Monday, 10 January 2011


Nickers was on the radio this morning and he's finding his stride more and more. What is encouraging is that the media has reduced its bleating ('Politician "unpopular" shock') and is increasingly listening to his measured comments about where we are. Headlines included the very pertinent point that we came third in the last election so of course we can't call the shots but we can achieve a lot in coalition.

On tuition fees, Nickers made the once again excellent points that Labour introduced them and Labour commissioned the Browne Report which recommended unlimited fees. I haven't heard the Labour leader giving his view on these facts. Nickers could also have pointed out that Labour introduced upfront fees for students - opposed by the Lib Dems, not the Tories - putting a tax at the front door of higher education. They also never removed the upfront requirement to pay fees for part-time students, which these new proposals do.

If you're a student reading this, remember that you would have been paying substantially higher fees under Labour and if they say otherwise they are lying. What the coalition has done is to be honest with you and make it clear that students have to pay for their education these days and this is the least painful way to do it. There is no question that a bill of £27,000+ is a horrible thing to start work but that is unfortunately the world we live in.

I hope the next LD manifesto outlines plans to cut or reduce these fees, as the last one did - uniquely for any party. I'd love to see a LD government elected so that it could reduce or abolish fees. If you think that's a daft idea, remember that a vote for the Tories or Labour is categorically a vote for fees. A vote for the Lib Dems is a vote for a party which wants to abolish fees and which hopefully will in future, even if we couldn't this time round.

No comments:

Post a Comment