Wednesday, 11 May 2011

Still not sure Nick quite gets it....

Nick Clegg's speech to the National Liberal Club today was supposed to be the start of the new "muscular liberalism" in the Coalition. In itself, the speech isn't too controversial. There were, though, two blindingly obvious things which I think were missing.

Nick clearly still doesn't get the problem about tuition fees. The reason people have attacked the party isn't just because of the policy itself. It's because we promised one thing, then did another. It was the hypocrisy, the broken promises, which we were supposed to be above. Never mind the fact that the change itself may or may not have been better than what was there before. Nick is correct in saying that both the Tories and Labour supported tuition fees, and we'd never get the full policy through. So why not stick to our guns, and let them form a one-off coalition in favour?

It also resulted in the silly situation where some of our Scottish MPs were voting for an increase in the cap in England whilst later campaigning in Scotland against any tuition fees at all. That was just wrong.

But what people want is for us just to apologise. Elton John may have described it as the hardest word, but is it so difficult to say "sorry"? I'm not sure we'll really be able to move on until we do.

Nick also simply forgot Scotland. Now, I know that the losses in England were bad. But, as Caron Lindsay points out here a wee bit of thanks to the MSPs who lost seats wouldn't have gone amiss. People like Iain Smith, Ross Finnie, and Jim Tolson, who have all given much, much longer service to the party than many (including Nick) and who have seen us through the hard times before.

So, nothing bad in the speech, just underwhelming. Maybe there's another one coming. Just as long as it isn't allowing people to buy places at universities. Now, what numpty thought of that one.....

[added later]

Jennie Rigg puts the whole point on tuition fees brilliantly here. One day, I shall blog as well.....


  1. "Nick is correct in saying that both the Tories and Labour supported tuition fees, and we'd never get the full policy through."

    Sorry, but this simply ignores the reality of coalition politics, in Scotland in 1999, Labour supported tuition fees and yet when we went into coalition with them, we got fees abolished in Scotland. Perhaps Nick should hire some of our former MSPs who now have more time on their hands to tell him how to do coalition properly!

  2. I love being next on the tag list to Elton John:-).

    I love your design and so glad that you have decided to jump in and start blogging.

    I have added you to my blog roll and look forward to reading what you have to say in the future.


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