On another Lib Dem blog we read that
Today’s tuition fee vote is a milestone for the Liberal Democrat party. It is the first time the party has had to seriously consider the wisdom of a policy designed for permanent opposition from the perspective of government. Twenty-seven [twenty-eight if you include Mark Hunter MP one of the Tellers] of the fifty-five present and able to vote decided to vote in the national interest for a policy that was well-designed, fair, and should ensure sustained quality in the higher education for the many, not the few. They should be congratulated.
The student protesters, or rather the minority who turn up for a rumble not a grumble, once again, have damaged the opposition case. Assaulting horses, vandalising property and endangering peaceful protesters by putting them in harms way. Aaron Porter of the National Union of Students I feel would have been wise to call for a mass silent protest to highlight those excluded by higher fees. Both a more compelling way to make his point, and as a way of marginalising the extremists…
… The change in policy is not secure yet, the House of Lords may well demand further concessions and prove a target for a new pledge campaign. But this vote was an important hurdle and the party needs to rally round and move on.
Just to be sure that everyone knows where I stand – although I am sure that there is no doubt, my comments there were:
No apologies, but I completely disagree. There are clear reasons why the 21 voted against the Tuition Fees proposal. They voted to keep their pledges that they made before the General Election. The 27 should hang their heads in shame. Shame at how they have rebelled against Party Policy. Shame at how they have portrayed the rest of us in the Liberal Democrats as liars like them.
Furthermore, Andy Mayer says that
The change in policy is not secure yet, the House of Lords may well demand further concessions and prove a target for a new pledge campaign. But this vote was an important hurdle and the party needs to rally round and move on.
Indeed the change in policy from Her Majesty’s Government is not secure yet – but as Liberal Democrats we have not changed our policy last time I checked.
I agree that the party needs to rally round – but not in support of the 27 of its MPs that have rebelled against our own longstanding policy. As I have said before, I will continue to say, loud and clear: Shame on them! Shame on them! They have betrayed all of those who worked to help them get elected.
Those that should hang their heads in shame
- Danny Alexander (Inverness, Nairn, Badenoch and Strathspey)
- Norman Baker (Lewes)
- Sir Alan Beith (Berwick-upon-Tweed)
- Gordon Birtwistle (Burnley)
- Tom Brake (Carshalton & Wallington)
- Jeremy Browne (Taunton Deane)
- Malcolm Bruce (Gordon)
- Paul Burstow (Sutton & Cheam)
- Vincent Cable (Twickenham)
- Alistair Carmichael (Orkney & Shetland)
- Nick Clegg (Sheffield Hallam)
- Edward Davey (Kingston & Surbiton)
- Lynne Featherstone (Hornsey & Wood Green)
- Don Foster (Bath)
- Stephen Gilbert (St Austell and Newquay)
- Duncan Hames (Chippenham)
- Nick Harvey (Devon North)
- David Heath (Somerton & Frome)
- John Hemming (Birmingham Yardley)
- Norman Lamb (Norfolk North)
- David Laws (Yeovil)
- Michael Moore (Berwickshire, Roxburgh & Selkirk)
- Andrew Stunell (Hazel Grove)
- Jo Swinson (Dunbartonshire East)
- Sarah Teather (Brent Central)
- David Ward (Bradford East)
- Steve Webb (Thornbury and Yate)
Mark Hunter, MP for Cheadle, was missed out of this list as he was one of the Tellers. Please forgive my mistake…
- A close vote on tuition fees (economist.com)
- Decision day for tuition fees row (bbc.co.uk)
- Lib Dems fail to learn lessons from Scotland on tuition fees (leftfootforward.org)
- Tuition fees vote – politics blog live (guardian.co.uk)