Take a look at Nick Clegg’s face and hands in the picture in this Guardian report of how the Lib Dems planned to abandon the tuition fees pledge before the last election.
The report makes pretty clear that even as the party was hoovering up student votes, the man making contingency plans for coalition discussions in the event of the hung Parliament knew that the pledge might be sacrificed. And given that he was none other than Danny Alexander, Clegg’s right hand man, we can safely assume Clegg knew too.
Look closely at Clegg. Nervous smile. Hands barely holding the ‘I pledge’ poster. Compare and contrast with the beaming joy on the face of his ginger (used purely for identification purposes, the word rat did come near my mind) colleague alongside. Oh how happy is he to feel the votes coming his way from students at his local university … and there they are, three such students happy to be giving their support.
As my daughter says when it turns out she was right and I was wrong on some minor factaul point we have been arguing about … HOW DO YOU FEEL?
All this on the day we now hear that Michael Gove is planning to erode further the role of local authorities in the running of state schools – something else the Lib Dems used to campaign against. Stand by for another Clegg interview in which he says he really wrestled with his conscience on this one, but ultimately it was the right thing to do to sort out the economic mess we inherited blahdiblahdiblah.
On which point, Labour really need to challenge better the notion put forward in every single coalition interview that somehow they are sorting out an economic mess of Labour’s making. They are not. They are making ideological cuts to shrink the state because they always wanted to, and using the Lib Dems as cover. They are trying to erase the memory of a Labour decade of relative growth and prosperity which saw living standards rise and saw enormous and successful investment in the public services they are now cutting. And they are overlooking any international factors in the economic crisis, and the fact that it was largely a combination of the banks and their bankrollers who caused it.