A pledge is not a pledge if…

5 Dec

In an exclusive interview with The Independent, the Liberal Democrat leader and Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg told the paper that he did not regret the party’s proposal on the increased university tuition fees despite student backlash.

As he puts it, ” If there’s one thing I’m not going to apologise for as the leader of the Liberal Democrats in government after 60 or 70 years of being out of government, it’s that you just cannot avoid but deal with the world the way it is.”

This leaves one to second guess whether Mr Clegg remembered his promise to the students during the elections. As Rentoul points out, Mr Clegg signed the National Union of Sanctimoniousness pledge which assures students that the party will not increase tuition fees. In breaking that promise, it begs the perennial question of whether the Liberal Democrats can be trusted (given students are its core mobilisers and supporters during the elections).

As The National Union of Students President, Aaron Porter said in a BBC report,

“Students looked and listened when the Liberal Democrats said that they were going to abolish tuition fees, at the time of the general election.

Tens of thousands of students voted for the Liberal Democrats on that basis. We are still looking and listening for when the Liberal Democrats are going to stick to their promise.

I think they would be well served to show a little humility and suggest why they have let down so many students.”

In a letter to Mr Clegg, Porter claimed that the new party’s proposal to increase tuition fees is ‘foolish and extremely risky approach to funding the higher education sector, with a rapid move to an unconstrained market of universities in which students pay almost the whole cost of teaching’.

No doubt, this legislation is aimed at further privatising UK higher education which has been vigorously desisted by students and academics as they intensified with their nation-wide demonstrations, petitions and sit-ins.


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