I support this Coalition…but higher tuition fees is a step too far!
October 16, 2010 § 1 Comment
Let me be clear.
I support this Government, I believe the Coalition is right for Britain, and I applaud 99.9% of what the Liberal Democrat Secretaries of State and Ministers are doing within the administration.
Further to that I believe this Government is seeking, time and again, to be fair to the most vulnerable and poorest people in our society, from protecting health and schools spending, the setting up of the Pupil Premium, the taking out of income tax altogether thousands of the country’s lowest paid workers, the protecting of spending on aid to developing nations, and on and on.
However, I’m afraid on one issue I have, if I’m to be true to my conscience, to break away from the Coalition’s policy, indeed to oppose it.
That is on the issue of higher education tuition fees, a totemic issue for us Liberal Democrats.
Now, I’m a supporter of Vince Cable, he’s one of our parties genuine stars…but on this issue he and the Government are wrong and I support those Lib Dem MP’s, including Lib Dem Presidential candidate Tim Farron, in saying unless substantial changes are made they’ll be voting against it.
I, of course, understand that-in coalition-comprimises have to be made but it does rather seem that the Lib Dems are having to compromise more than our partners.
This issue, of how to fund higher education, it would appear to me, is a compromise too far.
I await the details to be announced but I can’t see that, as Mr Cable claimed in an e-mail to Lib Dem members this week, this is a ‘fair and progressive’ policy for higher education.
How can we expect to retain the trust of the electorate if, for ten years or more, we called for the abolition of tuition fees, top up fees etc and now claim that, miraculously, raising fees is somehow ‘progressive.’
It will take a lot for me to be convinced that this is anything other than a retrograde step.