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Lib Dems on tuition fees

(25 Posts)
UnquietDad Thu 04-Nov-10 14:18:22

I'm in a very awkward, annoying position at the moment.

I hate the Lib Dem backtracking on tuition fees. I voted for them, and their stance on tuition fees was one of the reasons. Deeply disappointed with them.

On the other hand, it's a coalition. I understand that. It involves compromises. The pledge was about what they'd do in majority government, and this isn't a majority government. We can't seriously expect every Lib Dem policy to get through.

I suppose what it boils down to is that I didn't expect the polar opposite of their policy to get through. I do wish, too, that there was some consistency in the Lib Dem ranks - some use the "it's a coalition" line, others the "we didn't know how bad things were until now" line. You need one or the other. Not both.

On the other hand (yes, like Zaphod Beeblebrox, I have three today), I have a lot of Labour-voting friends on Facebook and in real life, who will smile knowingly and smugly in an "I told you so" kind of way when I say this. Yeah, right. Like you knew. Like Labour never broke any pledges. And like Labour would never have forced concessions out of the Lib Dems in a coalition with them.

Chil1234 Thu 04-Nov-10 14:21:20

If it's any consolation, it hasn't been voted through yet in the House. There could still be rebels in all quarters that will force an amendment to the plans, if not an outright abandonment.

UnquietDad Thu 04-Nov-10 14:21:48

Yes, I think there will be a few rebels.

huddspur Thu 04-Nov-10 14:26:53

I'm a Lib Dem supporter and feel very uneasy about this, although its a coalition the abolition of tuition fees has been a defining policy for the party in recent years.

One thing with regards to Labour though is that they set-up the Brown Review so it is almost certain they would have increased fees as well had they still been in power.

GrimmaTheNome Thu 04-Nov-10 14:33:53

They are between a rock and a hard place. What they'd pledged just wasn't going to happen. (I am not sure it could have even if they'd somehow had a majority, once Vince had looked over the sums properly)

All they could realistically do was try to moderate the outcome, which to some extent they seem to have acheived. I have little doubt the coalition will on the whole make better decisions than the Conservatives alone and better than continued Labour rule.

You wouldn't be disappointed if your DC failed to win the sprint race if what he'd actually been entered for was the 3-legged race, would you?

Unprune Thu 04-Nov-10 14:41:42

I'm broadly a Labour supporter and my response is that I hoped that the Liberals would temper the Conservatives to some degree, and that just doesn't seem to be happening.

I think between the fag end of the Labour govt and the disingenuous performance that Dave put on, a lot of people pinned their hopes on Clegg. As in, you can't vote Labour (conscience won't allow) but you can't vote Tory (beyond the pale), so please Liberals be good. And so far, they haven't shown any mettle.

I mean, it was always blindingly obvious that the Tories would shake things up in a way that I don't like, and I think a lot of people (younger than say 30?) have got a bit of a shock because they don't have the lasting memories that many do, and I think some voted naively. For the LibDems to be party to that as well is disappointing.

Perhaps they are biding their time. Benefit of the doubt.

One thing's for sure, the next election is going to be interesting.

huddspur Thu 04-Nov-10 14:45:52

I think you're being a little unfair on the liberals Unprune as they are the junior partner in the coalition but we are still seeing a lot liberal policies being put into place. Their biggest policy was the raising of the income tax threshold to £10,000 and that is being implemented as is the pupil premium and their prison policy as well as the AV referendum.

Unprune Thu 04-Nov-10 15:27:13

I had higher hopes grin
Which is what the thread's about, really.
but yes, credit where it's due.

ElephantsAndMiasmas Thu 04-Nov-10 16:53:31

PMSL at finding that some of the people I argue with most also voted LibDem.

I am massively disappointed, Clegg has let us all down IMO. When they were negotiating the coalition agreement just after the election the facebook groups were bombarded with "trust Nick trust Nick trust Nick" from LDHQ. Well, I didn't, and I don't now. My local MP is good - and alternative was scary evangelical christian Tory - but god knows what I'll do in the next election.

It's never too late to remind labour friends about the circumstances under which tuition fees were brought in the first place btw. They opened the door for this.

Unprune Thu 04-Nov-10 18:53:22

Labour were a huge disappointment on that score, and plenty of others.

I think the only way to do politics now is to find an MP whom you trust. I suppose that is, after all, the point of the system. I think party politics are a guide but in no way do they work, really, when every single party has done reprehensible things.

alicatte Wed 10-Nov-10 19:00:54

I understand your points UnquietDad. I am having a lot of trouble seeing what seems to be absolutely no impact at all from the Liberal Democrats on the Conservative policies. I also heard recently that Mr Clegg used to be a researcher or some such for Leon Brittan (who was a Conservative) and I am now wondering if the leadership were actually secret Conservatives all along. Surely they should get their voices heard - especially on the important policies - and we at the 'poll' face should see some moderation creeping in. I apologise for calling LibDems 'secret conservatives' its just it really does look like it at the moment.

anastaisia Thu 11-Nov-10 11:49:26

I don't have a problem with the coalition agreement taking precedence over Lib Dem policies and pledges.

I see the voted through agreement to abstain from voting on tuition fees as fine - because it was voted through, in the coalition agreement, after the manifesto and pledges; so in my mind it replaces them. If policies and pledges can't be changed then parties would have to run on the same manifesto forever

But I struggle with them moving from abstaining as agreed to voting FOR the higher cap. I find it especially hard as I do think that apart from the higher cap on fees there are many good things in the proposals. I hope that they can come to some kind of compromise in the legislation that allows Lib Dem MPs to vote for the good changes but still abstain on the fee cap.

WhoKnew2010 Thu 11-Nov-10 14:15:40

I am also massively disappointed. I too voted Lib Dem.

The point is that it's nothing to do with the budget. Education for non-science, technology, engineering and medicine (STEM) subjects are losing all their public funding. ALL! This isn't about graduate contribution anymore it's wholescale privatisation.

It's deeply ideological because once the country is back in credit this funding is never coming back. Private higher education will be the only option for anyone over a minimum income. You can't compare it to the EU or the US where public provision (at least in some form) still exists.

I will stop here bc can rant about this for hours. I will (as I keep telling him) campaign against my Lib Dem MP next time round. I'll make a poster for my window to vote him out not in.

I feel thoroughly, thoroughly conned. I now join the ranks of the disillusioned. Labour voters were also conned unless they had no concerns with Iraq/student fees/privatisation etc. I'm in an 'they're all as bad as each other' phase. I am incadescently angry (and wish I had gone on the march but, of course, I was teaching students. Would have been a much better lesson mind.

WhoKnew2010 Thu 11-Nov-10 14:27:23

FWIW I think they need 40 to vote against (not abstain.) The numbers aren't quite there but Simon Hughes et al are refusing to declare. The coalition agreement I think says that they can abstain but not vote against - but what are they going to do? Expel them from a party that espouses policies they have pledged to oppose? I'd much rather be in that position than Nick Clegg/Stephen Williams etc in student constituencies.

But I did hear about Cameron's tactics from someone who knew someone who talked to him about it in a high ranking official capacity.

Essentially they're telling the Lib Dem MPs that the CSR reductions have been made. There is no money for universities. And if the Lib Dem MPs don't vote for the fees the universities will be left with nothing for 2011-2012 and many will go to the wall because of the intransigence of the Lib Dem opponents. (HEFCE's 'valley of death' scenario, oh how neutral these civil servants are).

Giant game of chicken really. Surely people can see that it's the Tories and the spineless Lib Dem front bench that have created the cuts in the CSR that would cause this, not the Lib Dem rebels. Won't they?

It's nonsense to claim there's no money available. If the benefit bill goes up the money will have to be borrowed to pay for benefits. There isn't just a cupboard that is bare, Mother Hubbard style.

<off to make camomile tea to calm down>

madamimadam Thu 11-Nov-10 14:28:49

WhoKnew, I could have written your post (If I was more articulate smile)

I kick myself every morning for voting LimpDem. I honestly thought that they might rein in the Tories as I thought they had, um, principles and integrity. I couldn't in all conscience vote Labour, for exactly the reasons you've stated.

I'm another one who's horrified at what's happened - and the general tone of public debate on the cuts too, which seems to be dictated by the Daily Mail. Labour are a pretty ineffective opposition - they can't honestly say much, as they started so much of this off.

But to row back so quickly on a policy that you made a huge song and dance of publicly signing... That takes some brass neck doesn't it?

WhoKnew2010 Thu 11-Nov-10 14:55:59

<limpdem> smile v. funny.

not sure it's articulate at all - ranting.

<small spark of hope that those strong minded students and President of NUS Aaron Porter (v. impressed by him) might kick start broader opposition> TUC demos to come apparently.

maypole1 Thu 11-Nov-10 16:36:10

i agree,i mean what do the students want, the lib dems are not in power their in a coalition, and though i have not been to uni my self but my oh informs me that he only had around 4 lectures a week as he was a mature student he worked on his days off uni and left with nearly no debt were the younger students were partying of down the su bar on a weekend.

now i didn't realise this so i not really sure if lectures are not all day everyday why cant they work to pay off some of this debt before they leave confusedcould some one please explain

alicatte Thu 11-Nov-10 17:34:30

I worked maypole - I worked all the way through and it didn't do me any good really.

The cost of housing is so great, and this was before these huge fees, that an evening job just won't help you to pay things off. I tried to work in the day but unfortunately employers are not really able to accommodate when you can and can't work and the university insists that you attend seminars and tutorials (some now refuse to let students work at all). I guess you are working for them after all. It does impact on your academic performance and I don't think it made me a 'better person' really.

All young people go out - its just students can't afford to spend very much.

WhoKnew2010 Thu 11-Nov-10 18:20:30

maypole - lots of my students work and it really affects their grades. They're getting around the minimum wage in Tescos or whatever working 15 hours a week, so say, £75-80. That won't even cover their rent, let alone bills, eating, books etc. Obviously it as no impact on their fees (your OH presumably studied before fees were introduced).

On the other hand, rich students don't work for money and are supported by their families. They have 15 hours extra to study (the hours of lectures are fairly irrelevant, it's the hours you spend on the books that matters). The rich students can do relevant work experience in the holidays either by calling in connections or staying with friends or family in London to get some great looking places on their cv.

I studied when there were no fees, you could get housing benefit in the holidays and I got a full grant. Completely different time. Yet even now, the rich students still live in that world, the poorer don't.

Takver Thu 11-Nov-10 19:09:53

Not quite sure where your DH had 4 lectures a week, Maypole - certainly when I was at uni (admittedly 20 yrs ago) there were at least 3 lectures every weekday (luckily no Saturday lectures in my subject, but plenty did), plus tutorials in the afternoons, plus say 3 essays to write each week, all needing reading/research time.

I did work - in the bar in the evenings, and every holiday, to help with living costs, but certainly couldn't have paid fees from it . . .

drogowoods Thu 11-Nov-10 21:00:23

I also went to uni over 20 years ago and studied for well over 70 hours per week. I had a grant and no tuition fees. Coming from a disadvantaged background I know I would never have had the opportunity to go if I had to face the massive £9000pa to pay simply for the fees let alone living costs. But I am not wealthy. I have worked in public service in education all my post-graduate life. I have 2 post-graduate qualifications and am now extremelyt worried about the future of my children. Despite having a better starting point for my kinds, I cannot provide the start in life for them that I was able to have from a far more deprived background 20 years ago. That simply is age-ist. Some points to consider:
-if your child doesn't go to university, they will be competing for jobs against people that were able to go when the fees were less extortionate - making them disadvantaged in the work-place
- if they DO go to university, in 2 years time they will be paying 3 times more than their peers. The average graduate has a £20-30k debt. So in 2 years time, this will be at least £50k+ Add 5% interest pa. By the time our children are in their late 20's they will owe over £750000!!!!! If they marry, they could have a combined debt of £150,000 BEFORE they find a job or get a mortgage or buy a car.... our children will never be able to leave home.
They say they they will have to pay back at 9% pa if they earn over £40,000 - that is £36000pa...on a £50,000 loan that is over £300 per month for 20 years (assuming interest rates don't escalate like they did under the last Tory government)
The point it, this debt will stay with them for their entire adult life. It will prevent them from being able to borrow to live a normal life, as they will always be playing catch-up. They will be waiting for us to pop out clogs so they can inherit our houses to pay off their enormous debt.

Don't forget, this is assuming they don't change the rules if there is another change of government. We can't trust any of them anymore.

daphnedill Sat 13-Nov-10 02:39:31

Buy them this for Christmas!


daphnedill Sat 13-Nov-10 02:42:03

kate1956 Sat 13-Nov-10 11:23:57

have a look at the front page of the guardian to see what nick clegg thought of tuition fees before the pledge and what an utter liar he is! uition-fees-clegg

Blackduck Sat 13-Nov-10 11:40:11

WhatKnew2010 Brill post...and didn't Harriet Harman make the point this week that if the deficit will be cut by 2014 and these fees won't kick in until about then or just after, why does this need to be done? It is totally ideological IMHO.....

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