Outside the marginals

a commentary on the politics that followed the UK 2010 & 2015 elections

Archive for the tag “tuition fees”

Labour’s “Tuition Fees” moment?

Do you remember about five years ago when another party’s spokesman said he was for a policy opposite to that in their manifesto, then against the policy, then reversed his position again and then his party got in a shambles – some voting for a policy they said they were against, some abstaining, and a few voting in accordance with their previous manifesto? It really pissed off a significant portion of their supporter base. Read more…

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End of Term Report: Liberal Democrats

The Liberal Democrats, possibly slightly to their surprise found themselves holding the balance of power at the last election and that led to them going into coalition. So how have they done in the last five years?

How do we measure what they have done? On one hand we can measure “how well they have governed” – if we can agree what we mean by “well”. On the other hand we can look at it from the point of view of raw politics. Read more…

A Programme for the Majority?

Just imagine the following programme for government:

  • Reform
    • A shake up of Westminster
    • Abolition of the House of Lords
    • A fair voting system
  • Public Services
    • No tuition fees
    • Educational Maintenance Allowance including part-time college students
    • The NHS in public hands, halting the tide of NHS privatisation
    • Abolition of prescription charges
    • Explicit protection for the NHS on the face of the TTIP agreement
  • Fairness
    • Pensions that protect our older people.
    • A decent welfare system that helps people into work
    • Eradication of working practices that have no place in a decent, modern economy
    • a Living Wage nation
    • Strengthening of the law against domestic abuse – speed up the court process, give more support to victims, and expand schemes to help offenders change their behaviour
    • Gender Equality: Removal of Systemic and institutional barriers – the pay gap, occupational segregation, a lack of affordable childcare and, sometimes, just outdated attitudes
  • Other
    • No new generation of Trident nuclear weapons
    • Deficit reduction but not slash and burn austerity
    • Stay in Europe

If we could break the internal coalitions in the old elitist parties, could we envisage a parliamentary coalition to support this programme? Read more…

Clearing the deficit is taxing

Taxes “must” be increased to cut the deficit after the next general election, Nick Clegg has said.
BBC News Website 5 October 2014 : Lib Dem conference: Clegg urges tax rise to cut deficit

Oh dear, a politician telling us a painful truth. Read more…

Manifesto: Introduction

We are now less than a year from an Election and there is much speculation about how various parties are going to do. Doubtless come the Autumn conferences we shall start to see policy proposals coalesce into manifestos.

It will be interesting (post “tuition fees”) whether parties are a bit more cautious as to what they promise or whether they will make “red line” statements that may inhibit any coalition formation.

Read more…

“Selective Universities” select students from selective schools

Private school pupils are more likely to go to top universities, despite efforts to widen access, data suggests.

Some 64% of privately educated A-level students got into the most selective universities in 2010-11, against 24% of state school pupils. BBC News Website 8 August 2013: Judith Burns: Private school pupils keep university advantage

Should we be surprised? Read more…

Apologies and Promises

Political Apologies seem to be hitting the headlines again. Two years ago we had the British Prime Minister being cheered in (London)Derry for his apology following the Bloody Sunday Inquiry (The Saville Inquiry).  Then this month we had him again apologising in response to the Hillsborough report (The Hillsborough Independent Panel).  Yet he was not responsible for either event, so in some respects, the apologies (sincere though I believe they were) are a bit odd.

Nick Clegg’s “broken promises” apology (in respect of tuition fees) is a slightly different beast. Read more…

Paying for these students

Although the Liberals have got in an improper little twist over their stance on Tuition Fees, we should not let the amazement / outrage / incomprehensibility of their situation over-shadow what is to be done about higher education. Read more…

A hard lesson for the Liberal Democrats

It seemed so easy; get photographed signing a pledge that you would oppose tuition fees and work to abolish them. But then you end up in Government and unable to implement your manifesto. No wonder students are giving the Lib Dems a look that would put them six feet under – or possibly 120 times that depth. Read more…

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