Saturday, 7 March 2009

Harrogate Conference: The dog that didn't bark

I was delighted that Lib Dem conference decided to retain its policy on abolishing tuition fees in England (they've already been abolished in Scotland, of course).

Or rather, it didn't so much decide it as accept it by acclamation. Despite murmurings earlier in the year that there would be an attempt to reverse our policy, in the end no amendment was discussed on the subject and no speakers made the case that our policy should change.

I find it slightly odd that the people who wanted to accept tuition fees didn't put their case forward for discussion by conference. Did they realise it would be a forlorn debate as the party would vote overwhelmingly in favour of our current policy? Or are they keeping their powder dry for a future occasion.

Either way, the right decision was made and Lib Dems can be proud that we still oppose the disincentive to going on into higher education that tuition fees represent. We are still the only major party bopposed to tuition fees and I hope we will continue to make as much of this policy at the next election as we did last time.

1 comment:

James said...

That's a curious way of describing your party's position. In Scotland, only the Tories and Labour support tuition fees, and when you were collectively in government you merely delayed the payment point and changed the name.

I think it would be more fair to say that, during the 1999-2007 administration, the SNP, the Greens and the SSP were the main parties opposed to tuition fees, and since 2007 the Liberals have come round. Which is great, of course, and allowed Holyrood to abolish fees properly.

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