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Stories from the vote

Michael Crick | 18:16 UK time, Thursday, 9 December 2010

A prominent Labour MP claims he heard a Tory whip shouting "kettling of Lib Dem MPs this way". Not the best way to make friends, perhaps.

And the Lib Dem MP for Argyll and Bute apparently put his head into the Labour lobby several times, then went away again several times, and kept coming back before finally, at the third or fourth look, voted with Labour.


  • Comment number 1.

    today we put the nail into the coffin that was free education and we are now in the market place.....just like America....

  • Comment number 2.

    Did perhaps the Lib Dem MP for Argyll and Bute think he was engaging in a game of Okey-Cokey? Bless!

  • Comment number 3.

    The ones that 'abstained' are worse than those that voted for it - trying somehow to pretend at being liberal.

    No such worry for David Laws though as he practices at being a Tory poodle all over again.

    Bye bye LibDems, start practising for oblivion.

  • Comment number 4.

    I notice the Lib/Dem Tory stooge David Laws continued his treachery.Is he after another £40,000 of taxpayers money. Can anyone remember how he used the last lot?

  • Comment number 5.

    No 4 IPGABP1 - maybe he put it in a trust fund for his niece or nephew to go to university?

  • Comment number 6.

    'A prominent Labour MP claims he heard a Tory whip shouting "kettling of Lib Dem MPs this way". Not the best way to make friends, perhaps.'


    But then again, a BBC 'reporter' passing on as news what a less than impartial, un-named tribal source (pointlessly boosted as being 'prominent') 'claims' is perhaps not the best way to restore professional credibility, either.

  • Comment number 7.

    The BBC gives the oft repeated impression through its presenters and reporters that its partisan espousal of violence, as a means to ease what it identifies as 'frustration', is editorial policy.

    You have decided to sanction and excuse the violent and abusive behaviour of one section of society. In failing to condemn the violence, and in giving airtime and sympathy to countless champions of lawlessness and anarchy, you have given permission for all other disaffected and/or angry groups to behave the same way - The BNP, the Police, UKIP, Islamic terrorists, bankers, Labour MPs, the IRA, the Welsh Nationalists, Morris Men, Unite, English Defence League and football supporters.

    Most people are civilised enough to co-exist with their fellow citizens and to keep their disagreements in check. If you intend to spend all day persuading the nation to give vent to their feelings, I've no doubt we can all find someone to hit with a baseball bat, shoot or stab if that's what you're aiming for.

  • Comment number 8.

    '7. At 10:57am on 10 Dec 2010, MaggieL wrote:
    The BBC gives the oft repeated impression through its presenters and reporters that its partisan espousal of violence, as a means to ease what it identifies as 'frustration', is editorial policy.

    But... but... 'the people'... are angry....

    @BBCNewsnight BBC Newsnight "There is a lot of anger amongst protesters", read Paul Mason blog from #parliamentsquare

    Oddly, the rather excited tonality of that headline is not reproduced to the same degree once one clicks the link and reads the more measured piece: 'Police at times struggle to contain protesters'

    Now one does hear that the BBC sources and generates much 'news' now via twitter, etc, but when we live in an iPod tweet text, topline summary age, with barely a moment to pop the kettling on, might one surmise a large % in a crowd only read the headline and reacted, rather than the whole piece and reflected. That... is the danger of 24/7 news editorial designed for social media.

    Especially when reporting is now ladled with opinion and even 'advice'.

    '...there's a craving from the mainstream audience for a "trusted guide" to make sense of it all - they want someone to help explain what matters and what doesn't. '

    Er, I, for one, don't. at least in the form some seem to feel they are better qualified to pre-vet.

  • Comment number 9.

    This fuss about the Lib Dems doing a u turn is farcical on many levels. Anyone who voted Lib Dem was kidding themself if they ever thought they would win a majority and so be able to implement their policies. Because the Lib Dem leaders knew they wouldn't win a majority they were free to put forward their extremely idealistic policy pledges in the knowledge that they'd never have to make them work in the real world. This was OBVIOUS.

    Secondly, the Lib Dems aren't in a position to implement their policy pledges. They are a junior partner in a coalition with the Conservative Party. As soon as you enter a coalition, policies have to be amended, and compromises have to be made, so it was obvious that the most compromise would have to be made in the policies that didn't stand up in the real world.

    The real world - we are in grave financial strife. Cuts have to be made. Further education is a privilege. It affords you the opportunity to educate yourself to a level where you stand out from the crowd, can climb higher up the career ladder than other, to be paid more. The NUS president said on Question Time last night that these increases would put off people from attending university and become doctors, surgeons and many other highly paid vocations. Poppycock. A GP earns around £100K a year, so a debt of £30-£40k seems like a good personal investment in their future. Why should I pay for them?

    Other lower paid graduates at least have to earn a minimum of £21k before they pay back a penny. If anything this debt may help students concentrate on working hard at their studies to make them pay in the future rather than spending so much time in the student bar.

    The Lib Dems may be a dead party, but all the disillusioned Lib Dem voters should consider the likely alternative - Labour, who got us into such a mess that the tuition fees pledge the Lib Dems made was such an impossibility. We don't live in a perfect world.

  • Comment number 10.

    8. "There is a lot of anger amongst protesters", read Paul Mason blog from #parliamentsquare

    There's also a lot of anger directed towards the idiot protesters and the damage they have done but its not getting a great deal of coverage.

  • Comment number 11.


    Perhaps the disenchanted LibDem voters will realise that their salvation lies in independent MPs, chosen for INTEGRITY, and with a SINGLE ALLEGIANCE to their respective constituencies. Such individuals are the direct opposite to party politicians. By the very nature of Westminster party politics, its practitioners must play corrosive games; games which inevitably corrode the very players. Evidence of this just keeps on coming.


  • Comment number 12.

    To be openly critical of the police while operations are ongoing is frankly despicable, and is yet another way in which the BBC and other media have inflammed, incited, and dignified the mood and the actions of people yesterday that are clearly wasting their time in university (assuming these days a certain level of intelligence and maturity is still required to graduate from a UK university). I hope the worst of them are thrown out.

    Today Programme this morning, (female student)"Tax the rich man".
    OK I guess she's too young and dumb to know that we tried that before and it didn't work. In fact tax income from the richest in society went up and up when we lowered the highest rate of income tax.

    The British media need to inform the public more and editorialise and take sides less.

  • Comment number 13.

    Ramsey MacClegg, perhaps?

  • Comment number 14.

    I agree with MagieL's comments 'There's also a lot of anger directed towards the idiot protesters and the damage they have done but its not getting a great deal of coverage'.
    On Radio5 at lunchtime the BBC Presenter interviewed the Mother of the injured 'rioter' and expressed his concern but no mention about interviewing the Wife or Children of the injured Policeman to present a balanced presentation.
    Quite often the presenters including Michael Crick convey 'tittle tackle' and then 'push' their own biased view.
    Where were the BBC cameras when both he and Paul Mason were picketing the BBC.

  • Comment number 15.

    9 will71

    Totally agree and refreshing to hear from someone who has managed to look beyond the media hype and the labour and union posturing. The policy is more progressive than the existing one. I emailed my (conservative) mp on Thursday to voice my support and her constituency secretary replied to say mine was the first email in support of the bill, and she was going to vote for it.

    Labour have been obscenely opportunistic and ironically enough when Milliband was asked yesterday if he would reduce them he would not say that he would.

    I am also dismayed at the airtime being given to the protestors and the NUS president. I feel extremely sorry for the police as they are given a hard time whatever they do.

    I am not a lib dem voter but I feel that they have been given a difficult press over this. As you say they came third so could not implement all their policies even if the money was there which it obviously is not.

    I blame Labour (plus the banks) for the position we find ourselves in financially and I also think that targeting the lib dems over the pledge relentlessly as they have is the height of hypocrisy after the 13 years of broken promises we had from them. Introducing tuition fees was one!

  • Comment number 16.

    Junkk Male, Maggie L, Will 71, Anthony, juliet 50.

    Thanks. Sometimes I feel like a lone voice crying in the wilderness on this site. But just remember, Lefties can never be persuaded to think differently about anything. All we can hope is that we annoy them a little. After all you have to remember that they believe themselves to be the custodians of all that is right and true in the world.

    Right now the British Left should be facing up to, and publicly apologising for the thirteen years of inept New Labour misgovernment that got us into the mess/messes we're in now. Predictably however, for them it's all about blame transference in the direction of their usual targets, the rich, the Tories, the police of course, and now the Lib Dems! In short anyone else but them.


  • Comment number 17.

    My word - the righties got their hands on the blog for a wee while and managed to get it all back round to blaming Labour - how very twee.

    Stuff like "doctors get paid £100k so let them pay fees cos they benefit" - eh dont you use doctors then? It sounds more like a loony left mantra than a right-wing policy.

    Stuff like "Labour should apologise for the mess" - except Osborne is telling us we're not really in such a mess and by the way we can even afford £7bn to help Ireland (who really are in a mess).

    Stuff like "BBC are a bunch of lefties" - let it go folks its like a broken record.

    The Torylition are the government - opposition, challenge, protest is all part of the bargain - stop trying to blame everything on Labour and start thinking about some more useful independent thought that doesn't just churn out right-wing mantra.

  • Comment number 18.

    Ok I'll throw my weight behind the left althought I'm only a tiny bit left of centre.

    Now where to start....
    Let's start with the media coverage of the violence. I observed while watching live coverage on the bbc news channel two or three police drag a student to the ground. I get the feeling that I wasn't allowed to see how this incident unfolded as the camera chose that particular time to pan away. Now I'm not saying that the police acted inappropriately but as far as the beeb were concerned the viewer didn't need to see if they did.
    Also why get the opinions of thugs at the heart of the conflict if not to associate them with students who were there for a peaceful protest. Yes, there was violence, from both sides, and some had gone armed for a battle but as to who instigated it I doubt we will never know, and to those that would blame the students for going of route, how many do you think would know what the route was. I don't condone the violence but I don't blame the vast majority of students who were ther for a peaceful protest.

    Now fees'...
    A pupil reaching the age of 16 can either join the job queue (because s/he has no qualifications) or opt for higher education and be saddled with a debt that you have at best a 50/50 chance of ever being able to pay it off.

    No. I have no solution how to solve the problem but I feel fairly certain this is not the way.

  • Comment number 19.

    GingerF - in answer to your question, yes I do use doctors, and they are generally very good. My point, which you seem to have missed, is that in my view the tuition fees won't put off people who wish to pursue vocational occupations, especially when they will be earning very good money in the future. My view is also, and this isn't a party political point, that they should pay for their tuition once they graduate and start to earn, in the same way that someone who studies economics and goes into a highly paid job in the City earning 6 figuresm should also pay. People from all backgrounds can become doctors or work in the City, so this is in no way favouring any sector of society.

    If you have two 18 year old mates and one chooses to goes to work and the other chooses to go to university, why should the working 18 year old pay tax to educate for free his mate, who may well end up earning substantially more money throughout his lifetime?

    Personally, I'd prefer my tax to be used giving OAPs a more comfortable retirement than giving people who choose to go to university a free ride.

    I think it is perhaps a little rich to have a go at the Tories for blaming Labour for the mess we're in - Labour spent 10 years referring back to the Thatcher and Major years - let's face it politicans do it, and probably always will.

    re the £7bn being loaned to Ireland - we have important trade links with Ireland so it is in our interests to keep Ireland afloat.

    Again, it is a bit rich for someone with Labour leanings to mention the £7bn being "loaned" to Ireland, when Labour gave away much of our sovereignty to Europe and the billions that costs us every year for the pleasure.

  • Comment number 20.

    Middle Mancunian - Obviously television coverage only gives you one view at a time, so hard to say what happened when.

    I find it amazing though that people have any doubt who instigated the violence. I know plenty of coppers and none of them would actively look for that sort of trouble. Protesters turned up with trouble in mind. Those who broke the route were being escorted along the route by the police and chose to break the route and ran away. People can't be allowed to go wherever they please when protesting, or they'd bring the city to a standstill. When they did get away from police supervision they attacked the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall, shouting 'Off with their heads'. In doing so, they also terrified lots of innocent members of the public.

    I'm sure some police officers in the heat of the moment probably took reasonable force a little too far, but they were outnumbered and facing a lot of real hostility. The clue was the fact that there were Anarchist symbols everywhere, so I think it is clear who instigated the trouble,

  • Comment number 21.

    But Will71, you are picking and choosing what to pay for through general taxation (and how we all benefit or otherwise) and what not to. Why should we pay for pensioners who perhaps should have saved more when they were working? Why should the 18 yo mate who went to uni pay 40% on his merchant banker wages when plumber mate only pays 20%?

    The point is that general taxation should pay for everything as far as humanly possible. By the way this should include a progressive element where those who can pay more than those who cant. That way we can fund our pensioners retirements and our students education.

    The alternative, which I'm sure many a right-winger would argue is that we all have our own personal tax rate based on what we use and what we dont. Now I think we can probably come close to an agreement that won't work.

    Almost finally, yes Labour must take a share of our financial situation as a country. What I would argue is that people should make sure they know more facts before big grandiose assertions that its all their fault. UK inherited £350bn of debt courtesy of Major and Clarke. Banks cost us close to £100bn - hopefully we get some or all of this back. Global crisis cost us close to £200bn through collapse in tax revenue. Labour overspending cost us around £200-300bn, although note without this we would have less public services. (Source, public spending/borrowing data). Its not so black and white when you take the trouble to look behind Daily Mail headlines and politician puff and bluster.

    Finally, I totally and utterly agree we should be assisting Ireland as an important trade partner. You wont find me espousing ludicrous right wing views that we should only do it if Ireland withdraw from the Euro or something equally as bonkers.

  • Comment number 22.

    This has been a roller-coaster of a year for politics. The election encouraged us to retreat into our tribal preconceptions when we should have been thinking the unthinkable. That, I have often thought since, could have included a government of national unity, or even a Labour Conservative coalition that would have left the Lib Dems where they perhaps have now been shown to belong.

    Both the main parties were in agreement about the need to do something about university funding. The only real difference I can see is that Labour would have the students' money going to the treasury first and then (hopefully) to the universities while the coalition wanted the money from the students going directly to the universities.

    As regards the cuts both the main parties were probably closer than has been acknowledged. Yes Labour would have waited longer but the coalition cuts have been largely deferred anyway.

    I think the Conservatives showed responsibility in backing Labour when the information they had been given suggested the government's proposals were right. Will Labour do the same I wonder?

    If we're honest with ourselves, especially after the last year, I suspect we are all battle weary. Less adversarial default behaviour from the media and the politicians alike would be such a relief to the nation, especially after the horror story that was last week.

    In the spirit of truth and reconciliation I'm happy to apologise for being disparaging about lefties, but please realise that attacking the police force of London will always infuriate the parents who supported them through their training at Hendon and stood proudly watching the parade and graduation ceremony. I doubt if a single one of us can begin to understand the pressure these officers are under, the deliberate and sustained sickening verbal abuse, the human faeces the seasoned protesters try to smear on them, and the realisation that if these berserk people are allowed to disperse through central London all Hell is going to break loose.

  • Comment number 23.

    GingerF, why do you have to resort to inferred insults. I don't look beyond the Daily Mail headlines because I don't read the Daily Mail or any other newspaper actually, as they all have an axe to grind. I didn't make any comments to you about the Guardian or Morning Star, so can we stick to the issues without trying to score petty points.

    The point I was trying to make about paying OAPs more is simply that someone could work all their life in a low paid job, pay their tax and NI, brought up a family and so not had the money to supplement their pension. These are good decent people who have done their bit - I personally would prefer my tax to go to paying them a decent living pension so they can live their old age without worrying about heating their homes. Students at least have the rest of their lives to repay this debt, hopefully while enjoying the fruits of their degree in well paid emloyment, whilst the pensioner I describe above is where he is. This isn't a political point, just my own personal view.

    Whilst Labour may have inherited a lot of debt from Major, the economy was growing at that point, so it was possible to grow your way out of trouble - unlike now, and I don't think Clarke left a message saying 'There's no money left'.

    May I just ask, do you think spending cuts are needed? If you do, where would you make them.

  • Comment number 24.

    Will71 - I dont go in for inferred insults so I apologise if you felt my reference to the Daily Mail was a barb intended at you. I am pointing out that all too often opinions are formed without actually looking at enough of the facts - note I referred to a newspaper and politicians in that particular sentence as sources of wildly abused stats. Note that Clark nearly tripled the debt, so probably didn't feel the need to leave a note too. He also enjoyed what Labour enjoyed for 10 years - a buoyant global economy.

    I completely agree with your OAP points - that is why I am trying (perhaps unsuccessfully) to point out the pitfalls of trying to target taxation in ways other than a simple income based approach. We don't want someone with certain political viewpoints trying to charge OAPs for 'overusing' the NHS do we? If a student gets well paid employment well let them pay it back through the higher tax rates this will attract - not through effective tax rates at much lower incomes that will begin to look pretty punitive (this is what the loan repayments would actually do).

    I think a combination of spending cuts and tax rises are needed to rebalance our economy. An example of a cut may be reduced spending on universities, just not 80% cut in their teaching budget that can then be used to try and justify a colossal increase in tuition fees. An example of a tax might be to look at banking profits and bonuses and where these are demonstrably excessive then tax appropriately - note this worked when Darling put it in place for a year, despite people saying it wouldn't. In practice it is all horribly complicated and there is no easy answer - I just dont like the Torylition approach.

    I apologise again if you felt my DM comment was aimed at you - its not. I just get frustrated at broadbrush comments around why we are in this situation and throwing in the DM makes me feel slightly better.

  • Comment number 25.

    Fair enough GingerF, I just don't like thinking I am being pigeon holed as someone who blindly takes their lead from clearly biased press, which I fully accept happens in this country - on all sides of political views. I try to form my own views and opinions and would support a policy I believed in, regardless of the political party putting it forward.

    Like many in this country, I'd suggest, I don't vote for the best political party, I vote for the least bad.

    Enjoy your Sunday.

  • Comment number 26.

    Remember the Browne Review anyone? I heard it mentioned only once last week and that was on Sky News. Do you remember that both Labour and Conservatives were in agreement before the election about the implementation of the proposals?

    Perhaps if Labour had reciprocated the cooperation shown to them by the Conservatives when Labour were in government we wouldn't have had to endure the horrors of last Thursday, the injuries to police and members of the public, or the millions in costs to repair the damage and pay for the huge policing operation.

    Was it Labour's decision to renege on their earlier agreement and oppose the legislation in the hope of defeating and embarrassing the government that gave the protesters the hope that they might succeed in winning the day last Thursday?

    Less party political chicanery please, and more consistent, responsible, intelligent and grown up politics from our MPs, especially the ones who are now on the other side of the House.

  • Comment number 27.

    TMR 26

    Is this the Browne review that reported findings after the election? What exactly did Labour or Tories agree to before that?
    What cooperation was it the Tories gave to Labour before the election? I'm sure its not the credit crunch where the Tories flip-flopped hopelessly.

    LibDems said no increase in fees, in fact said remove them. Labour and Tories said it needs review but gave absolutely no detail and certainly did not commit to common ground.

    Labour are quite rightly acting as an opposition to a policy which is trying to force through 80% funding cuts to uni teaching using a 200% increase to fee caps as a way to cover this. In my book that is responsible politics which is more than you can say for this horribly rushed Torylition policy.

    The demos wouldn't have happened with a more measured policy - the majority of people dont want to see the excessive bits of the recent demos, but please dont tar the 95% of protesters with the same brush as the extremists and please dont try to blame Labour - they're not the government anymore.

  • Comment number 28.

    Who knows?: You might just be right. The truth lies locked in the impenetrable depths of economic theory and there they may well remain. But yet the history of our country will always give our politicians a choice between a socially inclusive but non-obligatory-contributary economy, and an idential more socially inclusive approach which also sadly leads to the inevitable collapse of our economy. Actually they can do what they like but it will not make any difference. After last Thursday this country is finished, the only question is how soon.

  • Comment number 29.

    By way of an explanation. The reason we are finished is because the people who we depend on to loan us the money we need to keep our bankrupt economy going wanted an early message after the election that this country was no longer in denial about the state of it's economy, and in addition, was prepared to make the hard decisions required to put our economy back on track.

    Last Thursday those people would have been left with the impression that lending us more money is more risky than they thought, and so 3% goes to 5% and so on. Even with Christmas so close the students protesting last Thursday were more turkeys voting for Christmas-like than the poor turkeys themselves.

    I'm sure I'm not the only person who has moved on and is now thinking what will happen after we go bust. Perhaps we will invite the PRC to take over the sovereignty and the running of our country, or maybe we'll be part of a global Caliphate, who knows?

    It's certainly more interesting thinking about what happens after the funeral than morbidly analysing every last death twitch and Cheyne Stokes agonal respiratory gasp!

    If I was young enough or rich enough I'd so like to get out of here.


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