From my view, from the sidelines, I have watched the last weeks event for the Lib Dems unfold, and as up till now have not felt able to comment, with any conviction.
I, like others I’m sure, have cogitated as to who may be right, morally and financially etc.
I can understand that there was a pre-election pledge, signed by many Lib Dem MP’s and the moral compass that followed, that the policy was no rise in tuition fees. That was what the Party decided and that is how it should be.
I also understand that we (Lib Dem’s) are in a Coalition Government with the Conservative Party. A move which meant that a lot of policies campaigned for during the election campaign had to fall by the wayside. If we believe in the Coalition working, then surely we have to trust the joint decisions made by Cabinet. Whether they are our views, or not, they have to be the best possible policy for the Country.
I can sympathise with those who have to face the public, on the doorstep, and told that they have reneged on promises. I also sympathise with those who feel let down by the Lib Dem Leadership. I understand the frustration that a U-turn has been made on a pre-election promise.
However, we are in a Coalition, which changes the rules (and election promises). I was critical of right wing Tories who stepped out of line in the early days of the Coalition and I’m afraid the same has to apply to ‘left’ wing Lib Dem’s.
If Lib Dem’s were not part of Coalition, the Browne Report would no doubt have still been adopted, in our absence and as an Opposition Party we would, no doubt, have vented our anger. But, we are part of the Coalition and as such although we are not in a position to overturn Browne, we are in a position to make a noise and negotiate the best we can out of it. No it’s not ideal but I guess that’s politics!!
The unfortunate thing (and not for the first time) is that it is a Liberal Democrat Minister that has to announce it.
I still believe that the Coalition was, and is, the best option for the Country and as such am willing to gamble on the Coalition policy. I cannot think that Vince Cable would go back on an election pledge if he had little option but so to do.
There is a long way to go and much more broken glass to cross before this Government is finished. In true fashion of crossing broken glass we must hold our nerve, tread carefully and keep our concentration on getting to the other side relatively unscathed, though there are bound to be cuts (pun intended).
As I have said before, surely it is better in the Coalition Government curbing Tory rule, than in opposition making negative noises against it, including in tuition fees.
p.s In case, dear reader, you are wondering, tuition fees may affect me as my son is angling to go to university in the coming few years.