition fees, which introduced loans instead of grants, which broke its pledge not to introduce top-up fees, which gave the Browne Review such a limited remit that it was bound to recommend increased tuition fees, and which now has no policy about the funding of Higher Education.

  • Not the NUS, which failed to lobby Conservative MPs effectively and failed to mobilise Middle England to its cause, thanks to its careerist Labour and confrontational Socialist Worker elements.

  • Not the universities, which effectively lost their case (not that many attempted to make it) that government investment reaps substantive economic, social and cultural benefits.

  • And, arguably most of all, not the Liberal Democrat party, which jeopardised the only currency a political party has - the trust of the voters - by failing to honour the pledge made by each and every Lib Dem MP to vote against any increase in fees.


  1. Torbay Lib Dem MP Adrian Sanders came out of the issue quite well. He has been inundated with messages of support since he voted against the government.

  2. Absolutely right. I usually think that talk of "the political class" is total rubbish, but on this issue they've demonstrated that they really do have a set of interests all their own, and quite different from the rest of the population.

  3. Hi Cptn

    Yes, kudos to Adrian Sanders.

    And Ming Campbell, Charles Kennedy, Jenny Willott, Mike Crockart, Tim Farron, Julian Huppert, Greg Mulholland and the rest of the 21 Lib Dems who stood by their personal pledges to the voters.

    I hope that at the next election they won't be damaged by association with the pledge-breakers. Sadly I think they will be.

  4. Hi David

    Thanks for the comment. I just visited your blog and I fully agree with your recent posts.

    I particularly liked this one on Tim Farron and the vice-chancelllors.

  5. Hi,
    Thanks for bringing this into my notice. I disagree with the first point here shown in the post.
    Essay Papers

  6. Thank you, Mr Wonderer. You might be the first person to have read it! British universities are so royally screwed now, it really is a perfect storm.

    Despite my recent antipathy, I do share your concern for the future of the Lib Dems. And if they end up taking a disproportionate amount of the flack for this government's vindictiveness, it certainly won't be a good thing for British politics as a whole.

    I wonder if the only possibility of a reprieve would be a leadership challenge; but that would seem almost certainly result in an immediate general election, which the Tories could possibly win out-right.

    What's your current estimate of the odds of winning AV?