Posted Under: Education,Liberal Democrats
No one expected Nick Clegg to bring his long (but apparently flimsily) held desire to abolish tuition fees into the coalition agreement. Even before the election, he had already distanced himself from the policy.
“I want to get rid of the tuition fees system too – it’s just a question of when,” Clegg told me in an interview with The Third Estate last year.
However, one would have expected Clegg to have stuck to a pledge which he, like all of his party’s MPs, signed to vote against any rise in tuition fees.
“With the benefit of hindsight, I signed a pledge at a time when we could not have anticipated the full scale of the financial situation the country faces now and the absence of plausible alternatives for students to the arrangements we are now advocating,” Clegg wrote with his tail between his legs this week.
No Nick, the economic situation hasn’t changed since you signed that pledge. You just didn’t expect to be in government to deal with it. If you didn’t anticipate it, it’s because you were making empty promises which you had no intention of seeing through. Not unusual for a party which never expects to be in power. But the coalition has caught you with your pants down and your U turn can be blamed on no one but yourself.
I wonder if Clegg anticipated the scale of his betrayal of his voters and party members? Perhaps, if the look on his face at PMQs, grimly nodding behind Cameron as he flapped through Ed’s understated assault, is anything to go by.
Further evidence of Clegg and his party’s betrayal can be seen over at The Daily (Maybe). 17 MPs voted for Caroline Lucas’s ammendment to give voters the choice of PR in the referendum on electoral reform. Not one of them was Liberal Democrat. Was there not a single one of them with sufficient backbone to stand up for a policy that was in their manifesto? Clearly not.
Here’s a pledge: I promise not to vote Liberal Democrat.