Lib Dems petition Clegg over tuition fees

Seacombe's Cllr Adrian Jones, a former teacher in Higher Education, shares the students' views of the government's increases to tuition fees.

Monday, 29, Nov 2010

Wirral students are reported to be planning further demonstrations to show their disappointment following the Tory-led government’s policy on tuition fees.  They are said to be particularly dismayed at the Liberals for not keeping their pre-election pledges.  Meanwhile, it seems our local students are by no means alone in their view of the Lib Dems.

“The Liberal Democrats deserve years in the wilderness if the party abandons its pledge on higher education funding….”  over 100 of the party’s general election candidates have told Nick Clegg.  

Many young people from lower and middle income families will now find it impossible to take university degree courses because of their fear of being saddled with years of debt.

A petition signed by unsuccessful candidates from the May 2010 poll urges the deputy prime minister to reconsider the coalition government’s proposals to increase the cap on tuition fees to £9,000. All Lib Dem candidates signed a pledge promising to oppose any increase in tuition fees. But Mr Clegg now says changed circumstances mean the party’s former policy is no longer possible.   But  “The wording of this pledge clearly indicated that this would be unconditional,” the petitioners state.  

They point out Mr Clegg’s promise during the election that the Lib Dems are different because:  “When we say we will do something during election campaigns we then do it in government”.   

“We are different and must show that we are; especially now that we are in a position to do so,” the petition states. “Otherwise this party will rightly face many more years back in the political wilderness having been labelled as ‘just like the other lot’.”  

The activists’ petition criticises the broader approach of the coalition’s taxation policy, contrasting the 60% top rate of tax under Margaret Thatcher with the current 50% top rate. It calls the £2.9 billion raised by the tuition fees hike a “drop in the ocean” and asks: “Is this price worth the loss of our party’s integrity and our values?  “If not then we must let the leadership know how we feel and stop these fees from rising while we still can.”  

Mr Clegg faces intense political pressure over the tuition fees issue, following last Wednesday’s protests by students on Whitehall and on university campuses across the country.  

Another ‘day of action’ is expected to take place tomorrow. 

Across the country students voted in large numbers for Liberal candidates because of their election promises last May.  Now they are demonstrating in even greater numbers, across the country, against what they see as broken promises.  Here in Wirral students have already made their mark by marching and demonstrating – and the grapevine tells us they plan more in the weeks ahead. 

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  1. Paul (Wallasey) says:

    The Business Secretary Vince Cable, The Cabinet minister in charge of tuition fees will abstain in a key vote on the Government’s policy if that is what fellow Liberal Democrat MPs decide to do as a group, he said; he is prepared to take the unprecedented step of not backing his own proposals for the sake of party unity.

    They all signed a pre-election pledge to oppose a rise in tuition fees. Now they sit back and allow the Tories to pursue their ideological cuts. Do the Lib Dems actually think people will forgive them if they abstain in the vote?

    Somehow we have to get these Tories out. Our nation’s future depends on it! The only way I can see that being possible is for the Lib Dems to realise their election promises and to end the coalition.

    The Tories have broken the coalition agreement terms. They are walking all over the Lib Dems and crushing their voice. Nick Clegg has become David Cameron’s whipping boy.

    Our Country will not survive if we don’t do something about it soon! At any future demonstrations we all need to call for an end to the Coalition in addition to saying no to the fee rises.

    Let the Lib Dems see and hear the Country no longer supports this marriage and feels a divorce is long overdue!

    The Lib Dems are the Tories puppet party!!

    Nick Clegg hold your head and (two?) faces in shame. You are putting people off going to higher education; your deceit has put people off politics. Furthermore nick Clegg YOU and YOUR cronies will make sure no one will believe a LIBDEM again. Now take your smiling two faces and clear off.

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