What a snivelling apology it was from Nick Clegg, brimming over with green biled insincerity. There was only one reason that Nick Clegg made that apology – and it has nothing to do with remorse, or an acceptance of his mistake, it was plainly and simply another shoddy attempt to save his own skin.
Let’s look at the facts – the Lib-Dems went into the last general election saying that they would not increase tuition fees for undergraduate students and would work to remove them altogether and restore free further education. It became one of their flagship policies at the last general election as they tried to woo students and reminded us all how Labour had introduced Student Fees and The Tories would increase them.
For some of us, it became an important policy as we toyed with the issue of where to entrust our vote. Personally, I am someone who gained from being able to go to University for free, I am appalled that my own children won’t have that opportunity if they are in any way academically inclined. And so, when Clegg appeared on TV with his ripped up bits of paper promising to end tuition fees, it was an attractive policy to me, and no doubt many others.
Then within months of taking his place in the coalition – the Lib-Dems, without any real debate and some mouse-like dissent from within (some went into the opposition lobbies, no one put up the barricades) scrapped this policy and supported not only the retention of tuition fees, but their increase.
Shame on him.
And now, a year or so down the line, with his leadership being questioned and the Lib-Dems facing the prospect of electoral catastrophe – Clegg appears on TV again, this time, apologising for reneging on that promise and asserting that it was an ‘unwise commitment anyway.’
As though that somehow makes it all alright.
Well it doesn’t. All it does is demonstrate that Nick Clegg is a politician who is not very clever, has no insight, and, as demonstrated by having the policy in the first place and then apologising in such a mealy-mouthed way for ditching it, cares more about his own popularity than he does about the direction in which our country is going.
Perhaps Nick Clegg should apologise for a few other things whilst he’s in the mood. Here’s my list:
- The Part Privatisation of the NHS;
- The savage cuts to housing benefit;
- Unemployment rising, particularly long term unemployment and youth unemployment;
- The death of our economy;
- The fiasco over Electoral Reform;
- The fiasco over House of Lords Reform;
- The introduction of Free Schools, leading to the most inequitable system of education in this country since the 1944 Education Act;
- The reduction in funding for Sure Start and other family friendly pre-school initiatives;
- The failure to bring the troops home from Afghanistan;
- The failure to end detention of young children in Asylum Centres;
And so on…….
Please feel free to add to the list.