Tuition Fees: Power and Promises

This post looks at promises in relation to power and leadership.

Synopsis:

  • The LibDem leadership has spectacularly back-tracked on pre-election pledges to abolish university tuition fees;
  • Opinion varies as to whether this involves any real wrong-doing;
  • Pragmatists urge Clegg to think hard about future manifesto promises and to always shape future policy for power-sharing;
  • This implies abandoning the party’s ‘dreams’ (perhaps another word for ‘vision’?) and being ‘realistic’;
  • Idealists cannot reconcile themselves to the broken promises;
  • Moral outrage leads them to call for another election, in which manifesto promises are better scrutinised, but they struggle to muster a ‘killer’ argument against the LibDem leadership’s actions;
  • By using good leadership principles and practice as a bench-mark we can evaluate the longer term impact of the u-turn on the LibDem organisation, and on the political environment in which it operates;
  • Assessed using these criteria, the LibDem leadership is found seriously wanting, and has fallen well short of its leadership responsibilities;
  • The damaging material consequences of its actions might not be fully felt for some time;
  • Only a very short-term, self-serving view can draw any comfort from this lag between cause and effect. 

This post is presented in sections. See page 2 for a list of the main section headings.