Thursday, May 06, 2010

A minor but irritating rewrite of history

Just noticed this in the Aaro election column:

When Tony Blair introduced tuition fees in 2004, against opposition from G. Brown and the Lib Dems, he didn’t do it because it was popular but because universities needed to be funded. In the 2005 election the Lib Dems won several university seats by frighting the air with predictions about how college applications would fall among the poorest students (who weren’t going to be affected by it anyway). So when this prediction turned out to be completely wrong, did they apologise?

Emphasis added. The point here is that yes, they were going to be affected by it. The safeguards for poorer students were not in the original bill brought forward by T Blair. They were added, at a later date, in order to bring Labour rebels back on side. I have no idea why the Libs (or Gordon Brown, if he did actually oppose it) should apologise for the fact that they manage to prevent the problem they predicted.

4 Comments:

Anonymous organic cheeseboard said...

Also - didn't Tony Blair introduce tuition fees in 1998? I could have sworn there were protests back then. I think Aaro means top-up fees.

I still can't quite understand why Decents have got a hard-on for Labour policy on higher education. More or less none of the fees have trickled down to the front lines - they seem to have gone directly into the pockets of the people running the universities.

and surely if Decents relaly cared about higher ed, they'd highlight the fact that Labour have pre-emptively slashed university funding (exactly at a point when recruitment was at an all-time high), at the same time as effectively promising variable fees in the future.

5/06/2010 02:24:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't understand this - the bursaries and access policies were built into the policy by 2005; Aaro says the LDs were campaigning in 2005 on the basis that fees would have a bad effect on access; the LDs were wrong in 2005; Aaro therefore seems right in what he says. What Andrew Adonis et al wanted in 2003-4 seems irrelevant.

5/07/2010 11:33:00 AM  
Blogger Andrew Bartlett said...

"Did they apologise?"

I can't stand the Lib Dem's dirty electioneering, but doesn't a demand for an apology about a minor claim come across as a bit rich from a unapologetic backer of wars in defence of a party that has unapologetically prosecuted wars?

5/07/2010 11:47:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

OC - the fees are already variable: most universities didn't bother offering cut price courses, so the 'market' was in bursary schemes. Now that the election's out of the way, the parties can talk about tuition fees again, and the signs are that (inevitably) the fees are going up - it's just a question of by how much.

[redpesto]

5/07/2010 12:47:00 PM  

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