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Has Vince pulled it off?

Nick Robinson | 17:20 UK time, Tuesday, 12 October 2010

Who would have thought it? The Liberal Democrats today tore up their election promise to oppose any increase in tuition fees and the signs are that Vince Cable might actually pull this off.

Vince Cable

 

No-one in his party stood up to protest. That's not to suggest that his party are happy. Many Lib Dems will vote against his proposals - including former leaders Charles Kennedy and Menzies Campbell. However, they have just missed their first opportunity to fight. It will require a mass revolt of the Lib Dems and the full support of all other parties to see these proposals defeated.

That's why another new development is critical. Labour's new leader Ed Miliband backs a graduate tax but he does not have the backing of his own shadow cabinet. The man he chose to be shadow chancellor, Alan Johnson, has not - contrary, I confess, to what I said on the Today programme earlier - eaten his words on opposing a graduate tax.

In fact, Johnson has let it be known that he will not support a graduate tax even if his new leader does and it becomes party policy. What's more, I'm told, other members of the shadow cabinet took his side at today's first meeting of Labour's new team.

Comments

Page 1 of 2

  • Comment number 1.

    Nick, You sound almost disappointed.

  • Comment number 2.


    I cant see why anyone should be suprised. This is normal operating procedure for the lib-dems.

    - They say what you want to here
    - Are obsessive about gaining, holding power at any cost.

    I really cannot believe I was talked into voting for them, believing they were different. What a mug I was, it seems I was sold a pack of lies on this issue amongst so many others. Their party colours are correct, yellow to the core, or perhaps it should be light blue ?

  • Comment number 3.

    Although I do have a lot of respect for Vince Cable it was clear before the election that he relied on Labour's figures when they fought their election campaign.

    It must have come as a great shock when they were given proper access to the books and saw the state of the economy left to us all by a Labour government.

    Realism has now taken hold and we see the true cost of those labour promises and how unsustainable they all were.

    The raised expectations of the new generation have all been dashed but we cannot blame an incoming government for the awful cards they have been dealt.

    The gormless grins on the faces of the opposition as they constantly plead denial for everything they left is sickening in the extreme.

  • Comment number 4.

    This was the image the LibDems were sending out to young voters and students during the election campaign .

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JQgS_HWH3hg&feature=fvw

    As I said on the last blog this is an armageddon issue for the LibDems. They need to find a way to:

    1. get more money into the tertiary education sector (universities, technical colleges, apprentices etc.);

    2. protect the poor and disadvantaged; and

    3. makes those who can afford it pay more.

    Unless they can deliver all 3 the LibDems will lose the young voters they courted so assiduously during the campaign for a generation. It will also see a wave of members leaving the party and backbenchers voting against the Government. The Coalition might survive but the LibDems would be badly wounded.

    Of course if the LibDems can deliver all 3 then I think it will be legitimate to start believing some of their hype about a "new politics".

    In my view the Browne proposal is a start but needs some important modifications. Where my brother works as a lawyer new graduates start on £55k. A relative is a recently qualified teacher who earns 22k. In my view it does not seem fair to make the teacher pay more than the lawyer because it will take them a lot longer to pay off their debt/loan.

  • Comment number 5.

    This is a terrible mistake.

    Yes, there have to be cuts in wasteful public expenditure and the books have to be balanced.

    But this is a new stealth tax on young people who can least afford to pay. University education ought not be just for the rich or those who hope to get a high paid job at some point in the future.

    Our society is currently poorly educated and blighted by yob-culture. Many young people have little sense of the Big Society that Cameron keeps banging on about. At university, hopefully people learn not just their chosen subject, but also the value of studying, develop some self-disciplin as well as receiving a sense of achievement and self respect. A good education benefits the whole of society, not just the student.

    The idea behind these plans is fatally flawed. People don't take out large loans without knowing if they will be able to repay. This scheme will just put young people off further education. Graduates do not necessarily earn more money after studying for a degree - and you can't be sure that one type of degree will lead to higher earnings than another.

    I am disappointed with the Tories and surprised at the LibDems.

  • Comment number 6.

    Never again will I vote LibCon. These politicians have sold their soul to the devil and will be punished at the ballot box. I can't wait for the May elections!

  • Comment number 7.

    First the speed of cuts then VAT followed by Child Support and now Student finance.

    I voted Lib Dem for the first and last time at the last election. They have deliberately lied to the electorate on all of the above and must surely be punished at every election to come.

    How can anyone believe such a bunch of turncoats..

  • Comment number 8.

    Shock! Horror! the Lib Dems didn't realise that their policy before the election may not be based upon fact? Surely not!

    The benefits of being the third party are that you can say what you like - their show of having 'properly costed' measures was no better than GCSE maths and had little depth as to the associated costs of policies or the realities of their implementation.

    The next LD flagship policy in the firing line surely must be their voting reform bill which waves through astonishingly substantial partisan measures without a referendum:

    http://www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committees-a-z/commons-select/political-and-constitutional-reform-committee/news/pvsc-bill-report-/

    They will try very hard to keep this under wraps as the reduction of MP numbers is key to Conservative electoral planning for 2015, but is Clegg really willing to hang his own electoral chances out to dry on this AV vanity trip?

  • Comment number 9.

    #6 never agian should you vote labour , its a result of their poor policies that we are in this mess

    1) Imigration V job for the UK nationals
    2) Benifits for all except if you work
    3) The Family Courts Billions wasted on an evil system
    4) IR35 clamping down on hard working working class people whilst leaving
    the rich to do as they feel
    5) 8million out of work and that was at the hieght of a boom
    6) waste upon waste in the HMG
    7) HMRC fiasco's
    8) 50% going to uni But what did the ecomony really need
    9) Devaluation of exam results

    the list is endless, if they have had there hands on it it has been wrecked

  • Comment number 10.

    #7 thats what you get with coalitions so beware of voting reforms you might not get what you voted for.

  • Comment number 11.

    It's very interesting to hear what those who voted Lib Dem (like 2 of my kids) are now saying. This was a massive vote winner for the Lib Dems - the opposition to tuition fees - now it's clear they have no principles. If they cave in on this then they stand for nothing. My kids are already saying they will never vote Lib Dem again. This must be happening in thousands of households.

    The Tories are laughing at them and, of course, many of us have seen it all before. Interesting times, but in the process of humiliating the Lib Dems, the Tories will cause massive unrest and hardship. No surprises there. They exist to protect the rich, after all.

  • Comment number 12.

    DistantTraveller

    'At university, hopefully people learn not just their chosen subject, but also the value of studying, develop some self-disciplin as well as receiving a sense of achievement and self respect.'

    And what better way of doing just that than by becoming financially independent and learning to stand on their own two feet.

  • Comment number 13.

    I just feel incredibly let down. Are the LDs actually aware they are doing themselves harm that will take a generation to recover from?

  • Comment number 14.

    If allowing Unis to charge what they like in fees is the answer to the question of Uni finance, then they have been asking the wrong question!

    What we have is an oversupply of Unis and an oversupply of graduates. We need to cut both. Earlier this year I heard that there were 69 graduates for every graduate job vacancy.

    Let us start by reducing the number of degree courses and the size of the new universities so that we can retain the student fee levels at the current level. The new Unis (ie the ex polys) should be encouraged to offer one and two year diplomas in skills actively sought by businesses and the public service.

    I cannot imagine LibDem voters being happy with Vince Cable and the Lib Dems. Most of them will be middle earners who will be hit hardest by this proposal.

  • Comment number 15.

    It's strange ... in the same way that Nu-Labour used terrorism as the backdrop for its intrusion into civil liberties, The ConDems seem intent on using the financial crisis as an excuse to turn the clock back on decades of reform. Universal benefits have gone; now it seems that universal education is next. Make no mistake. This is a retrograde policy. The top tier universities in the UK will be all but out of reach of the mainstream. A 4 year degree could leave you almost £50k in debt before you've even started; so kiss goodbye to car, mortgage, family and any kind of normal life until you're well into your thirties. Result? More space at the top table for those that can afford it ... but previously would not have made it on merit alone. What would I have done? A graduate tax seems the most sensible option. It would apply to all graduates, and would be proportional to income. The reason the government doesn't like it is that the gap between the payment of the fee and the receipt of the tax would be classed as national debt ... not good in the current climate.
    I realise that this is just the start of this particular story; but if this measure gets implemented, I foresee huge problems for the LibDems in particular; and middle England in general. The Tories are looking after those at the top; the LibDems are looking after those at the bottom but it's the ones in the middle that are feeling the squeeze. Higher taxes, no more child benefit, no chance of the kids going to a good uni. What's next? Removal of tax relief on pensions???

  • Comment number 16.

    # 12 jobsagoodin

    "And what better way of doing just that than by becoming financially independent and learning to stand on their own two feet"

    The problem is they won't be 'financially independent' - they will be up to their eyes in debt for many many years to come. This will put young people off seeking further education - unless they have a rich family to support them.

  • Comment number 17.

    When people say that we are in a mess because of the last Labour government, are they so limited in what news they read and view that they have not heard about the international credit crunch and what is hapening in other countries? I thought that America had a Republican president when all this started.

    Are these people saying that we are in debt now but when it is paid off we will be able to fund education, the police and defence etc properly or will people always have to pay for their own education, their own defence and their own police. But if the debt that we are in is because we have funded education, defence and the police properly do we regret educating our young, defending our country and protecting our citizens?


  • Comment number 18.

    stirling222

    'Are the LDs actually aware they are doing themselves harm that will take a generation to recover from?'

    They may well be. They are also aware that what matters more is doing what's best in the national interest, namely dealing with the deficit crisis left behind by New Labour.

  • Comment number 19.

    Plumbing new depths....The ConLibs.

    So Vince who claimed to have seen all the economic woes about to befall the world thanks to Osborne's Banking chums, signs a pledge in April to vote against tuition fee rises. Even then, my 13 year old daughter had a rough idea of the UK deficit. However, as it turned out it was slightly less according to ONS figures.

    BUT, shock horror, Vince, the the great Economic Guru had no idea back in April that things were so bad and that's why he has no choice but to break his cast iron signed pledge and double tuition fees at a stroke.

    As I said even my 13 year old had a clue in April, back then she also had her sights set on Uni.....not now.

    Thanks Clegg and Co, you lying hypocrits.

    By the way, if the deficit is going to be eradicated in 4 years by the Condem magicians, then surely the £3bn savings this fee increase will generate will be affordable then and also be the best investment this country could make in its economicc future?

  • Comment number 20.

    What????

    I just watched Nick Clegg on the evening news stood behind a placard with his own signature on it saying he would oppose fee increases, then I watched him on his own video saying the same thing in 'watch my lips, no new taxes' style.

    Personally I think they have lost any and all remaining credibility over this issue.

    At least when they were just giving generalised backing to the party of evil, in order to gain power, they had some room for manoeuvre. This is out and out dishonesty.

    I don't think I would fancy running as a liberal in the next election.

  • Comment number 21.

    12. At 6:54pm on 12 Oct 2010, jobsagoodin wrote:

    And what better way of doing just that than by becoming financially independent and learning to stand on their own two feet.
    ==========================================

    Unfortunately this scheme won't actually involve that.

    The children of the rich will just have mommy and daddy pay for them - £30k is trivial to anyone with real money.

    The children of the poor will have me paying for them, as usual.

    The children of hardworking, professional people will be shafted big time and may not be able to go to university.

    All of which sounds very much like the labour policies I have had to live under for the last 13 years.

  • Comment number 22.

    Vince may or may not pull it off in the House of Commons. Whether he will in the country at large is a different matter.

    After such a major broken promise, who will trust the Lib Dems now?

  • Comment number 23.

    So much for LibCon promises to temper the Tory's ideological cut spree with a measure of fairness. You can almost feel Vince's shame as he's forced to roll out such unconvincing support for what is clearly the Tory line.

    For all the broken-record harping on about the 'appalling legacy' (can we move on and look forward now, please?), breaking all your promises and ditching all you 'stand for' makes the party look completely meaningless. LibCons don't stand for anything any more, except a handy body of MPs (for many their last term in parliament) to make up Cameron's numbers.

  • Comment number 24.

    The trouble with the Coalition Government doing what they think is best for the country is what they think is best for the country - making the rich richer and the poor poorer.

  • Comment number 25.

    Daddy what shall I do when I leave school?

    Should I go to Uni and finish at 21 with a £40k millstone round my neck or should I get a job well below my abillity cos we can no longer afford higher education?

    The Tories supposedly the party of aspiration...how will this encourage aspiration, someone please tell me?

    For all but the wealthy, bankrolled by Mator and Pator this crushes aspiration because it puts higher education out of reach, particularly as others have said, for the middle earners.

    The fig leaf party are doing more damage than their Tory puppet masters.

    Have you seen the false sincerity that Clegg shows in his "pledge video" my god its Oscar Standard.

    Clegg, why not join the Tories now you student back stabber

  • Comment number 26.

    #22 Silhillbill

    "After such a major broken promise, who will trust the Lib Dems now?"

    What surprises me is why anybody trusted the LibDems anyway, after their broken promise on a referendum on the constitutional treaty. Instead of sticking to what they said in their 2005 manifesto, they supported Gordon Brown in pushing through the treaty without the consent of the people. (But they still want a referendum on changes to the voting system - because that would benefit their party)

    The LibDems cannot be trusted on anything and have no principles.

    Dr Vince Cable attended not one, but two universities, Cambridge and Glasgow. Would he have been able to do so if his new plans had been in place back then?

  • Comment number 27.

    I work in a university and increases in tuition fees do not translate to a reduction in applications particularly from the middle classes. I do not see a way around this other than Brownes suggestions. I am not sure how they are going to collect student loan payments from the many students who graduate then go to work abroad though. My daughters have already graduated under the first tuition fees scheme and I have told them to look on their repayments as a tax now they are repaying their loans. It may make students concentrate their minds on their course, the university they apply to and how hard they work once they get there. A good degree is still a good thing to aim for. All I can say is the government's books must be worse than we think because Vince Cable and Nick Clegg would not want to go back on their pledge unless they felt there was no other alternative. Politically damaging for them but then all three parties have broken promises.

  • Comment number 28.

    To All supporters of this loathsome Coalition, especially the Fig Leafs....Watch and Weep.

    http://www.youtube.com/nusuk

  • Comment number 29.

    27 Juliet

    Well we'll see Juliet if you are right that the prospect of a £40k debt (£80k repaid over 30 years) doesn't put people off we'll see.

    Glad you got your kids through at a fraction of what mine may pay if as you say they aren't "put off"

  • Comment number 30.

    Well one good thing out of all of this is that the costs of the AV referendum should be a lot cheaper now, there's not a cat in hell's chance of the Lib Dems getting that through, they should just merge with The Tories.

  • Comment number 31.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 32.

    29 Eatonrifle

    Totally agree, that prospect has already made my child think hard. And she would love to study Astrophysics. That kind of debt is jaw dropping and most people just can't afford to financially support their kids in uni - I know we can't. Yet we both work full time but earn too much for the bursaries.

    Makes you wonder whats next....


  • Comment number 33.

    27. At 8:01pm on 12 Oct 2010, juliet50 wrote:
    I work in a university and increases in tuition fees do not translate to a reduction in applications particularly from the middle classes. I do not see a way around this other than Brownes suggestions.
    ==============================================================
    All down to the price elasticity of demand. I suspect that at £12k/year there won't be too many takers from low or middle income families. The right way to do this would have been a graduate tax ... It's paid for by all; and your contributions grow with earnings, so it's easy to administer. I'm sure a smart accountant could work out some PFI style jiggery pokery to make the interim 'debt' disappear from the nation's books.

  • Comment number 34.

    Taking it to the next level, I'm wondering how large a deficit it would take to trigger secondary school tuition fees and secondly I see no mention of any safeguards being put in place to prevent a dramatic increase in the number of qualified people who will choose to emigrate with the added bonus of being able to avoid paying back their fees.

  • Comment number 35.

    DistantTraveller 16

    'The problem is they won't be 'financially independent' - they will be up to their eyes in debt for many many years to come'

    So will anyone who has a mortgage. People who take out a mortgage don't expect the state to pay it off. Students shouldn't expect the state to pay off their debts either.

  • Comment number 36.

    #31

    A most excellent post - the most succinct, and the most apposite, I have seen since May 6th. Beats trying to reason with the assorted trolls on here.

  • Comment number 37.

    sarahp

    'Totally agree, that prospect has already made my child think hard. And she would love to study Astrophysics. That kind of debt is jaw dropping and most people just can't afford to financially support their kids in uni'

    If you and your child don't think it's worth paying for her to attend uni then why on earth should anyone else think it's worth paying for her to do so.

  • Comment number 38.

    LeoPanthera 33

    'The right way to do this would have been a graduate tax ... It's paid for by all;'

    No it isn't. It isn't paid by graduates that emigrate and it isn't paid by students who waste their education and end up unemployed.

  • Comment number 39.

    @31

    Disgusting. Go back to the playground you silly child.

    @36

    Shame on you.

    How on earth do the moderators allow this kind of offensive garbage to pass?

  • Comment number 40.

    Jobsabadun 35
    Yes we know all about mortgages - you need one to buy a house. But now our children are faced with a mortgage and a huge loan to pay back on top as well. How can they do both? Only Cameron and Osbourne's crew can do this.

    What a shambles.


  • Comment number 41.

    EBAHGUM

    A little "earthy" I admit...

    Catchy though...

    Mind you after all the offensive stuff I've seen posted about those on benefits etc it's small beer...at least mine was aimed a politicians which on the whole after today's shambles are somewhat more deserving.

  • Comment number 42.

    How is anyone on a medium income going to afford to live here and enjoy something resembling a quality of life. Britain is going to end up like America but without the opportunities...

  • Comment number 43.

    Someone referred to the FibDems. But it is more serious than that. What kind of country have we become when the politicians in power, whom we are supposed to respect, break guaranteed promises that they have made. They have obtained votes by deception. Is that what Eaton teaches them. Are we supposed to teach our children that they might become deputy prime minister if they cheat and lie. Should the 'Britain Needs You' poster have said 'Britain needs you to cheat and lie'.


  • Comment number 44.

    4. Cassandra wrote:

    Where my brother works as a lawyer new graduates start on £55k. A relative is a recently qualified teacher who earns 22k. In my view it does not seem fair to make the teacher pay more than the lawyer because it will take them a lot longer to pay off their debt/loan.
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Perhaps the employer could contribute a little towards the qualification that the individual has had to borrow to pay for?
    Wouldn’t like to think they were expecting something for nothing.
    Call it the “Big Society” approach – ahh forgot, that’s just for us little people.

    I was just wondering, with all these graduates in such heavy debt, who will be able to afford to produce the next generation?
    Didn’t debt get us into the mess we are in now, hasn’t anybody learnt a darn thing over the last couple of years?

  • Comment number 45.

    have you been in our hospitals, science research institutions, universities lately, most of the staff are not British because we are just not clever enough. this new deal will allow the wheat to be sifted from the chaff and a hierarchy of universities will develop and students can strive to gain entry to the best ones, it is sad but we are falling behind in academia.comprehensive schooling was the worst thing to happen to this country, there are people who want to learn academic subjects and those who are happy to learn practical subjects, here's hoping it works out.

  • Comment number 46.

    Unlimited tuition fees. Absolutely bonzer idea ... if you want to ensure that our premier universities become the preserve of the wealthy. If you don't, as I must admit I don't, a policy that should be opposed tooth and nail. Lack of social mobility was a problem under Labour (who cared about the issue) - how much worse will it get under a bunch of people who don't give a flying fig.

  • Comment number 47.

    distant T @ 5

    "I am disappointed with the Tories and surprised at the LibDems."

    On the issue, I agree with you - an awful idea. Isn't that twice in as many weeks we've agreed? What's going on?

    Your sentiment above, however, I don't share. I'm both surprised AND disappointed in the Lib Dems (they attracted a big student vote on the back of opposing this) but the tories? ... par for the course, I'm afraid. Money talks.

  • Comment number 48.

    I didn't vote Lib Dem but Dr Vince presented a very coherent statement which again shows how well the coalition is working. This is not an easy matter but the government is demonstrating its intention to deal with tough issues which past governments have glossed over.

    Lib Dem aspirations on certain matters may come to fruition once the economy is on a more stable footing. Just remember how much interest we are paying every day to service the legacy of indebtedness installed by the last government. And Liam Byrne's admission that "there is no more money"

  • Comment number 49.

    Well,here we are,

    The beginning of the end of universal benefits
    Social cleansing of high property value areas
    Socially divisive education reforms
    Free market university education
    Denationalisation of the NHS
    The vacuum known as the Big Society

    And an L shaped recovery...

    Welcome to Cameronland.

  • Comment number 50.

    Vince Cable may have avoided an open revolt in the Commons but his reputation has been very seriously damaged among voters as a result of the really violent U-turns he has executed. I suspect that many back bench Lib Dem MPs are so stunned by the behaviour of their power hungry leaders, that they do know what to say. Many will certainly lose their seats at the next election, even if it is delayed for another 4.5 years.

    Former Lib Dem voters will start getting their revenge in May 2012.



  • Comment number 51.

    laughatthetories 40

    'But now our children are faced with a mortgage and a huge loan to pay back on top as well. How can they do both?'

    Graduates will earn on average more than £100,000 over their lifetime than non-graduates so even though you're a lefty you might just be able to figure out the answer to that question yourself.

  • Comment number 52.

    sagamix 46

    ' if you want to ensure that our premier universities become the preserve of the wealthy'

    Why wouldn't a poor person go to uni if they thought it would improve their job prospects and allow them increase their earnings more than the cost of the debt ?

    Perhaps your view of the poor is that they are incapable of benefitting from a uni eductaion in this way, or perhaps you think they are too stupid to realise that a good education is worth far more than the debt they would incur.

  • Comment number 53.

    sagamix 47

    'but the tories? ... par for the course, I'm afraid. Money talks.'

    But Saga, isn't your intellectual super hero AJ in favour of higher tuition fees, and wasn't he the minister responsible for introducing them ?

  • Comment number 54.

    34. Ian Martin wrote:

    “Taking it to the next level, I'm wondering how large a deficit it would take to trigger secondary school tuition fees”.
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Match this space my friend; if the Government can take the free market approach with Universities, Collages will be next followed by State Schools.
    If you think I’m being paranoid, think of where we are now with Uni’ & Student funding compared with 20 years ago.

    Who would of thought it?

  • Comment number 55.

    Nick,
    I wonder when the people might be consulted and whether, if we do not want this, The Coalition will change their proposed policy?

  • Comment number 56.

    jobs @ 52

    The premier league institutions, in particular, will end up charging very significant amounts and the resulting debt will be a much bigger factor for the non affluent. It's not possible for someone who cares about social mobility to support this.

  • Comment number 57.

    Jobs @52 wrote:
    "Why wouldn't a poor person go to uni if they thought it would improve their job prospects and allow them increase their earnings more than the cost of the debt ? "

    >>>>>>>>>>

    Because students from poor families feel less secure financially. My children will be blasé about loans because they know that if push comes to shove Daddy will pay it off for them.

  • Comment number 58.

    49 craigmarlpool

    Social cleansing of high property value areas

    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

    About time too.

    Why on earth should I pay tax to enable someone who does not work to live where I can not afford to?

  • Comment number 59.

    @41 craigmarlpool
    Sorry, my friend, but "earthy" does not justify it for me. Pure offence I'm afraid.
    I'm sure you have much to contribute to these blogs without resorting to such a purile level of "humour".

  • Comment number 60.

    "your intellectual super hero AJ" - jobs @ 53

    Sorry, don't follow. Have never lauded Alan Johnson in such terms. "Skilled and effective politician" was my tag, I seem to recall.

  • Comment number 61.

    # 47 saga

    I wouldn't worry about agreeing from time to time! (even though previously and most unfairly you have called me an "extreme right winger"!)

    I am disappointed with the Tories because this policy goes against what Cameron has been talking about, fixing what he refers to as 'Broken Britain'. This policy will be divisive and unfair to those who come from less affluent backgrounds.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/8596877.stm

    The idea that young people should run up huge debts also seems to contradict traditional values of a responsible society. Some have suggested not everyone 'needs' to go to university. I believe people should have the opportunity to make the choice.

    I am surprised at the Lib Dems for such a blatant breach of their election manifesto promise:

    "We will scrap unfair university tuition fees so everyone has the chance to get a degree, regardless of their parents’ income" Page 33 Lib-Dem Manifesto 2010

    See also (as posted by Eatonrifle)
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dYMN7l_wo5U

    But perhaps we shouldn't be all that surprised - Lib Dems have a track record for breaking manifesto pledges.

    Dr Vince has been fortunate to go to TWO universities in his younger days. Now he has his posterior firmly resting on the well-upholstered seat of his ministerial car, he pulls up the drawbridge (surely 'shuts the door'? - Ed)

  • Comment number 62.

    51., jobsagoodin

    100K extra over their lifetime...2.5K per year over 40 years, not much is it?
    Heck, I do a darn sight better than that & I don’t even have a degree – having one is no guarantee of a good job these days.

    Are you sure you've got your figures right; a Graduate should be worth more than that surely?

    I take it that they will be paying income tax at 40 or 50% on that 100K, in which case the money’s going to be paid back anyway so why should they have to borrow money in the first place?
    Yep, 40K to 50K in extra taxes should square things up nicely.

  • Comment number 63.


    This issue is far too important for it to become a political football. The liberal democrats look like the big political losers - but the losers are, in fact, the middle class. For the rich a few extra thousand will mean little: the poor will be supported. God help the aspirational middle class - who speaks for them now?

    On the proposals themselves, first lets look at the effect. It is to transfer the bulk of the cost of higher education from the Government to the students. OK, its deferred - but that only means that the Government has found another group of people (the young) who are not indebted to whom they can pass on this debt - and in the process trap them in the mire.

    OK, if you get a degree and a good job then you can repay the debt and move on. But what about the rest:

    Group 1 will be people who take out the full debt and never get (and may never have intended to get) a job earning over £21,000. Lets face it, its better than the dole for three years. On an earlier blog I asked what proportion of student debts are never repaid. Still waiting for an answer.

    Group 2 will be people who eventually get to the dizzy heights of £21,000. On another blog I also asked, when does the interest start to run? (Still waiting) If it starts to run from the time of the loan (or to make the maths easy, from the time you graduate)then the interest will be approximately £2,500 in the first year - and compounded thereafter. This will create a huge "graduate poverty trap": because the repayments will steadily increase to a point where it is simply not worth getting a job which pays over £21,000. Meanwhile, of course, wage inflation will gradually catch up with these people and, one day, they will be crushed under an avalanche of debt.

    For example, if the graduate owes £35,000 on graduation and with interest rates of 2.2% above RPI (say 7.5%) then after 10 years the loan will be over £67,000.

    I heard on BBC news the supposedly encouraging statistic that having a degree meant that someone earns, on average, £100,000 more in their lifetime than someone without. If I heard this right it's frighteneing. That's really not a lot over a lifetime. Say you work for 40 years, that £2,500 more per year. Roughly the interest on your debt.

    Dempsters debt slavers are so revealed!

  • Comment number 64.

    Since the Lib Dems didn't say what they would so in coalition or even that they would go into coalition, their reneging on their electoral promises is DISHONESTY no matter what THEY call it. They are not doing what they pledged to so, namely to reject increases in tuition dees. End of, surely, Nick?

  • Comment number 65.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 66.

    I find the furore surrounding Browne's proposals somewhat frustrating as people may knee-jerk reactions to information they have yet to properly analyse. I am a recent graduate from a middle-class background with 18k of debt. This debt doesn't bother me in the slightest because I know the terms of repayment are extremely favourable. If I start on a wage of around 19k a year, I will pay around 30 pound a month on repaying the loan. Is this really a crippling debt??? And what difference does your background make to the 'burden' of this debt??

    The new system, if anything is even more progressive than the old one. People should stop getting caught up in the figures and youngsters should be fully informed that student debt isn't the burden that the lefties and liberals attempt to convince you that it is. Yes I'd be worried about 18-30k of debt if I owed it to a bank but the extremely favourable conditions of repayment offered by the government make most degrees a worthwhile investment.

    The added bonus will be some polytechnics masquerading as universities going to the wall and the 'degrees' they offer will be replaced by more useful vocational courses which offer far better value for money.

    Now can some people in a more influential position than myself make this argument clear to the stubborn anti-fees community. Currently this community makes arguments with no clarity or foundation simply quoting large figures to breed fear.

  • Comment number 67.

    All this in the name of reducing debt. But it won't. All that's happened so far is that a massive private debt (the banks') has been shuffled onto the Government via the bailouts making it public debt. The Government now intends to shuffle this public debt back onto private individuals via "the cuts". Yet Lord Browne's proposals will mean even higher spending by Government, at least in the short-term, as the higher tuition fees will be public funded until the new graduates can start paying them back, if ever. Would a graduate tax be fairer? Not really, unless it excluded all existing graduates whose university education has already been funded under a different system.

  • Comment number 68.

    You have to have been poor to understand the genuine fear that debt can breed. I grew up in a home where fear of debt was a constant companion, and reached a climax just before each pay day. It is a fear that haunts me to this day, and I am 55.

    I was lucky enough to pass my 11+, and did well enough to get to university. I received a significant proportion of the grant to help me survive, but like my compatriots from a similar background, the parental contribution (in my case £4.66/week) never materialised. I worked during vacations when I could (this was during the 3-day week period and the oil crisis) and made enough to keep body & soul together.

    What surprised me even then, were the proportion of middle class students who had no concept of what is was like to struggle to get to university. Many attended schools that sent all their 6th form into tertiary education, where a univerity place was just assumed to be an entitlement, a standard part of their education. For those deemed too thick to pursue the classic professions or the acceptable humanities at Oxbridge or similar, places were found in the red bricks (like Sheffield where I attended) to study, typically, the sciences. This was regarded as an inferior outcome, but at least it kept their university stats up. Needless to say, they were not short of a few bob.

    It is part of my personal creed that any child with sufficient ability should be automatically granted a plce in tertiary education. However, my brother (3 years younger) was not academic and chose to become an apprenticed electrician. His 3 boys 22, 20, & 19 all passed to go to my old school. One left at 18 with A levels, the other two at 16 with GCSEs. None have gone on to further education. The fear of debt that my brother experienced convinced him university was a waste of time and money, and the debt an untenable burden. As a consequence, and much to my mother and sister-in-laws frustration, my brother actively sought to prevent them from going into higher education - his reasoning being that the likely level of debt did not match the benefits to be had from a university education, and anyway a life on the tools was good enough for him and would be good enough for his boys. What all of this fails to take into account is his ruined ankle, knee, hip and shoulder joints, and the probability that retiement is a dim and distant prospect.

    This attitude will be played out in thousands of homes throughout the land where income is low, and debt a way of life. In my view, it is a fundamntal dereliction of our duty as a civilised society if we fail to nurture ALL of our children - irrespective of their origins - to the very best of their abilities. But that is exactly what has been happening since tuition fees were intoduced, and has just been compounded by this pernicious government through these new measures. It is a joke to say that the funds exist to ensure the poor will get their opportunity if those from economically challenged backgrounds are not actively developed and coached to fulfil their potential, and consequently do not draw upon said funds - and that is exactly what is happening.

    The previous government did the most in recent times to reverse social mobility, and I despise them for that. But this bunch have effectively nailed the door permanently shut to those from the "wrong side of the tracks", and for that it is my sincere hope "they will live in interesting times"

  • Comment number 69.

    66. At 00:26am on 13 Oct 2010, bluemoon62 wrote:

    "The added bonus will be some polytechnics masquerading as universities going to the wall and the 'degrees' they offer will be replaced by more useful vocational courses which offer far better value for money."

    You snivelling little snob. Should you graduate, may you never find employment.

  • Comment number 70.

    Morning Nick,
    Tuition fees (student payment thereof) were not introduced until 1998 by, I think, a Labour Government. I can't remember if the opposition party actually opposed these at the time on a matter of principle!
    This is another sleight of hand by a Government who are eliminating the previous state (taxpayer) suport to university education and blaming it on someone else.
    Nobody seems to be asking the real questions here.
    How many graduates does the UK need on a long term basis?
    What type of graduates do we need?
    University education is not a substitute for job creation schemes (tried before and failed).
    What quality of tuition is being provided by these huge costs and could it not be provided more efficiently?
    I accept that we will always have our "first tier" universities which will always be oversubscribed due to large demand and lack of supply, therefore the charges levied for these courses is elastic.
    However, does that also apply to the provincial universities?
    The Browne report should have been much more wide ranging and like most enqiries set up by government, it asks the wrong question to get a pre-determined answer cf the recent pensions review.
    The reality seems to be that we have too many people applying to universities and cost is being used to try and reduce demand. The excuse used is that the cost of tuition fees doesn't put many people off applying, just as the cost of petrol doesn't make me drive any fewer miles as it is a necessity!
    The real point here, of course, is that young people have no idea how much £10,000 or £20,000 is, as it is just a sum that has been advanced like a credit card.
    What a sorry state our whole education system from school to higher education has become!

  • Comment number 71.

    "No-one in his party stood up to protest"

    So I hallucinated Greg Mulholland standing up to do just that then, Nick? I'd suggest next time you watch it on BBC Parliament, as they put up handy little captions telling you who the MPs are, which party they're from and what constituency they represent. Although I was rather under the impression that you were paid to know that kind of thing.

  • Comment number 72.

    #70. splendidhashbrowns

    "Nobody seems to be asking the real questions here.
    How many graduates does the UK need on a long term basis?
    What type of graduates do we need?"


    I don't agree that these are the 'real' questions. It's not simply about the UK 'needing' a certain number of graduates (like a quota). Young people deserve a chance to continue their education if they wish - not to be denied the opportunity because someone has decided we don't 'need' any more. A policy like that would simply consign large numbers of people to the scrap-heap.

    As for what type of graduates 'we need', who is going to decide? Is some government official going to define the quotas? Eg we 'need' more engineers but we already have 'enough' archeologists? Some subjects are arguably not very useful (Media Studies!) but if it creates a more rounded individual with an interest in learning and research, it is still worthwhile. Perhaps we need to encourage young people to raise their sights.

    People should not be pressured to go to university - but nor should they be prevented just because they do not come from rich families.

    Learning is NOT only about getting a job. Society benefits from having a well-educated population with diverse interests and skills. People benefit from exploring ideas and trying out new things.

    Persuading young people to continue their education might also give them a greater sense of worth and self respect, all too often lacking in the yob-culture we see today.

  • Comment number 73.

    If another £3bln worth of cuts have to be made, it's gentler enough to make them here than many other areas. All it means is that student loans - which are are already a form of "graduate tax" if you think about it - will need to be repaid for longer.
    The repayment rate comes straight out of your pay check, at 9% of earnings starting over 15K/year, and interest is pretty much a non-issue because the whole outstanding debt gets written off after 20 or so years anyway. It's not the millstone round your neck that other debts can be.
    I can't see this actually having any effect on student intake (at least for anyone who can do the maths - The US has a much harsher system and still has around 50% of people going to College or Uni).

    Most Graduates won't even notice a difference for the first 5-10 years whilst they get their careers established, and after which they will still be accustomed to living with it in their budgets, It won't be a shock they suddenly have to deal with.

    And yes, I am a graduate with a hefty student loan. Obviously it would be nice for future graduates to be finished with their loan sooner, but this is one of the simplest, fairest and least harmful ways to make some savings.

  • Comment number 74.

    "However, they have just missed their first opportunity to fight. It will require a mass revolt of the Lib Dems and the full support of all other parties to see these proposals defeated."

    Nick, is this really evenly balanced reporting from the state paid for broadcasting station. Why should the partners in a coalition need to 'fight'?

    It is almost as if you personally want a split within our government, surely not.

    The LibDems did not win and are not the government, so we the electorate understand they cannot carry out their policies, same as the conservatives. We get it why can't you, the media.

  • Comment number 75.

    distant traveller @ 72

    Just to go a bit Simon Cowell for a second ... that's not only first class, it's your best performance of the series (by a country mile).

    Whatever bad things I've said about you, I hereby unsay. Until you start going wrong again, of course.

  • Comment number 76.

    For me a university education has been beneficial because it suits the sort of person I am. I enjoy studying and it has helped me in my career. The question I have to ask is whether going to university is the best thing for everyone. I am not saying that I benefited because I'm clever and they aren't. I'm asking about the suitability of what University has to offer and I feel the universitisation of the CATs lead to big mistakes.

    The reason for the rebranding of CATs to Universities was not an academic or even economic one, but was based purely on perceived status both socially and academically. CATs were brilliant at producing graduates who had a more practical approach to life. They were often 'doers'. That was their form of intelligence. Universities were more for thinkers - my engineering prof's first lecture started with a promise to make us into great R&D engineers - lots of great ideas, but never quite turned into practical aplications, that was for others. This was to appeal to our type of intelligence. The trouble was that this was seen as a higher status intelligence, which is why CATs wanted to become universities. They wanted and in fact deserved a higher status for what they offered. In the process many forgot what they were good at and this was a big loss to the types of education on offer. The queation then is what is it that the present image of universities has to offer the students?

    Now university is seen as a rite of passage and a route to better paid employment. I would be interested to see how this was calculated as they would have to compare samples of academically similar students, with similar learning styles and intelligences who come from similar backgrounds.

    I believe in Continuing Education in all its forms. What concerns me is the over reliance of University degrees in their present form to meet the needs of the students. Many of the newer universities are trying to answer this question, but it is an uphill struggle to attract students. A clever student might have opportunities to study engineering at Imperial or at Lincoln. I can guess which place they will chose to go to, but will the course be suited to the sort of person they are?

  • Comment number 77.

    Nick, I am a 53 year old professional person who has always voted Liberal and then Liberal Democrat. When I was young I was a member of the Liberal Party and used to help with campaigning. It is incorrect of you to say to suggest that Vince Cable will pull this off. The real test will be in local elections and the next General Election when many life long Liberal Democrat people like me who feel so let down by what the Liberal Democrats have done as part of the Coalition will never never never for the rest of their lives vote for any Liberal Democrat again. That is when Vince Cable will understand that full ramifications of his actions. The very worst thing that politicians can do is to promise one thing whilst campaigning in a General Election and then do the complete opposite when they have got in to power. If a political party cannot keep to its promises, then how can anybody have any confidence in it?

  • Comment number 78.

    This is a continuance of my earlier posting – posting separately in case it breaks House Rules for going off topic and is deleted.
    What is going on with this Government is that there are two agendas. The first agenda is to get the public accounts more into balance. The second is that the Conservatives just want to cut back the size of the State come what may. Instead of being honest and open about this, the first agenda is being used by the Conservatives as a cover for the second agenda and the Liberal Democrat part of the Government is collaborating with this. The deficit is a one in several generations opportunity for the Conservatives to cut back the size of the State on the back of a genuine problem and not surprisingly they are going for it. Jimmy Reid fought the economically illiterate Government of Edward Heath back in 1971/2 and won. We need more of his ilk right now to fight for justice for the ordinary people of this country who have no power and who are living in a dehumanised society where people are valued only for their economic tag and if they are poor or dispossessed or have no money then they have no value to our society. Now that there is no longer a Labour Party and now that there is no longer a Liberal Party, there is no political party around to fight for the interests of the ordinary people. In his 'Rats' speech when he became Rector of Glasgow University, Jimmy Reid spoke of the problems of alienation and values in society. Nearly 40 years on, that speech is as valid today as it was then - very little has changed in 40 years.

  • Comment number 79.

    #63

    Excellent post!

    I think the debt accummulation has to start from when a salary of £21K is first reached.

    Can anyone clarify this?

  • Comment number 80.

    77. Robert
    'If a political party cannot keep to its promises, then how can anybody have any confidence in it?'

    Robert, at 53 you should know better than to expect the impossible.

  • Comment number 81.

    78#

    You're right, you did drift off topic. Very rabble rousing post, but unfortunately around here, theres not really that kind of rabble to be roused. Sure enough, there is rabble, but... you're preaching largely to the converted.

    And they couldnt be bothered to do anything over the last 30 years of note, could they?

  • Comment number 82.

    69#

    Sitting on the fence again, I see, Geoff? :o?

  • Comment number 83.

    "In my view, it is a fundamntal dereliction of our duty as a civilised society if we fail to nurture ALL of our children - irrespective of their origins - to the very best of their abilities."

    Completely agree.

    "But that is exactly what has been happening since tuition fees were intoduced, and has just been compounded by this pernicious government through these new measures."

    Its been going on a lot longer than that Paul. Those that have needed the most nurturing have been the ones who have absolutely no chance of getting within sniffing distance of university and do not and never have possessed the academic ability to compete for admissions and have ended up descending into crime or a rudderless life on benefits.

    I'm not saying that this hasnt been a hash-up, of course it has. Thats what you're going to get with coalitions though, compromise after compromise. Thats the way it works.

  • Comment number 84.

    Oh please! Irrespective of their political colour these people are still politicians.

    They simple cannot afford principles if they are to hang on with a vice like grip to the reins of power. Imagine the desire to keep power if it is something you had but lost for over 80 years. For the LibDems it must seem a small price to give up your principles for power.

    Finally, lets not kid ourselves - you show me a politician and I will show you a liar. When we vote we just speciulate on the least worst candidate from our personal perspective.

  • Comment number 85.

    DistantTraveller @ 61: "The idea that young people should run up huge debts also seems to contradict traditional values of a responsible society. Some have suggested not everyone 'needs' to go to university. I believe people should have the opportunity to make the choice."

    Then @ 72: "I don't agree that these are the 'real' questions. It's not simply about the UK 'needing' a certain number of graduates (like a quota). Young people deserve a chance to continue their education if they wish - not to be denied the opportunity because someone has decided we don't 'need' any more."

    A point of view, certainly, but not one that is necessarily correct. Where taxpayers' money is being spent then it is perfectly reasonable for someone to say "this much and no more". Are you saying that a "young person" has absolute discretion about continuing into tertiary education, while taxpayers have no means of exercising any discretion of whether or not they are prepared to fund it? On the face of it, yes you are.

    You are critical of splendidhashbrowns point in 70: "Nobody seems to be asking the real questions here. How many graduates does the UK need on a long term basis? What type of graduates do we need?" I honesty think these are perfectly reasonable questions to ask. Where taxpayers' money is being spent then it is perfectly reasonable for the need and scale of that expenditure to be scutinised and if appropriate, stopped.

    Rightly or otherwise there is a widespread perception that many degrees are of dubious value - "media studies" is always quoted as the favourite here. Now this may be unfair, but unless you can successfully argue that all degrees are of equal long term merit you will have to accept that there is bound to be a hierarchy of subjects. Even within any one subject there is bound to be a figure more than which is more than the country requires, either in public or private employment. If *everybody* obtained degrees in medicine then there would be an awful lot of unemployed doctors.

    As a country we probably need qualified bus / train / LGV drivers more than we need media studies graduates (I have nothing against media studies per se; I am just using it as an example) and yet I don't think public funds are made available for training for those qualifications. (I am not being in any way snooty about them; I have an LGV licence myself, and it cost me to get it!)

    Painful as it might be we do need a rigorous reassessment of what the taxpayer can reasonably afford, and be expected to afford. I'm afraid a university education funded by "us" cannot escape this process.

  • Comment number 86.

    DistantTraveller

    "People don't take out large loans without knowing if they will be able to repay."

    That's not how the present system works, and, from what I can tell, that's not how the new system will work. I only repay my loan on earnings above £15,000 - and I've heard this threshold could be raised in the new system. In other words, if I don't earn I don't repay; it's a riskless loan with no chance of default (although if I'm not earning enough to repay the interest does continue to accrue). That simple fact changes the calculation completely. It's easy to get worried at the sight of the word "debt", but when looked at in cold rational terms the student loan system offers a great deal.

    Despite the hype, the current system is a gift to students. Not only did I get a cheap education, but the interest rate on the loan is lower than the interest rate on my savings. Therefore, I'm paying off my loan as slowly as possible, while pocketing a modest arbitrage gain.

  • Comment number 87.

    I am angry about Cable, who may be strong on economics, but ,like his party leader , is now demonstrated to be completely without principle - you cannot just trade-off your core policies just because you are in a coalition (there has to be a lexical/lexicographic ordering over some key aspects of the programme you put to the electorate) -what next support a war in Iran/Somalia wherever.
    I am more angry about the Tory Universities minister Willetts -he recently published a book-
    Willetts, David (2010). The Pinch: How the Baby Boomers Took Their Children's Future – And Why They Should Give It Back. He is now enthusiastically supporting a policy that deprives the coming generation even more. It is one thing to be a politician who discards principles at the drop of a hat as they were probably adopted without a moments thought and can be discarded as easily, but to devote a lot of your time as Willetts has to a carefully thought out position only to discard it for a political career advantage is appalling.
    If we are serious about the future we should be redistributing against the elderly (I am verging on elderly)and never to be productive again -instead we get winter fuel payments, free bus passes and a ridiculously bloated NHS (at least half of which is devoted to those who are past it ). We now seem to have in power the anti growth, anti young coalition -what a dismal prospect for Britain.

  • Comment number 88.

    Interesting isn't it, how the majority of posters here, Labour supporters to their curly little toes, still have no idea of what the fundamental problem is, who was responsibe for it, and no idea of how to get out of it?

    Long old sentence that. Sorry.

    It must be clear to the meanest intellect that the money's run out. I'm confident that our LibDem chums would be fighting hard for their policies to be adopted IF they had not seen the reality of the "books", and just what a mess we are in.

    They ought to be praised for their pragmatism in being prepared to shed some of their dogma in the interest of the common good, as indeed the conservatives have. Naturally, and who would expect anything different?, the same doesn't apply to Labour.

    At the moment I find it relatively amusing. The coalition has moved away from further subsidy of higher education by sanctioning an inevitable increase in student fees, which was previously anathema to both of them, whereas the Labour party, who introduced them, has suddenly turned against them and indeed ids fighting hard for the right of better off students to have them, making them a universal "benefit", not to be means tested.

    Everybody is at the mad hatters tea party, and we are all moving round one place. Whose "unbirthday" is it? I'd rather be in the teapot myself.

  • Comment number 89.

    Welcome to the Liberal Democrats "new clothes" (when it comes to manifesto promises. For more policy analysis, see my political blog The Brooks Blog here:

    http://the-brooks-blog.blogspot.com/2010/10/vince-cables-u-turn-liberal-democrats.html

  • Comment number 90.

    So much for "no more broken promises" then, Mr Clegg?

    http://tinyurl.com/365p3vx

  • Comment number 91.

    #87

    Just for clarity - are you saying that the NHS should introduce an age limit for certain treatments - that once of pensionable age, one's access to the NHS should be rationed somehow?

  • Comment number 92.

    In 2007, Vince Cable said "I'm very concerned about the impact of rising personal debt ..." (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gnpzpGz9xO4) and now looks to increase it.

    More recently the Lib Dem manifesto stated that they will "Scrap unfair university tuition fees for all students taking their first
    degree, including those studying part-time, saving them over £10,000
    each. We have a financially responsible plan to phase fees out over
    six years, so that the change is affordable even in these difficult
    economic times, and without cutting university income. We will
    immediately scrap fees for final year students."

    As a life-long voter for the Liberal party and its subsequent incarnations post-"Alliance", I feel let down by its current leadership. It seems that at best they did not know what they were talking about when campaigning at the last election, or at worst they no longer care about the things they stood for.

  • Comment number 93.

    66. At 00:26am on 13 Oct 2010, bluemoon62 wrote:
    I am a recent graduate from a middle-class background with 18k of debt. This debt doesn't bother me in the slightest because I know the terms of repayment are extremely favourable. If I start on a wage of around 19k a year, I will pay around 30 pound a month on repaying the loan ... what difference does your background make to the 'burden' of this debt??
    ====================================================================
    You, unfortunately, were lucky ... Estimated student debt under this new proposal will be over £30k ... and far from the nominal interest you are paying, could be charged at 5% ... Inflation + 2%. That means that to pay the debt off in 10 years, you'd need to pay £315 a month. More than 10 times what you will pay. You ask what difference background makes? Well if your parents are able to pay your debt for you, then you're choice of university won't be influenced by the fees that they charge ... whereas if you know you'll have to stand on your own 2 feet, you may well choose a 'cheaper' university on the basis of cost; rather than choosing a more prestigious one that you could gain entry to on merit alone.

  • Comment number 94.

    38. At 9:16pm on 12 Oct 2010, jobsagoodin wrote:
    A Graduate Tax ... "isn't paid by graduates that emigrate and it isn't paid by students who waste their education and end up unemployed."
    ====================================================================
    Err.. on your first point, firstly, how many of them are there? And anyway, I'm sure contracts could be drafted in such a way as to ensure that the liability follows you where ever you are. On the second point; pretty pointless statement really; the same could be said of the current system.

  • Comment number 95.

    72. At 03:15am on 13 Oct 2010, DistantTraveller wrote:
    Young people deserve a chance to continue their education if they wish - not to be denied the opportunity because someone has decided we don't 'need' any more. A policy like that would simply consign large numbers of people to the scrap-heap.
    =========================================================================
    So you think we should train people, say to become lawyers, only for them not to be able to get positions, or is this just for the sake of education. However what about the hope many of these souls will have re a career in law only to have them dashed. Does this not consign them to the scrap heap. The same can be said for many university courses. So do we let them go to university for the sake of just further education. Well in utopia you could but we are not living in utopia. You appear to be in the "Let them all eat cake" brigade. We can't simply afford it, but I am sure you would be happy to pay for education say with cuts to the health service, what NO I here you shout, well what then?

    Idiots guide to economics;

    Income X - expenditure X, books balance
    Income X - expenditure X -a, surplus
    Income X - expenditure X +a, deficit

    Now nations can run a deficit for a while but this has to be managed and manageable. We however have a deficit and debt which was not managed and certainly is not manageable.

    As I have said in the past we are all in this together, and as such must all take our share of the pain.

    To finish, I have a niece who graduated with a first class honours degree in History, she is currentley working in M&S stock replenishing. Nothing wrong with that apart from the fact that she was sold the dream, only to have it dashed along with a number of her colleagues.

  • Comment number 96.

    #87

    So the national interest is best served by politicians sticking to principles whatever the issue? This is questionable - otherwise coalition government doesn't work. Funding universities is a very difficult matter; we have had a report from Lord Browne and Liberal Democrats won't get any marks for ignoring it because of 'principles.'

  • Comment number 97.

    Yes, Nick, it looks like Vince has "pulled it off" AGAIN!!!!!

    Up in the lofty climbs of BBC Towers, you and your colleagues predict Armageddon for the Lib Dems and the Coalition almost on a daily basis.........................will you ever wake up and smell the coffee?

    As a Tory, I can think of nothing worse in our debt ridden society than young people starting working life £30,000 in debt and feel that a graduate tax would not have been the worst solution to a dire situation.

    However, it wasn't long ago that the Lib Dems were ducking out of a commitment to support a referendum on further powers being handed to Brussels and, funnily enough, I can't remember Auntie getting quite so exercised about that!!

    This is yet another catastrophe solely created by Labour and what a disaster for a socialist party to have on it's CV!

    Before 1997 university was largely free for most students. Now, it's a potential millstone around the neck for most of their working lives.

    I doubt there's a sound minded MP in the commons who wouldn't like to rectify this situation but, thanks to Liam Burns impressive honesty, we are only too aware that Gordon Brown left the nation too pot less to even begin to consider using hopelessly overstretched public funds.

    And, guess what, Nick? This will be the conclusion that most hand wringing Lib Dems will come to as they reluctantly to tow the coalition line.

  • Comment number 98.

    A further thought here. I'm guessing that a lot on the anti LibDem sentiment being expressed here is coming from Labour supporters, some of whm may have actually voted for the LibDems.

    Should, at some stage in the future, they get their wish and the coalition is dissolved, will they be clamouring for LibDem support to enable the labour party to take power?

  • Comment number 99.

    "At the moment I find it relatively amusing."

    I too find it amising. To see middle class students last evening arguing for the maintenance of the status quo on the basis that the increased direct cost of higher education will impact access of working class kids is irony indeed. The Lib Dems and Conservative coalition are to be congratulated on a brave move which will raise the quality of education and improve its pricing and that we move away from absurd target driven dogma so favoured by the last administration. You can bet your life that the middle classes in this country will kick and scream at the removal of their state priveleges but these changes must be made. There is plenty more to come.

  • Comment number 100.

    89. At 10:30am on 13 Oct 2010, Thom Brooks wrote:
    For more policy analysis, see my political blog The Brooks Blog here:
    http://the-brooks-blog.blogspot.com/2010/10/vince-cables-u-turn-liberal-democrats.html
    =========================================================================
    Glad to see you are hard at work, how you manage to take the time to contribute to this blog amazes me. If it weren't for the fact that you are only self promoting.

    Surly this should not be allowed either by your employers or the moderators of this blog!!!!!!!!!!

 

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