I support #demo2010 but anti #libdem line drawn by #nus is ludicrous. LibDems are still only major party with policy against tuition fees
From: eyebrowsofpower (me)
@auntysarah "LibDems are still only major party with policy against tuition fees" in your RT: now I am very confused inre clegg policies
@eyebrowsofpower Coalition govt and hypothetical Lib Dem majority govt are entirely different things. We did not win the election.
Now, I have quite a bit of respect for Sarah and therefore am going to assume that she's simply obliged to support this nonsense as a condition of her position in the party. That doesn't make it any less nonsense, and the obvious reply comes to mind, "You won't win the next election by reneging on manifesto promises either!".
I'd been meaning to write about tuition fees since I saw this article in the Guardian trying to claim that the policy actually represents scrapping tuition fees. It has the same sort of desperate flavour to it of a parent trying to convince a child that the cheap plastic replica of the toy they wanted is just as good as the real thing, or of someone trying to convince the inland revenue that what appears to be a profit is in fact, a loss, and that they should ignore the Ferrari on the drive.
If policy A were really the same as policy B, it should be equally possible to get it passed, and wouldn't attract the ire of the public. This must lead us to believe that the policies aren't the same. And there's an important difference: the fees+debt plan moves the debt from the government balance sheet to that of the individual. Moving debt around so it appears to vanish is Accounting Fraud 101, as practiced famously by Enron; it's the kind of thing that got us into a huge financial crisis.
Attempts to sell a system people don't understand as "fair" are also doomed. Would you enter into a potentially expensive financial situation with someone who told you that it's OK, it's not actually as expensive as it seems, it'll all be fine, you just have to pay for it for the rest of your life? This is very much the sort of thing that puts people from poor financial backgrounds off coming to university. They will be afraid of debt - and rightly so.
Generally I've been somewhere between disappointed and concerned about the lack of open dissent within the coalition. It's clear that a strategic decision has been made to present a united front to the world, to placate the invisible bond vigilantes and deal with all the people who were afraid that a coalition government would be indecisive. But there's no value in being decisive in the direction of a misguided policy. And vandalising higher education is not the way to go. Like some of the recent cost-cutting measures, it's the eqivalent of burning your furniture to save on heating bills.
Even under a coalition, Parliament doesn't really support discussion and dissent. These are difficult decisions, and they're being made rapidly in a non-public way. That alone makes me suspicious.
(What would I do? Put corporation tax back up to the level it used to be under Thatcher, for a start; implement the LD proposed "mansion tax"; have a proper go at tax avoidance schemes - fund HMRC properly; and defer cuts a while until the economic situation has improved)