Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Senior LibDem on tuition fees - "not only divided but clueless"

Interesting (leaked) note from Chris Davies MEP, Liberal Democrat, North West England, to LibDem members in his area. Edit: It is a precis of his  blog article, so he meant you to read it. Hard to believe isn't it?


Splits weaken parties, and sometimes destroy them. The reputation of the Liberal Democrat brand is being undermined with each passing hour as the impression grows stronger that on the issue of tuition fees we are not only divided but clueless.

The case for supporting the recommendations of the Browne inquiry is strong, and if I were in the Commons I would be voting with Nick. The real damage to the party comes not from our adjusting course to take account of changed conditions, nor from rebellion by backbenchers on grounds of individual conscience, but from the impression we are now giving of being all over the place.

Some Liberal Democrats will vote for the recommendations, some against. Some want to defer the vote, others want to abstain. In short, we are creating the impression not just of being weak, but of being a joke.

I would rather us have a reputation for being tough (but fair) bastards than for being indecisive. (Note to self, Editor)

Liberal Democrat MPs must now decide how to vote. If they want to limit the damage there should be only two options for them to consider . Either they vote for the recommendations, recognising that they provide funding for higher education in a progressive manner that protects those on lowest incomes, or they vote against on grounds of individual conscience.

There are times when an abstention is an honourable third option. This is not one of them.

Chris Davies MEP
8 December 2010

1 comment:

True Liberal said...

I receieved this laughable email myself.

It is of course largely written by Richard Marbrow, who embraces the Coalition full-heartedly, but he is rather close to Andrew Strunnel MP, an architect behind the deal done with the Tories and who is coming up to retirement age. Not that the two are linked, of course.

Abstaining is, to my mind at least, a more cowardly way of saying 'No'. The actions of those in the Council chamber who abstained on the Fees motion was disgraceful, although my ultimate contempt goes to those who voted no outright.

The sooner we get Clegg and his sycophants out (throughout the party), the better. And whilst I steadfastly remain a Liberal (I'm sorry Labour supporters, I abhor and deteste the modern trade union movement, so I will not be following Ian's example), I shall remain faithful to the party as it is set in the constitution.