Sunday, 10 October 2010

Ed Miliband Appeals To Disaffected Lib Dems As Clegg And Cable Ditch Promise To Oppose Tuition Fee Rise

During the recent General Election campaign, senior Liberal Democrat MPs - including Leader Nick Clegg and current Business Secretary Vince Cable - signed a pledge to oppose any rise in student tuition fees.

The Party campaigned for a Graduate tax instead, saying this would be fairer on those who have completed their degree studies and were looking for work.

Now, Mr Cable has gone back on his word and declared a Graduate Tax unworkable. He and Nick Clegg are likely to support the Tories and back a rise in Tuition fees.

And this comes just ahead of the publication of the Browne Report on Higher Education, which, reports say, will recommend that the current cap on student Tuition fees should be removed, thus allowing universities to charge what they like and effectively closing the door to students from less well-off backgrounds. 

No wonder the Liberal Democrats grassroots are angry. Martin Shapland, of Liberal Youth said that this move would go against everything the Liberal Democrats stood for in the election.

Nick Clegg in particular made much of the need to keep Tuition fees at the level they are now.

New Labour leader Ed Miliband has been very quick to capitalise on the situation and appealed to Liberal Democrat MPs unhappy with this dramatic U-turn to support Labour in any parliamentary vote on the issue. 

Once again the Liberal Democrats in the Coalition are showing that they are willing to sacrifice both their principles and their core supporters to cling onto power.

Up to now, with the public having been willing to give the Coalition a chance, Liberal Democrat MPs have been prepared to compromise with the Tories to make the arrangement work.

However, on this issue, I wonder if things might be different.

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