Don’t blame the media…..
Christopher Lovell has a blog suggesting that the recent ‘confusion’ over the Liberal Democrats policy on tuition fees is the media’s fault. Nothing could be further from the truth; the blame lies squarely with Nick Clegg and the leadership.
In reality, the policy announced by Clegg yesterday via e-mail, that we will retain our committment to scrap tuition fees by phasing them out over a six-year period is a result not of his wishes but the determined resistence of the Federal Policy Committee to Clegg’s wish to get rid of the policy. Time after time Clegg pushed for it to be put through and time after time he was defeated.The leadership also knew that it would lose any vote attempting to change the policy within the wider party.
We will leave aside Chris’s laughable claim that the Liberal Democrats are exceptionally democratic; they aren’t and he should know better. Please lets call a spade a spade. Only when we are prepared to do that can we mark a clear line of advance. It would also be wise to accept there are fundamental divisions in the party which will doubtless in time spill over into full-blown factional fighting when the occasion arises (probably after the election, especially if we are faced with the dilemma of a hung-parliament).
The tensions that are inherent within Clegg’s thinking (most glaringly in The Liberal Moment) are like a time-bomb under this party. His inability to work out a consistent world view lies at the heart of the schematic approach to policy we have seen under his leadership and will mean that the party will not move one beyond being a repository of protest votes.
In a hung-parliament situation this weakness will become fatal as he will not identify which course best charts the furtherance of our own policy goals. Already there are tensions between the leading committee and Clegg’s leadership and these would assume a more pronounced character in the above situation. The blame for the tuition fees debacle lies squarely with the leader not the media….