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

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  • rate this
    +1

    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
    0

    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.

    Respects.

  • rate this
    0

    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
    0

    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
    0

    Comment number 272.

    RR

    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.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 271.

    267. AndyC555
    You were there once andy, albeit in shorts. Your dad working his backside off as a bus conductor, slaving away to support his family. Working class hero. Wonder if he'd be proud?

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 270.

    Cable claims his pledge evaporated once the coalition was formed as the pledge was in some way conditional. That is not true and Cable knows it. There was no "coalition government health warning" with the unconditional pledge. The Lib Dems who voted through the tuition fee increase are all toast.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 269.

    Could I have some marital advice from Mr Clegg please? If I ever get caught cheating on my wife should I say, "I'm sorry for cheating" or "I'm sorry for promising not to cheat."

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 268.

    252@harourmaster

    We can but it will be on the front page of the Sun tomorrow.

    Chairman of the Metropolitan Police Federation John Tully has called for Mitchell to resign - but they allowed a serial offender like Harwood to keep his job until there was irrefutable evidence against him.

  • rate this
    -2

    Comment number 267.

    #254

    I expect you keep your edition on the shelf next to "John Brown's Schooldays"(sic).

    Let me guess, it was Lewis Carroll himself who gave it to you at one of your dinner parties. He was sat in between you and the Queen of Sheeba and you all had a spiffing time looking at pictures of working class folk and imagining what it must be like to be one.

  • Comment number 266.

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

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 265.

    I just find it so strange that people actually believed the promise made at the election and are now all huffy they did not get what they wanted.

    Do voters actually think that politicians will do what they promise?

    No wonder we end up with all the dross that occupies Parliament.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 264.

    Spoke to a 1st year HND Engineering Student (under18 at last election) who has yet to vote and a 3rd year BA Ed Student post 'apology'.
    Both told me they would never trust the Lib Dem's ever again. The voter said that they may as well have voted Tory in the first place.
    Clegg should go, the Lib Dem's leave the coalition and start rebuilding.
    See how long the Tories survive as a minority Government

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 263.

    Just watched Mr Clegg 'singing' his apology. He really is out of his depth,stitched up by his loathsome Tory bedmates in every policy he holds dear, AV, House of Lords reform etc etc. Rock bottom in the polls, he is now a joke figure! Time to climb out of your short trousers Nick and scan the 'situations vacant column.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 262.

    He's a loser, it's written all over him. It's just a shame we can't now have a 'confession' from newlabour over Iraq, tripartite regulation, immigration, education, health service targets, public sector wage inflation, government spending, deficit denial and the rest of the omnishambles they left for the coalition to clear up.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 261.

    I think the 'Not to be trusted'suffix should follow these 'liberal con- merchant weasels' for the rest of this parliament at least. Can we and should we believe anything promised pre election?

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 260.

    neil 255

    But they could have forced the tories to accept LD policy on tuition fees when negotiating the Coalition.

    They just needed to make it a dealbreaker, their numero uno, the sine qua non. It was a 'pledge' after all.

    In return they could have junked other stuff, non-pledgy type policies such as electoral reform and fairer taxes.

    They were constrained, yes, but they made choices.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 259.

    256#

    Indeed. In circumstances such as that, I think your appendix is the organ you should be the least worried about. :-)

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 258.

    Once a liar always a liar, bye bye Cleggy boy and take your alternative conservative party with you!

  • Comment number 257.

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

 

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