Tomorrow, Thursday 9 December, the Commons vote on higher-education tuition fees is to be held. A substantial number of Lib Dem MPs, as well as some Tories, are expected to revolt against their leadership and vote against the government or abstain. However, the revolt will probably not stop the bill going through, paving the way for universities and colleges to hike up tuition fees.
Nick Clegg is under particular pressure after making a public, personal pledge to vote against raising tuition fees before the general election. Although his defence has been that a party can only sufficiently carry out its manifesto if it is the sole party of government, this misses the point that the pledge was given personally and absolutely. He also claims that the coalition agreement supersedes the pledge, but the absolute wording of the pledge — to vote against any raise in tuition fees — would make it disingenuous to enter into an agreement that would likely prohibit him and others from fulfilling their pledges. Either the pledge should not have been made or the the coalition agreement should not have been made as is. Finally, in an election broadcast, Nick Clegg, filmed on and around Westminster Bridge and surrounded by a litter of white sheets of paper, railed against the broken promises of New Labour and the Tories. Fair enough, hand up, but the first ‘broken promise’ shown is ‘No Tuition Fees’. This film now stands testament of the gross and absolute hypocrisy of Nick Clegg and the Lib Dems: if you’re going to campaign against broken promises, you have to realise that such a stand means that there is a greater moral imperative that you don’t break your promises. In addition, many who voted Lib Dem did so on the basis of such promises, and such clear cut cases of broken mandates will make the yellow party, which still lost seats in the last election, electorally marginalised.
- Tuition fees: Lib Dem ministers back rises, Nick Clegg tells MPs (guardian.co.uk)
- Nick Clegg’s unexpectedly swift journey from idol to hate figure | Andrew Rawnsley (guardian.co.uk)
- Nick Clegg to make plea to divided party on eve of tuition fees vote (guardian.co.uk)
- Nick Clegg: No apologies. No regrets. No shame (independent.co.uk)
- Lib Dems target Clegg over tuition fees (independent.co.uk)
- Pontius Clegg: Lib Dem abstentions won’t stop tuition fees rising (leftfootforward.org)