Nick Clegg's gamble over tuition fee apology


Some of his advisers told him not to do it. They warned him that it would only remind people of something they were just beginning to forget. They feared it would overshadow anything they did now.

Nick Clegg thought differently. He decided that the only possible hope of redemption was through confession - to admit that he'd made an election promise he knew he had little, if any, chance of delivering.

The truth is, if anything, more stark. The Lib Dem leadership regarded their policy of scrapping student fees as unaffordable. They tried but failed to persuade their party to drop it. They decided not to push for it in any coalition negotiations (as is confirmed in Rob Wilson's book on the Coalition). Nevertheless, they decided it was an irresistible vote winner so they pledged to deliver the impossible.

The Lib Dem leader believes that his party is on a journey from the opportunism of permanent opposition to the responsibility of being a governing party. It is a journey which the voters will re-join him on if, and only if, they believe he has learnt from his mistakes.

That's why he has decided to 'fess up now.

Nick Robinson Article written by Nick Robinson Nick Robinson Political editor

What a difference a day makes

In just 24 hours, Sir Malcolm Rifkind went from angry defiance to a grim-faced acceptance that he would have to quit his job as an MP and chairman of the Intelligence and Security Committee.

Read full article

More on This Story

More from Nick


This entry is now closed for comments

Jump to comments pagination
  • rate this

    Comment number 276.

    Nick - you're far too charitable! Clegg's confession is no more than a damage limitation exercise: we all saw a similar confession from Clinton a few years back. Both are clearly a 'gotcha! scenario'. Unfortunately for Clegg, his political career is virtually finished - and probably the entire Lib Dem party with it . . . not that that will be any great loss.

  • rate this

    Comment number 275.

    216. AndyC555
    204. Steve_M-H

    Damnation - you've rumbled me.

    I bow to your superior debating skills.

    If all else fails resort to unsubstantiated personal insults.

    You are a credit to your ancestors.


  • rate this

    Comment number 274.

    I've seen the sorry singing video from NC - I think he should apply for Big Brother next.
    He knew before the election there was a serious chance he could be in a Coalition Government with somebody (anybody?) but he still made a promise he knew was not deliverable by anyone.
    Now he wonders whether people will trust him after he apologises for making it - dream on!!

  • rate this

    Comment number 273.

    If Cameron wants a Thrasher with a short fuse to be a Tsar, Mitchell could members to get knouted.But not Policemen.Given the PMs own regular crimson visage, Thrasher's a bad choice.,Does he disclose a predeliction for le vice Anglais? More seriously a man incapable of keeping to the rules to which we should all conform, and abuses the law, is contemptible

  • rate this

    Comment number 272.


    Poor Rock Robin.You`ll be banging a drum for those losers until hell freezes.

    I said here in 2010 Dave and George were not competent economists,that sovereign debt was the next state of the crisis,that growth and revenue would fall and debt spiral.

    History is a guide.Debt was 237% of GDP in 1946,it fell below 100% in 1962 for the first time since 1918!.Growth was the key.


Comments 5 of 276



Copyright © 2015 BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.