What is it with Nick Clegg? Last week before the student Carnival of Resistance, Clegg advised students not to participate, inviting us all to “look at the proposals”. This article from the Press Association says,
Protests against proposed increases in tuition fees risk scaring young people from poor backgrounds off going to university, Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg has warned.
Really? How did he work that out?
He appealed to the NUS to ensure that its campaign against fee rises does not have negative consequences on efforts to widen access to higher education.
So now Clegg has resorted to more lies and more threats. Is there no depth to which this man will not sink? The Guardian tells us that Labour will “trigger ” a vote in the Commons today that could “”bring about the first rebellion of the coalition”.
The paper also says,
Yesterday a petition signed by 104 former parliamentary candidates for the Lib Dems, essentially representing the party’s grassroots, called on Clegg to abide by the pre-election pledge to vote against higher fees. Research published today suggests that the higher fees will profoundly damage social mobility.
Of course Clegg is pig-headed and is unlikely to listen to good advice. He is more interested in what it means to be in government – even if that means he risks losing his seat at the next General Election. There is the smell of desperation about Clegg that is only masked by the odour of his bravado.
NUS President, Aaron Porter told Sky News,
“Given his plan to triple the tuition fees he said he would abolish, it would be astonishing for Nick Clegg to blame anyone but himself for putting people off university”
Porter recently had his spine returned to him by Labour. You can read the full text of Clegg’s letter to Porter here on Liberal Democrat Voice. This part of the letter stands out.
There is one thing in this debate that I believe unites all of us – both parties in the coalition; your fellow members in the Labour Party; the NUS and people throughout the country who care about higher education – and that is that the opportunity to go to university is one that everyone should feel they have. It would be a tragedy if we inadvertently allowed our debate about the methods to damage our shared goal.
Debate? Given Clegg’s bullishness, the ‘debate’ is likely to be one-sided. The letter to Porter is, in the words of The Spectator, “condescending”. Clegg has no interest in what the opposition says. He is right and that’s all there is to it.
A third day of action has been called for today and thousands of students around the country will be participating in strikes, demos and occupations.