The press seem to have made quite a thing of a week-old Lib Dem petition signed by losing candidates, that is rambling, contains no credible proposal to finance scrapping tuition fees, contains a typo in the title…
“No to tuition higher tuition fees, yes to Liberal Democrat integrity“
…happily the first draft of the petition is much more clear has fallen in the hands of Liberal Vision.
We reprint it in full
No to being in power and taking tough decisions
We the undersigned would like you to remain true to a policy pledge that did not help us win our seats.
We did not become Liberal Democrats candidates with any expectation of ever being elected, let alone in government, and find the current situation of power-sharing, as the minority partner with the Conservatives, entirely surprising and objectionable.
We admit most of us did not vote against the Coalition at a special conference called in order to test that issue. However that was before we realised the mainly Conservative Government would not be implementing the Liberal Democrat manifesto in full, or every daft promise we have ever made on a local Focus leaflet.
We also feel the financial crisis is overblown. Sure by 2015 interest on government debt will be £66bn and the second largest item of public spending. Sure total debt will sale past £1 trillion in the next couple of years, and there are large unfunded PFI, public and state pension liabilities bringing the total to over £4 trillion. Sure other public services, welfare, and infrastructure are being cut back to cope, whilst tax rises risk undermining growth.
However this is no reason to reconsider a commitment to fully subsidise the costs of educating the children of the better off and future high income earners so they might get on the mortgage ladder sooner.
And o.k. it’s regressive, and o.k. your alternative proposal isn’t and much like a workable version of the NUS’s proposed graduate tax.
However we made a promise.
That promise may have been largely a matter of electoral opportunism. We might mainly have been thinking about filling Ds and Ps on canvass cards, young volunteer shoe leather, and beating Labour in a small number of university towns, rather than the consequences. But we didn’t think we were going to win!
And in our seats we didn’t.
We very much hope then you will consider the views of the losing majority of candidates and govern in the interests of losing with integrity next time.
Yours, the undersigned… etc.