Tuition Fees, Cuts, Cuts, More Cuts – Why Major Political Reform Is Needed

Posted: December 1, 2010 in Politics
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On Tuesday 30th November, the House Of Commons had an Opposition Day debate on the tuition fees, with Labour tabling a motion requesting the Government to publish a white paper on its proposals and details of how it will affect the poorer students, which was voted down by 307 votes to 244. This is seen as a precursor to the main debate which is scheduled to take place on 20th December, although the voting figures on this can’t be used as a reliable indicator as many Lib Dem MPs voted no to this motion. The fact that this motion was voted down means that the Government will not need to publish any report on how their proposals will affect the entry levels of students planning to go to university. During the debate the Rt Hon Secretary of State for Business Vince Cable admitted that he has considered abstaining on the vote (on a policy which comes from his own department).

On Wednesday 1st December, during Prime Minister’s Questions, David Cameron gave an indication that he would consider a u-turn on Education Secretary Michael Gove’s School Sports Partnerships proposals – something which he admitted had caused concern at local levels.

It seems we have a coalition Government that isn’t wholly confident in everything it is doing, and will look to avoid responsibility for any and all of its own actions by continuing to blame the previous Labour Government. We have a Prime Minister who essentially doesn’t agree with half of his own ministers on their proposals. We have a Chancellor Of The Exchequer who doesn’t have the foggiest what he’s doing and is relying on a “cut and hope” approach. We have a Business Secretary who has changed direction more times than that famed Frenchman Phillippe Fulloppe. We have a Deputy Prime Minister who is so hated amongst his own party that he surely cannot last in the capacity of Leader of the Lib Dems for much longer. In short, we have a Government which cannot decide what is best for this country, and will resort to shrinking the state as much as possible as is the Tory way, under the pretence of reducing the deficit, clearing national debt, whatever they want to keep calling it.

There is a rather fascinating site, False Economy, which gives detailed and accurate reasons as to why the austerity measures of this Government are not only too austere, they are risking the economic future of this country. It explains that a country’s debt cannot be compared to personal debt, which is what the Chancellor George Osborne has very naively done. It shows the effects of cuts on different areas of the economy and shows that being so severe with cuts, without promise of relief stimulus where needed, will cause all sorts of problems with regards to the welfare state and Governmental proposals to reduce their welfare payments and responsibilities. It also shows where the effects of cuts have already taken, with reductions in services (including the NHS, which the Conservatives pledged to protect) all over the country.

In short, the cuts proposed across the board will do more harm than good, and the protests around the country should in no way be limited to just the tuition fees issue. A number of Lib Dem political candidates have raised questions to their colleagues who were elected on all sorts of issues regarding the coalition agreement, and many party members have resigned their memberships in disgust at what has happened to their party. There is a cross-roads fast approaching for this country, and unfortunately most roads lead to ruin. We have an Opposition leader who is taking his time to ensure that his party has the right policies to fight the next election on, but in taking his time he is only allowing more ammunition to David Cameron who is constantly using the “blank canvas” argument instead of actually answering concerns about his Government’s policies and proposals. The Liberal Democrats are now a dead political force thanks to the actions of senior Lib Dem people (Clegg, Cable and Alexander are the three names that spring to mind) – they have effectively confirmed that the policies on which they stood are unworkable, and will now have to spend many more years in the political wilderness before being allowed anywhere near a seat of power. This benefits the Green Party, whose ideologies probably most closely match that of the Lib Dems and could carry a large number of voters into the next election with clever electioneering. Everyone knows what the Conservatives stand for, which is a fair country for rich people and screw everyone else.

Now is the time for serious political reform, and a change from the current two/three-party system into something which is far more democratic and represents the wishes of the people (which, after all, is what these people are paid, and voted for, to do). What that change is, and how it can be achieved, is uncertain, but if enough people take the political will and run with it, then genuine change (and not just the sort of change politicians bleat on about all the time) can be achieved. There needs to be a Government for the people, a Government that acts not on the basis of party affiliation, but on the best interests of this country. Now is the time for every single citizen of this country to have their rightful say on this country, on this once great country, and remove this horrific format of Government. Let us lead the world in showing that politics doesn’t have to be fought on party ideologies. It’s time for us to show the world just how brilliant we can be.

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