...a blog by Richard Flowers

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Day 3782: Liberal Democrats, we must earn back the trust of students; we must oppose flogging degrees to the rich!


The universities minister, Mr David Witless, is proposing that Universities in England may be allowed to make extra places available for wealthy UK students.**

Let's just say that again: if you're RICH, you'll be able to BUY a place at a British University.

Quite simply, RICH people will have MORE CHANCES of getting a university place than POOR people.

And Mr Witless thinks this is going to make the tuition fees debacle BETTER???

Perhaps he'd like to sell them a LADDER to PULL UP after them too!

It's not FAIR and we should be AGAINST that sort of thing!

Allowing the RICH to game the system in their favour is the whole of the problem. It's a shoring up of the VESTED INTERESTS, the very OPPOSITE of what Liberals should stand for.

Ladies and gentlebeans we have FORM on tuition fees. We fluffed up.

20:20 hindsight is a wonderful thing, and at the time I was all FOR doing the best deal for students we could achieve, and hang the political consequences: the people would UNDERSTAND that we'd made a difference and made things better.

Well, it turns out "the people" don't do NUANCE.

I'm coming around to the opinion that in the long run students would have been better served if we had kept faith with them and kept our promise EVEN IF the short term result cost them more. By concentrating too much on the DETAIL, we lost sight of the BIG PICTURE. What Mr Lord Bonkers might call "too much POLICY; not enough IDEOLOGY", or as the Hon Lady Mark might say: "the POLICIES aren't the issue; the electorate operate on the basis of PERCEPTION."

It seems – perhaps monstrously unfairly – not to matter HOW MANY other promises we KEPT; we broke ONE and it's tainted EVERYTHING.

All along, Captain Clegg has argued that we need to do everything to PROVE that coalitions WORK. Well, to too many people, "broken promises" are the proof that they DON'T.

The damage that that one broken promise has done to the idea of cooperative politics… at the moment it appears incalculable.

We need to recognise that. We need to apologise for that.

I think we need to say: "we promised we would oppose tuition fees and then voted for a rise and that was wrong". We did it for the best of reasons, because the deal for students that we could get by doing that was better than any other offer on the table, but we know that we broke our promise there and it's not good enough and we are sorry.

And then we need to say how we are going to FIX this.

Step one is to kybosh this BARKING MAD, RIGHTWING proposal before it gets started.

This is LINE ONE stuff, people: "the Liberal Democrats EXIST to ensure no one is enslaved by ignorance, poverty or conformity". NOT "the Liberal Democrats exist to ensure everyone can be free from ignorance so long as they're already wealthy".

We've stopped (for now) the Tories privatising the Health Service; now let's stop them privatising our bloody Universities as well!


** The BBC updated their story AFTER I wrote my diary to say the Prime Monster has squished this policy already.

ELEPHANT: Fear Me! I have destroyed hundreds of Conservatory policies!

BALLOON: Well, fear me! I've destroyed all of them!




Julian said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
JohnM said...

Well said Millie! I think my post on the issue will (on this one issue alone) outshine yours:

So a special conference then to debate this landmark defeat, discuss the dilemmas we faced and how we should make amends. So how should we square our government policy with our party policy? And where do we find the money? Clue (with appreciation to the No campaign) 'she needs an education not a nuclear bomb'!

Also, what makes you think it's just Tuition Fees and not also Libya?