Lib Dems had no way to block tuition fees
“PEOPLE just won’t forget the broken pledges on issues such as tuition fees,” says Duncan Hamilton (Insight, 22 July). I wonder if that is really the case.
In the case of a coalition or a minority government, unless there is a consensus within parliament, it is well-nigh impossible to implement individual policies, as the SNP members of the last Holyrood administration know only too well. Otherwise the council tax would have been replaced and student debt abolished, would they not?
In the case of Westminster, it should be remembered that, despite all the pre-election excitement predicting huge gains, the Liberal Democrats actually lost seats, due to a swing towards parties, Conservative and Labour, who were both in favour of increasing tuition fees. There was, therefore, no consensus in the UK government to stop the increase.
Parts of the electorate and the press do seem to have somewhat selective memories. Despite a pre-election promise not to do so, university tuition fees were introduced by Tony Blair’s first Labour administration, a government with a three-figure majority and therefore no need to accommodate a pesky coalition partner. How on earth has this fact slipped the collective consciousness?
Jane Ann Liston, member – North East Fife Liberal Democrats, St Andrews
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