10 Dec 2010
Lib Dems on Main Street
St Albans voters might not have been surprised to see Anne Main in the ‘Aye’ lobby at the tuition fees vote, trashing the hopes of her less well-off young constituents that they might go to university. But I wonder if she was surprised to see so many Lib Dems in the lobby with her, breaking their solemn promise to students.
The vote was close, with just 21 more ‘Ayes’ than ‘Noes’. 27 Lib Dems voted in favour. So the bill would not have passed without their support. Labour introduced fees in the first place, so they have little to shout about. The public outrage at all this is understandable. So is the fact that the latest YouGov poll has the Lib Dems at just eight per cent. It's hard to imagine anyone now trusting the word of a Lib Dem MP.
Young people have been badly let down by these politicians. But I’m glad to say that the Green Party has attracted many new members recently, notably many young people. Perhaps they’ve noticed that we’re the only ones left who support free education.
Our education system should be based on academic ability, not financial status. Yet the Lib Dems and Tories seem to be on a mission to punish the poorest, the unemployed, the students and those who need society’s support the most. The Government should be cracking down on tax-avoiders, increasing income tax for the richest and closing the loopholes that allow large corporations to avoid billions in tax. They should be investing in UK jobs and the public sector, to get the economy moving again.
Instead they have taken a political choice to focus on massive cuts. A choice which, come the local elections in May, voters may make them regret.