+++ Tuition fees passes 323 vs 302

Ayes to the right 323, Noes to the left 302. The Ayes have it, the Ayes have it.

A very tight vote. Passes by more than the Lib Dem payroll vote of 18 but not by much.

Names either way will be available when Hansard prints them.

EDIT 1 – payroll vote diminished by 2 resigning PPSes, Jenny Willott and Mike Crockart, and of course Chris Huhne’s absence in Cancún.

Also one Conservative PPS.

EDIT 2 – Evan Harris of course is no longer an MP but had a piece for The Guardian today explaining why he would have voted against, but also giving both sides of the case.

UPDATE:

We’ll update this list of Lib Dem MPs with their votes on the two votes (to raise the maximum to £9,000 and to raise the standard to £6,000) as the information comes in:

Danny Alexander (Cabinet) – voted for
Norman Baker (Minister) – voted for
Alan Beith – voted for
Gordon Birtwistle (PPS) – voted for
Tom Brake – voted for
Annette Brooke – voted against
Jeremy Browne (Minister) – voted for
Malcolm Bruce – voted for
Paul Burstow (Minister) – voted for
Lorely Burt – abstained
Vincent Cable – voted for
Menzies Campbell – voted against
Alistair Carmichael (Whip) – voted for
Nick Clegg (Cabinet) – voted for
Michael Crockart (PPS, resigned today) – voted against
Edward Davey (Minister) – voted for
Tim Farron (Party President from 1st Jan) – voted against
Lynne Featherstone (Minister) – voted for
Don Foster – voted for
Andrew George – voted against
Stephen Gilbert (Whip) – voted for
Duncan Hames (PPS) – voted for
Mike Hancock – voted against
Nick Harvey (Minister) – voted for
David Heath (Minister) – voted for
John Hemming – voted for
Martin Horwood – out of country
Simon Hughes (Deputy Leader) – abstained
Chris Huhne (Cabinet) – out of country
Mark Hunter (Whip) – voted for
Julian Huppert – voted against
Charles Kennedy – voted against
Norman Lamb (PPS) – voted for
David Laws – voted for
John Leech – voted against
Stephen Lloyd – voted against
Michael Moore (Cabinet) – voted for
Greg Mulholland – voted against
Tessa Munt (Whip) – abstained
John Pugh – voted against
Alan Reid – voted against
Dan Rogerson – voted against
Bob Russell – voted against
Adrian Sanders – voted against
Robert Smith (Whip) – voted for
Andrew Stunell (Minister) – voted for
Ian Swales – voted against
Jo Swinson (PPS) – voted for
Sarah Teather (Minister) – voted for
John Thurso – abstained
David Ward – voted for
Steve Webb (Minister) – voted for
Mark Williams – voted against
Roger Williams – voted against
Stephen Williams – abstained
Jenny Willott (PPS, resigned today) – voted against
Simon Wright – voted against

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71 Comments

  • A day Lib Dems will never be allowed to forget. Tawdry and shameful.

  • i feel physically sick at what the lib dems have done

    i wish i could go back on my vote for you

    you are finished as a party. i hope you are all proud of yourselves

  • Shame on them all.

    Those that either abstained or voted for have not a shred of integrity and I hope they suffer at the ballot box.

  • vince thurnell 9th Dec '10 - 5:54pm

    So this is the new type of politics Clegg promised. I think i prefer the old type of politics.

  • Shame on LibDem MP’s and this condemned government. Young people won’t forget. LibDems, you will now disappear as a party. Shame Shame Shame on you. At the same time Osborne wants to soften the bank levy! Unbelievable!

    New Politics Clegg???????

  • This is a really sad day for all those working class young people who now have no hope.

  • Tony Dawson 9th Dec '10 - 6:14pm

    Only half the Lib Dem MPs voted stupidly.

  • Andy Robinson 9th Dec '10 - 6:14pm

    “No more broken promises”?

    I don’t know whether to laugh or to cry…

  • The one thing that puzzles me most about this whole debacle is why Nick Clegg and his team have not got the message across to the wider public that the financial situation on entering office was far worse than when the manifesto was written. I have seen numerous interviews and the really strong arguments have just not got across. Telling people that what we are doing is the right thing in the circumstances is meaningless. We should be convincing the public that labour left the coffers empty and the huge amounts of debt we inherited prevent us from standing by some Manifesto pledges.

    Let us hope that those who write the Manifestos in future learn that you should not make pledges until you know that you can carry them out.

    Apart from that, we are in the process of destroying ease of access to a higher education system where lack of parental income is no barrier to entry.

  • The Lib Dems didn’t win a majority at the General Election. Therefore we had to go into coalition with the Tories (going into coalition with Labour was impossible especially as too many Labour MPs were not interested).
    A Tory minority government would have produced another General Election within a year or so which the Tories would have won (you only need to see history to work that out).
    We have produced concessions through the agreement which were much greater than we would have expected. I don’t think that going on a rather naive pledge outweighs those.

  • Liberal Neil 9th Dec '10 - 6:27pm

    @John Earle – because it isn’t really true.

    There is a strong argumnet that the situation was more urgent than at the time the manifesto was written, with the crisis in Greece coinciding with the last week of the election campaign and the coalition negotiations.

    However the overall level of indebtedness, and the size of the deficit, was not that different to the figures the manifesto was based on.

  • Identifying the names of pledge-signers who’ve voted for, or abstained, will be the objective of many individuals and groups, including me. They are responsible for undermining democracy in this country.

  • John Earle, perhaps they realise that saying “oh, well we had to break so many of our promises because the economy is in a bad way” is just daft and will not fly with the public. Up until the very day of the election, when Clegg et al knew that there was probably going to be a hung parliament and he’d be the kingmaker, he was still telling us that tuition fees were terrible and he’d vote against, that early and deep cuts would damage the economy and that a VAT rise would be damaging.

    Suddenly that all changed straight after the election – all these claims were ditched with the excuse that the economy was worse than he thought. That either shows incredible stupidity on his part (by not knowing about the state of the economy until that very moment) or utter contempt for the voting public by expecting them to happily swallow that pathetic justification for ditching what he claimed to believe in.

  • Dave Besag,

    “A Tory minority government would have produced another General Election within a year or so which the Tories would have won (you only need to see history to work that out).”

    Do you have any evidence to support this assertion? I know that Clegg and his acolytes have trotted it out ad nauseam to justify their perfidy, but I don’t think anyone has yet made a serious attempt to back it up with actual evidence. Perhaps someone might try?

    By “history”, I take it you are referring to Ted Heath’s “Who runs the country?” election?

    According to the BBC, 21 Liberal Democrat MPs voted against, which is 7 more than most pundits were predicting. That’s a fair start. We can oust the collaborators and reclaim our party if we really have a mind to do so. The “coalition” was bounced on the party at break-neck speed on the false prospectus that (a) there was no alternative, and (b) the Liberal Democrats would have genuine influence. We would have had far more influence if we had forced the Tories to govern as a minotiry, including no increase in student tuition fees. And the opinion polls would have forced Cameron to accept it. Clearly, certain people had different agendas.

  • I was duped by Clegg and his new politics and the ‘no more broken promises’ broadcast. I feel so ashamed that I was stupid enough to vote for them and tried to coax others to do the same.

    To see the LibDem ministerial payroll vote this through makes me feel totally sick. As for the abstentions – why get paid for doing a job when you sit on your hands. To those Lib Dems that voted against – Thank You. Now take back your party. Though I shall never vote for you again. As for your next manifesto – just issue blank pieces of paper and say you will decide after you see how the election goes – anything else would be dishonest.

    The Lib Dem brand will be forever synonymous with electoral fraud. I have no time for PhIl Woolas and his odious leaflets but he is an amateur compared to the fraud perpetrated on the electorate by the Lib Dems. You should hang you heads in shame!

  • @John Earle
    “…the financial situation on entering office was far worse than when the manifesto was written.”

    It wasn’t. The financial situation was better. But let’s keep on topic, as this has nothing to do with tuition fees.

  • I feel so ashamed that i’ve contributed to this by voting Lib Dem. I will never vote for the Liberal Democrats again. Whether you are in govt or not, you have to honour your pre-election promises, not doing so erodes our democratic system. RIP Liberal Democrat party, for a while there you offered us hope.

  • John Earle

    I suspect the reason they haven’t got the message across is because it isn’t true … and Osborne’s statement to the Treasury Select Committee that he is saving up £10 billion of off balance sheet receipts from privatisation (presumably for pre-election tax cuts – or bribes as they are commonly known) proves it. You have also obviously failed to read the many detailed analyses which show that this makes no contribution to addressing the deficit.

    Dave Besag

    It is not just the u-turn on the manifesto that disgusts so many of us, it is the breaking of a personal pledge to the electorate by individual MPs. I heard Nick Clegg claim on Radio 5 yesterday that the pledge only applied if they won power. Anybody who has read the pledge (particularly the second half) would realise that that is an utterly ridiculous argument.

    I think the Lib Dems need to find a way of dealing with the leadership’s refusal to accept party policy. The breaking of the pledge is an insult to democracy; the threat to sack any minister who voted against the rise in tuition fees is an insult to the Liberal Democrats’ internal democracy.

  • David Allen 9th Dec '10 - 6:38pm

    Congratulations and thanks to Mike Crockart and Jenny Willott for showing that some Lib Dems can still put their principles first.

  • I heard on Twitter that the Lib Dems were threatened if they didn’t vote…
    Disgusting if true.

    This was a major test of integrity and you failed it big time.

  • Well done to all those MPs who bravely voted for a more progressive system today, despite the temptations of the quick and easy political fix of voting no. This is the first step towards better HE funding.

  • heather taylor 9th Dec '10 - 6:55pm

    I voted for you as did my son and many, many students. You have gone back on your promises and have taught the next generation that it is ok to go back on your word, to lie and to not have any integrity. Well done, will never vote for you again.
    Cynical, yes, sad for the next generation. You are just Tory puppets, what a shame, thought you were different.

  • David Lawson 9th Dec '10 - 6:57pm

    Would it be better to put back the AV referendum? Otherwise it is going to offer a tempting way of getting back the Lib Dems. I understood the pitch to be that once people saw the new policitcs in action they would want more of it. We may need to wait a while before arguing that.

  • I’m thinking of 1964 and February 1974. In 1964 Labour had a very small majority of four in 1964. They then called a General Election in 1966 where they gained 48 seats. We also gained three seats but seeing as we had only six to start with we couldn’t have gone any lower.
    In February 1974 Labour were the largest party but did not have a majority. They then called a General Election in October 1974 where they gained 20 seats and got a majority.
    Furthermore, whenever the Tories have gained a majority post WW2 we have lost seats (33% in 1951, 50% in 1970 and a couple in 1979).

    Cameron wouldn’t have tolerated a minority government threatening him for long. If he did that his backbench members would have eventually forced him out and created a General Election where we would have been hammered by them. Additonally, there was the Special Conference so no-one was bounced into anything.

  • Mike(The Labour one) 9th Dec '10 - 6:59pm

    @John Earle: Because the opposite is true.

    http://www.spectator.co.uk/coffeehouse/6080418/osbornes-headache.thtml

    ‘The below chart sums up the extraordinary announcement from the Office for Budget Responsibility. George Osborne did his best to maintain the “things are worse than we thought” line but the reverse is true. Unemployment, inflation, the deficit – everything is better than not only the Treasury forecast but better than the market had been preparing for. (And Citibank, which compiled the graph, thinks things will get better still – because the economy will keep surprising in the upside). ‘

    ‘What jumped out at me was that the OBR says that on current government policy (ie, without Osborne’s recent £5.7bn of cuts, on the Darling trajectory) the structural deficit would be reduced from 8% now to 2.8% in 2014-15. That is to say, Osborne’s manifesto pledge – to eliminate “the bulk” of the structural deficit – would have happened under Darling. So no extra cut, or tax hike, is needed to meet this pledge. ‘

    From the mouth of one of your own, Fraser Nelson.

  • Anthony Aloysius St 9th Dec '10 - 7:02pm

    So, according to reports, three-eighths of the Lib Dem parliamentary party actually voted against the rise in fees. I suppose that’s something. Perhaps it means that when the Cleggite wing reaches its – surely by now inevitable – accommodation with the Tories there will be a little band capable of surviving independently. That’s the most hopeful idea I can extract from the wreckage.

    And with that, it seems like an appropriate time for me to sign off from Lib Dem Voice. It’s not really possible to carry on any meaningful discussion when every comment is held for hours “awaiting moderation.” (As if comments on a blog were ever going to change anyone’s vote!)

  • TheContinentalOp 9th Dec '10 - 7:05pm

    Congratulations to those Lib Dems who stood up to their leadership and voted the way they promised the electorate they would. I now hope they, and the wider party membership who support them, go on and fight for the soul of their party. The country needs them.

  • According to The Guardian:

    The 27 Lib Dems who voted for the government were: Danny Alexander (Inverness, Nairn, Badenoch and Strathspey), Norman Baker (Lewes), Sir Alan Beith (Berwick-upon-Tweed), Gordon Birtwistle (Burnley), Tom Brake (Carshalton & Wallington), Jeremy Browne (Taunton Deane), Malcolm Bruce (Gordon), Paul Burstow (Sutton & Cheam), Vincent Cable (Twickenham), Alistair Carmichael (Orkney & Shetland), Nick Clegg (Sheffield Hallam), Edward Davey (Kingston & Surbiton), Lynne Featherstone (Hornsey & Wood Green), Don Foster (Bath), Stephen Gilbert (St Austell and Newquay), Duncan Hames (Chippenham), Nick Harvey (Devon North), David Heath (Somerton & Frome), John Hemming (Birmingham Yardley), Norman Lamb (Norfolk North), David Laws (Yeovil), Michael Moore (Berwickshire, Roxburgh & Selkirk), Andrew Stunell (Hazel Grove), Jo Swinson (Dunbartonshire East), Sarah Teather (Brent Central), David Ward (Bradford East), and Steve Webb (Thornbury and Yate).

  • Paul Kennedy 9th Dec '10 - 7:12pm

    David Lawson: no I think the vote makes AV more urgent. Only with AV will MPs in safe seats be forced to listen to their constituents. At the moment they are forced to follow the party line or risk deselection.

  • I joined the Libdems last December as Nick Clegg seemed the only party leader who inspired real loyalty and belief in who he was and what he stood for. Clearly he wasn’t.

    I won’t be renewing my membership.

  • David Lawson 9th Dec '10 - 7:16pm

    Paul, perhaps you are right. Perhaps not. But surely the chance that it is lost is now quite high. It is going to be portrayed as a way to get more of this.

  • As a life long Liberal/Lib Dem, I have never felt so ashamed.

    I wish to humbly apologise to all those I inadvertently lied to on the doorstep last spring. In particular I’d like to apologise to those 6th Form College students who did loads of work because of our Tuition Fee pledge.

  • How can these people live with themselves? Because they have no integrity and no conscience. They are not worthy to sit in Parliament.

  • Well that’s it then. i can no longer be a member of or associated with this bad joke.

    I will do my best to convince my friends and family to vote against the lib dems. I should have little trouble, as I convinced many of them to cautiously vote for the party at the last election.

    The thing I find really odd is this: The fee rises weren’t necessary economically (the figures show that the new policy will not result in a reduced deficit), the premise for the fee rise was based on a right-wing philosophy of education which the lib dems (and one can only hope their MPs) have consistently opposed since the party was forrmed, for lib dem MP’s to vote for them was undoubtedly ethically wrong from the point of view of the signed unconditional NUS pledges.

    So the only reason some lib dem MPs had to actually vote for the policies was careerism.

    Yet what career do they think they will have saved by doing this? A vote against the fee rise and a principled stand was clearly the lib dem party’s only hope of electoral salvation. Now, come the next election, it seems likely that most lib dem MPs will be voted out//// so they haven’t saved their skins for more than 4 years at the most (but realistically after the AV vote fails, which it will, there will probably be some sort of end to this shambles). Not only that, but the people who are in positions of power now (Clegg and Alexander et al) almost certainly will be removed by the party in anticipation of or after the next election…. which means that lib dem MPs looking for careerist patronage from Clegg will have sold their souls to the devil for nothing.

    It is truly bizarre that these lib dems MPS voted for this (even the careerist reasons don’t seem to hold up for the non-deluded, but perhaps they are deluded). In particular I would like to single out Jo Swinson for the particular honour of being a lib dem MP who will continue to vote against a fee rise in Scotland, whilst voting for a fee rise in England… shameless careerism seems like the only plausible explanation in this case.

    I hope every lib dem MP who voted for a fee hike is unelected at the next election, I truly feel sorry for the principled MP’s and the decent party members who were on board the ship when Clegg decided to sink it.

  • I can’t believe I voted for Liberal Democrat.
    I can’t believe I EVER thought they were something different to the other two parties.
    Nothing more than Conservatives in drag.

    I will take great pleasure in not only voting against you in every election. For the next 40 years – How long btw, it will probably take me to pay back the debt you have condemned me to.
    But I will also take such pleasure in not only voting NO to AV but canvassing and encouraging every single member I know in College, in Uni, my relatives, my friends to also vote no.
    Never will forget. Never will forgive.

  • Dave Besag,

    You are wrong on a number of points:

    (1) In 1966, Labour had been in power as a majority government for a year. Harold Wilson did not, as Clegg supporters maintain David Cameron would do, keep calling general elections every three months until he got the result he wanted.

    (2) In February 1974, Ted Heath called a “Who runs the country?” election, to capitalise on a period of temporary popularity, and lost. Would Cameron take the same risk?

    (3) In Otcober 1974, Harold Wilson called a second general election and only just won. His wafer thin majority succumbed to byelection losses two years later.

    (4) Prime Ministers only ever call general elections when (a) they have run out of time or (b) their parties have enjoyed substantial and sustained opinion-poll leads.

    (5) If Cameron could have won a second general election as easily as Clegg supporters maintain, why didn’t he call one anyway?

    (6) The Special Conference was held immediately after the negotiations had been concluded with no time being given for members to think about what they were doing or to mobilise opposition.

  • Congratulations to those who voted yes to support sustainable funding for world-class education. Shame on those who want populist dreamy policies that would inevitably condemn world-class British universities to a pathetic imitation of the French system.

  • James Jones 9th Dec '10 - 8:23pm

    I support Nick Clegg and the rest of the MPs who voted for this new policy. A 21st century Britain requires world-class universities. To have world-class universities, you need high levels of funding. That could either be provided by the taxpayer, or by the graduate. Since the graduates receive the most direct benefit from their education, they should bear the brunt of paying for it (paying for it after they earn enough money to be able to afford it).

    The mistake was signing that stupid tuition fees pledge. The Lib Dem leadership have had a harsh lesson in the dangers of hostages to fortune. We have all learned a harsh lesson in government. To govern is to choose. To hear everyone on here whine and groan, I say maybe you’re not cut out for real-world politics.

  • @Anthony Aloysius St

    A small plea – please don’t go…your consistent independent analysis of these proposals over the weeks deserves praise.

  • It’s not going to solve the basic issue, which is that most students over the past ten years have been sold a lemon. Degree’s are now so commonplace as to be virtually worthless as anything other than a ticked box on an application form, and post 2008 the graduate salary advantage has withered on the vine. State funding going to worthless degrees like sports tourism management is an insult to the tax payer, and frankly a cruel trick played on those who are encouraged to waste money and time on them. This does nothing to encourage those of only genuine academic ability to attend university.

  • Your party has bought dishonour on you and on democracy today.

    There are so many good, intelligent, caring people in your party. How the hell did you allow this to happen?

    Those who abstained are as guilty as those who voted for. I salute the many who had the courage of their principles and voted against at the expense of their ambitions.

    While Clegg and Cable continue to hold positions of trust in your party, I will not vote for you again and I will do all I can to make others vote against you.

    I am sickened by the intellectual and moral dishonesty of your leaders.

    I am sickened by the act of cultural vandalsim you have enabled today.

    I am sickened to have believed that you offered hope for change.

  • vince thurnell 9th Dec '10 - 9:35pm

    What has gone on today is not just the destruction of your party but the destruction of politics in this country. There are now millions of people that feel that no political party represents them and there is no difference between all of the three main parties. What we saw in London is just the start as i now feel a very large percentage of voters feel they have no option but to take to the streets because all of the three main parties have betrayed them.
    For the first time ever i doubt i’ll vote in the next elections because to be quite honest there is no point. With a few exceptions in each party , our MP’S care nothing about either the public or indeed the party they are supposed to represent. They are driven by greed and power and they don’t care who they betray to get it. Democracy in this country is a farce as we have politicians that care only about themselves. For a short time i thought the Lib Dems offered something different but when it comes down to it your MP’S are no better (or worse) than those of the other parties.

  • I I don’t recognise the country I live in anymore. I actually cried when I heard the result of the ballot, even though I fully expected the result. You, the Liberal Democrats, have reversed 50 years of progress in one day – in partnership with the Tories. That would be bad enough if you hadn’t lied to get yourself votes in the first place. I love your argument that you can now abandon the promise on fees because things are different now you’re in Coalition – maybe by the same token I can cheat on my husband if I meet someone better looking, who I didn’t know when I married him? See how hypocritical you are? Or maybe (most likely) you just don’t care. This whole administration is about people who clearly think they’re born to rule talking down to voters, claiming we just don’t understand, or haven’t examined the policy properly. No, Clegg – we have brain cells (some people who go to state schools do, you know) and we HATE WHAT YOU’RE DOING! I don’t want to stick around to see a public school elite, with no understanding of ordinary people’s lives, destroy everything I have always held dear about our country. Don’t give me guff about ‘the terrible mess Labour has left us with’ yada yada yada meaning ‘there is no alternative’. We know what’s really going on; the Coalition is about the ‘ruling class’ getting the reins of power back and putting everyone else firmly in their place. And I just hope the Lib Dems who either voted for this vindictive policy, or abstained today, can sleep tonight. They’ve sold their souls, and I hope they are annihilated as a party because of it. As for me, I’ll be wondering how to tell my kids that their dreams of educating themselves and aspiring to a better future will have to be abandoned.

  • How on earth the Lib Dems got themselves in this mess is a complete mystery, but they have got themselves in this mess and it’s all so very disappointing because I for one thought they may be the answer to the madness of Tories/Labour and their repeating of mistakes, but the Lib Dems were given a chance and oh how they blew it with their outrageous lack of conviction.

    What has happened here isn’t just bad for the Lib Dems, it’s bad for politics, not one word Nick Clegg utters in the next five years will have any credibility, not one, because the Lib Dems spoke with a forked tongue to get votes, and unlike Labour and Tories, they don’t have a spin machine to try and talk their way out of it, which in some ways should be good, but actually, it’s awful because they said one thing with conviction and did another with a whimper.

  • daft ha'p'orth 10th Dec '10 - 1:23am

    @Lindsay
    I cried, too. I don’t recognise this country any more. I think the only reason I’m still remotely positive about the future is the fact that my family are bilingual, so work and university outside the English-speaking world is quite possible.

    If the people of this country want to be ruled by duplicitous upper-class dolts without an ounce of moral fibre between them, they can’t be stopped. If my MP wants to be karmically reincarnated as Nick Clegg’s lapdog, then it’s entirely his choice. Next election… who cares what combination of Cleggaron-Miliband occupy the prime ministerial rose garden?

    By a curious coincidence, last February was the 30th anniversary of “Yes, Minister.”

  • Peter

    Yes there was a gain from the Tories but there was also a loss to Labour in Warrington. Surely the last one should be more worrying if you consider the political leanings of LD voters. If you start losing votes to Labour in the Midlands and North then a few scraps from the Tories will not compensate. If the Tory party votes are now the party’s target then it will mean turning from a centre-left party to centre-right to look for these votes. Difficult to imagine with Cameron being in charge.

    Bewsey & Whitecross, Warrington UA. Lab gain from LD. Lab 1032 (71.1%, +18.1), LD 221 (15.2%, -16.5), Con 118 (8.1, -7.1), Green 47 (3.2%, +3.2, Ind 33 (2.2%, +2.2). Swing of 17.3% from LD to Lab since May this year.

    Labour have still got to reinvent themselves after the Blair years and there is still time for the LD to benefit from this – the time is getting very short, however, and it is virtually impossible to imagine with Clegg in charge

  • Andrew Suffield 10th Dec '10 - 9:02am

    You, the Liberal Democrats, have reversed 50 years of progress in one day

    I hate to break it to you, but this policy is not what we had 50 years ago and nobody’s spent the past 50 years trying to undo it.

    There’s plenty of things wrong with the new system, but to claim it’s any kind of step backwards is farcical. It’s slightly better than Labour’s flat fee system, but otherwise mostly the same (total amount paid by most students will come out pretty much unchanged; rich students will pay slightly more, poor students will pay slightly less).

  • I voted Lib Dem I will never again. The campaign locally was ‘Vote Lib Dem to keep the Tories out’ and I felt strongly about tuition fees. I feel hugely betrayed and utterly patronised.

    No alternative? Actually the public debate hadn’t really happened yet. Why couldn’t fees be paid from current taxation? Why not a *current* graduate tax in which a generation who have done rather well might help to fund current students – instead of dumping all the debt onto the next generation? Why cut the teaching grant by 80% and not research? Is there a possibility that university efficiencies might have offset some of this – I feel this is at least partially possible. Why target a narrow section of society again – after child benefit? And most of all…. with the City of London mightily relieved at the tame action against excessive bonuses (*and salaries!*) why are savage cute being relentlessly aimed at the public sector and the lower middle classes?

    As a school student in the early 80’s I will always remember David Alton coming to my school to explain how the Liberal Party was clearly distinct from Labour and the Tories…but that the bigger ideological differences were with the Tories. It influenced me then and ever since. So how did it come to this and how have you people drifted so far from the real world. Your thirst for power has cost my family dearly.

    Never again.

  • Poppie's mum 10th Dec '10 - 9:53am

    I live in Ceredigion.

    Although Mark Williams voted against, it probably won’t be enough to save him at the next election.
    Local people are appalled at the Lib Dem leadership and their Tory cuts agenda.

    Hopefully Plaid Cymru will retake the seat in the future, I’ll be voting for them just to help oust Mark Williams.
    So will about 80% of those I know who voted Lib Dem on May 6th.

    Roll on May 6th, Welsh Assembly, local & AV elections.
    All a chance to show how Clegg, Cable, Alexander & pals just how angry we feel.

  • Poppie's mum 10th Dec '10 - 10:00am

    Antony Aloysius “And with that, it seems like an appropriate time for me to sign off from Lib Dem Voice. It’s not really possible to carry on any meaningful discussion when every comment is held for hours “awaiting moderation.” (As if comments on a blog were ever going to change anyone’s vote!)”

    Please carry on posting Antony.

    I cannot see why your posts are pre moderated, Lib Dem Voice seems very illiberal in that.
    You are never obscene, you always make good points.

    Still it must be hard and dispiriting work for Lib Dem activists these days, and moderating your posts may help them to avoid any semblance of the reality of what people outside the Lib Dem elite think and feel.

  • Peter Chegwyn 10th Dec '10 - 10:31am

    My earlier post to which bazsc replied seems to have disappeared… so here it is again:

    While many of our MPs were doing their best to press self-destruct yesterday I was doing what I’ve enjoyed doing for 36 years as a party member… giving the Tories a good kicking.

    There was a Council by-election in Fareham, Hampshire yesterday, next door to me in Gosport. The result? A Lib. Dem. Gain turning a Conservative majority of nearly 1,400 into a Liberal Democrat majority of 250 on a 36% swing.

    How does one do it? Same way as always. A good local candidate, a good local campaign with lots of good local Focus talking only about local issues… and no mention whatsoever of Nick Clegg and tuition fees.

    To those who think our Party is doomed thanks to the abysmal antics of the present Parliamentary leadership I’d simply say “Don’t resign”, don’t walk away, stay and fight because the Party outside Parliament, its principles and ideals, is still worth fighting for… and if we continue campaigning in the same way as we have always done then we can win sensational victories like that in Fareham yesterday even when our TV screens are full of the worst possible publicity for our Party in Parliament.

    I’m sorry to hear from bazsc about the loss to Labour in Warrington. I fear we will lose seats to Labour because our Mps have thrown their lot in with the Tories… but the purpose of my post was to show we can still win seats from the Tories even when their allies in the media are all saying we’re doomed.

  • @Anthony Aloysius St

    Don’t go. You are obviously touching a nerve.

  • @Anthony Aloysius St

    I think it would be a great pity if you ceased contributing to this site.

    On the wider issue re those who voted against for whatever reason – even those who were acting purely for principled reasons might be ousted at the next GE due to a general backlash against Clegg and the LibDem parly party.

    I suppose the next step for rank & file LibDem members is to decide what kind of party they actually want and whether they want it to remain a broad ‘church’ always bearing in mind that the centre-right currently control the Parly Party and this was shown in the vote although one should never underestimate the influence of the payroll vote but Clegg is in charge of that mechanism it must be remembered.

    I just don’t believe those LibDem MPs voting for or abstaining are that naive that they don’t know that the wholesale restructuring of uni teaching funding is nothing to do with getting kids from a poorer background to uni but all about a Tory ideological attack on public funding of unis mainly to suit the Russell Group members.

    However, there will be plenty more Tory attacks on the poor and disadvantaged and it will be interesting to see how long they are supported by LibDem MPs braying with their coalition partners about the state of the economy left by Labour as this charge is part of a tissue of lies and misinormation which is slowly disintegrating.

  • @James Jones
    “Since the graduates receive the most direct benefit from their education, they should bear the brunt of paying for it”

    Utter nonsense. Not all graduates receive the most benefit from their degree. I am a teacher in a inner city school; I feel that there are hundreds of students who are benefitting from my degree. The community and scoiety are benefitting not just me. Secondly you seem to imply by this that a degree is purely a mean to earn money. Despite returning to University to retrain as a teacher I now actually earn less than I did 10 years ago (working for the Liberal Democrats) – and I have a two year pay freeze to look forward to. Public service and a sense of pride motivate me not my own bank balance. I am proof that it is not true to say that graduates are the main beneficiaries and that merely having a degree isn’t a ticket to life of comfort. I suppose only the graduates themselves benefit from having medical, engineering, nursing or teaching degrees…. Utter nonsense.

  • Anthony Aloysius St 10th Dec '10 - 12:35pm

    Thanks for the various comments above.

    However, what’s clear above all from this is that – for all the claims that Lib Dems want a rational discussion of the issues – in fact they are not interested in discussing them at all.

    A case in point. I made a couple of comments on Paul Walter’s blog, where he had posted a remarkable article accusing students demonstrating against the scheme of being “complete tossers” because (in his view) they didn’t have a clue what they were talking about (in contrast to Walter’s own claim that he had “taken the trouble to read endlessly on the subject “):
    http://paulwalternewbury.wordpress.com/2010/12/09/university-funding-back-nick-and-spare-us-the-cant/

    After I had posted some comments attempting to set him straight on matters of factual accuracy, his response was to post a couple more comments himself and close the discussion. One of his closing comments demonstrated that he had not read what I’d written properly, and both showed he was not even aware of the final set of “concessions” announced by Vince Cable this week!

    So I will not be wasting any more time trying to engage Liberal Democrats in rational debate, either here or elsewhere.

  • Anthony Aloysius St: I would also like to say that, even just in a few months of commenting here, you have been a consistent ‘voice of reason’.

    Like others above, I found the reality of the vote distressing. It doesn’t seem that other options had been fully explored…

    For example, one could imagine a compromise position where a much more modest rise in fees – to £4000/year, say – could have been combined with a quid pro quo adoption of the ‘back loaded’ payment of the latest system. This could have been much more sell-able for the Lib Dems, i.e. “we’ve not been able to keep our pledge in the current circumstances but we’ve removed up-front fees…” And it would have seemed much more reasonable after the £6-9K figure had been mooted, showing Lib Dems had leverage.

    But, of course, such a compromise is ‘fantasy politics’ and would require that funding was maintained to uni education, rather than being cut by 80%. It would go against the ‘market’ the coalition want to introduce and the belief that graduate musicians, engineers, medics and so on and so on, DO add something to society and thus shouldn’t bear 100% of the cost themselves.

  • Andrew Suffield 10th Dec '10 - 6:55pm

    However, what’s clear above all from this is that – for all the claims that Lib Dems want a rational discussion of the issues – in fact they are not interested in discussing them at all.

    Certainly not interested in listening to you go on about something that was discussed to death weeks before, which is all most of your posts do.

  • @ Andrew Sufield
    Certainly not interested in listening to you go on about something that was discussed to death weeks before, which is all most of your posts do.”

    How discourteous, no wonder principled Lib Dems are leaving the party with this sort of attitude prevalent. I agree with Anthony Alotsius St, it is a complete waste of our time on here. I wonder if we have been reported as dissidents. I would say I would picket Lib Dem HQ but I fear I would get a visit from the anti- terrorist police. http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2010/dec/10/schoolboy-quizzed-cameron-office-picket
    This is what you have become part of. What will be used next on the student demonstrations?

  • @matt 10th December 2010 at 7:56 pm

    matt said: ‘I am amazed sometimes at how hostile some liberal democrat supporters can be’. I have to agree and say that I have been fascinated at the malevolance of some of the attacks, particularly against students but generally against anyone who doesn’t agree with their position.

    The only time in my life that I have previously encountered the same was in the 1970s from SNP supporters and their behaviour soured politics in Scotland for a long time.

    What has always underpinned my socialism is a belief in Democracy and I have friends across the political spectrum who are also Democrats in terms of allowing opponents to debate political issues free from personal abuse towards them individually, or as a group.

  • I agree with the comments about the condescending nature of the LibDem position on this – my daughter aged 15 was easily able to make these observations:

    How the cut in higher education funding was presented as a given – there is no choice (really?)
    The repeated assertion that the tens of thousands waiting for graduates to pay back when they start earning above a threshold is ‘not a debt’… (really?)
    The clear contradiction in Nick’s assertions in the same interview that a) it is the best and fairest outcome and b) you have to make compromises in coalition (…so you have to compromise your deeply held position to get to the best and fairest position…really?).

    I’m very proud of her as 15 year old pointing these things out clearly and strongly – my goodness me I never thought I would see young people so angry against the Lib Dems whom I had always seen as a pro-education and pro-youth party.

    This one was got badly wrong I’m afraid and burying your heads in the sands hoping it will all come right just will not work now.

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