Transparency & Tuition Fees: An Update

Andrew Hickey’s comment on the Tuition Fees post yesterday was timely.

Support for the LibDems has now slumped to its lowest level since the formation of the party in 1988.

If this level of support does not improve, the LibDems would be reduced to only 11 MPs – from the current 57 – at the next election.

In a strange coincidence of themes, both the WikiLeaks and Tuition Fees posts are echoed by yesterday’s Indepedent editorial:

“Lib Dem ministers would not have been caught out by undercover reporters last month uttering criticisms of the Tories in private if they only had the nerve and honesty to say such things publicly…A bit more openness would make for more transparent government, and might save the Liberal Democrats from imploding.” You heard it here first.

Tuition Fees: Power and Promises

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


  • 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.