…because he said he wouldn’t. Or so goes the latest joke about Clegg’s epic ability to flip-flop on key policies and backtrack on some of his most fundamental pre-election promises. A few months before the election, Clegg signed a charter that said “I pledge to vote against any increase in fees in the next parliament and to pressure the government to introduce a fairer alternative”, he also said, and this is a direct quote:
“Labour and the Conservatives have been trying to keep tuition fees out of this election campaign. Despite the huge financial strain fees already place on Britain’s young people, it is clear both Labour and the Conservatives want to lift the cap on fees . . .
The Liberal Democrats are different. Not only will we oppose any raising of the cap, we will scrap tuition fees for good, including for part-time students . . . Students can make the difference in countless seats in this election. Use your vote to block those unfair tuition fees and get them scrapped once and for all.”
The real kick in the teeth for many of the students that are most affected by the increase in tuition fees is that they probably voted for the Liberal Democrats in the first place. The vote last night exposed a massive credibility deficit that the LibDems now have to try to bridge. It will take a lot longer than three years for Clegg and Vince Cable to win back that major voting block.