Wednesday, 8 December 2010
The price of power
The Governments proposals on higher education funding and student finance etc. are to be debated on 9th December. The two briefing notes on this, available on the House of Commons website, run to 37pages. It is a measure of the failure to communicate the content of these proposals that tuition fees have grabbed all the attention. Liberal Democrat MPs at last seem to have sorted out how they are going to vote in this debate. That question should never have been allowed to grab so much air time. Those Lib Dem MPs in the Government should vote with the Government or resign from it. The rest can do as they please. This simple rule should apply to all issues and should have been in place ages ago thus preventing all the 'will you won't you' dithering & bad publicity. We are having an enormous problem going from a party of protest to a party of power. It is much easier to be a party of protest and most Lib Dems feel very comfortable in that role. Almost 50yrs ago when asked about the pressures that forced pragmatism to compromise principle Harold McMillan replied : "Events dear boy, events". Of course in Scotland since devolution, and in many Town & County Halls across the land, hundreds of LibDems have had to cope with the conflicts created by power both shared and by themselves but it is very new to the Parliamentary Party. Let's hope they learn & make a better job of it in future than they have this time.