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That tuition fees petition – first draft

November 29th, 2010 Posted in Liberal Democrats, UK Politics by

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

Dear Nick,

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.

3 Responses to “That tuition fees petition – first draft”

  1. Psi Says:

    Has anyone else noticed that Aaron Porter appears to be deliberately doing the worst job possible at lobbying the Lib Dem back benchers, to oppose the bill.

    It appears that he agrees with the coalition’s proposals but can’t say, so is doing a terrible job at opposing them…


  2. EcoJon Says:

    I really think the whole LibDem party is losing the plot over the tuition fees issue.

    When did it become Aaron’s job to whip LibDem MPs into supporting the policy of the party in preference to Tory ideology. And why should he need to as any principled MP who signed the pledge should be voting against the legislation to increase fees.

    Wasting time arguing with the apologists is a bit like trying to deal with the Fifa members who picked Russia and Quatar – you just know if your have standards and a moral code that there’s no point in dealing with unprincipled people.


  3. Betrayed Says:

    I agree with EconJon. I understand that this is a coalition and that compromises need to be made. The Tories didn’t win this election on their own – so they should be doing some of the compromising too. An increase of the fees cap to, say, £4000/£5000 would have been a compromise. £6000/£9000 is NOT.

    I’ve voted LibDem in EVERY election of my voting life (23 years). I’ve just joined the Labour party……


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