Higher Education Funding

I supported the Government on Higher Education funding last night.

For someone like me – who has always believed that education should be free – it has been a difficult decision. Sadly, my view of education (free through raising taxation) isn’t on the table – or anywhere near it. That vision was ended when Labour introduced tuition fees and the principle of free education for all fell. So last night I chose to vote for the proposals because they are fairer than either the NUS or Labour proposals. I also could not justify students being the only group in society protected from the cuts.

Not only will paying back be at a cheaper rate than the current system – but no one will have to pay back until their salary reaches a higher threshold than before (£21,000 up-rated annually). Students from poorer backgrounds will have £150 million in bursaries and the maintenance grant which is over £3000 and has increased slightly doesn’t have to be paid back at all. Moreover, for the first time, part-time students (often poor, often missed first chance and often women) will also not have to pay anything up front – removing a real barrier to further education.

However, the key question for me was will that level of potential debt put poorer students off? When Labour introduced tuition fees – I believed poorer students would be put off. That didn’t happen. In fact more students went to university – and more of those students came from poorer families. With these increases I remain concerned – but have received assurances that if there is any sign of a falling off of applications from poorer students – action will be taken.

At this point in time, with the widest gap between rich and poor and social mobility non-existent – I believe the biggest inhibition to children from poorer backgrounds going to university – is that they don’t see themselves in that way and don’t have that aspiration. That is why for me the money we are putting into early years and into the pupil premium is so important. Closing that gap and increasing social mobility has to be the priority.

Lastly – on breaking the NUS pledge – I can only apologise. However, for me, that pledge was super-ceded by my signing up to the coalition agreement and although the coalition agreement allowed for abstention – for me that would have felt like opting out of making a very important decision.

I have listened to local students, local residents, party members, council group members and colleagues – and thank them all for their views. It is clear that everyone cares passionately about education and life chances – and that just because we may have differing views on how best to go forward – we all do care.

0 thoughts on “Higher Education Funding

  1. Is there a bad smell in the house? No it’s odious Tory boy just above being “truly shocked”.

    Killing the NHS and decimating the concept of a welfare state having registered nil on his Thatcher scale. Must therefore have cried when someone kicked Camilla’s car.

  2. @ Justin Hinchcliffe

    paint us as Labour all you want but it doesn’t change the issues. the merits of the tuition fees is not under scrutiny here, but her integrity is. For years she has used this blog to challenge ministers on tuition fees and finally when she has the ability to affect change she bottles it. this was after she had signed a pledge stating that she would vote against tuition fees. there was no wiggle room in this; in opposition, in majority power or in a coalition we expected her to honour her promise and vote no. and then to try and justify it in the way she has is a further kick in the teeth. as some have already stated, if Labour introducing the tuition has quashed the notion of free higher education then why has many a Liberal Democrat campaign been fought on this issue since then? are we being duped into voting liberal democrat? if there were no viable alternatives to a trebling of fees and an 80% cut in funding then why not vote no and force further discussion? for all my relatively short life the liberal democrats have been the 3rd party and hadn’t been tainted by errors made in power. for his reason i was naive and thought that they offered a viable alternative to labour or conservatives, instead the power and trappings of parliament has gone to their heads and they would rather keep their jobs than their morals. I praise the liberal democrats who resigned and voted no, it’s a shame none of the bigwigs in the party displayed a similar level of bravery. I don’t know who i’ll vote next election, definitely won’t be Liberal Democrats though.

  3. Sadly with both Labour and the Conservatives wanting to increase fees you and the Lib Dems were really up against it. The sad fact is that if voters wanted to scrap fees than they should have given the Lib Dems a majority rather than just 50 odd MP’s. With Ed Millibad saying that Labour would not scrap the increase in fees it is a setback for those of us who believe education should be free to students for their 1st degree.
    The coalition plans are fairer than what is currently in place and the poorest students will be better off so there is much to be thankful for, but please do all you can to make sure the support to poorer students is improved further so that more children can escape the poverty of their upbringing.
    I would still rather have you and the Lib Dems in government influencing policy rather than shouting insults from the outside. Keep up the good work.

  4. Lynne you have always appeared to be an irritating woman with the charm of a slug. Now its proven beyond doubt that you are a vacuous lying woman. If I were to promise my daughter a new doll then give her a slap I would be guilty of the most horrible crime of moral disorder.
    That is precisely where you now stand, an immoral woman. How can one promise ever be superseded in any cidcumstances.
    Start cozying up to the banks or armed robbers as they are the only people who are likely to consider you for future employment and even they might be worried about your morals.

  5. Part of the reason for the passing flurry of interest in the LibDems at the last election was the electorate’s rejection of politics-as-usual. Clegg’s rallying speech against broken political promises caught the mood of the people. LibDem MPs just don’t get it. We understand that coalition means compromises, but its your choice of where to compromise that will hurt you next election. A “pledge” means something to voters. You’re word is worthless. Instead of changing politics you’re proving daily you’re the same. So no reason to vote for you ever again. Bye, bye.

  6. I voted Libdem in the last election, and was happy when the Libdems aligned with the Conservatives, because I felt the country needed an effective government.

    However if I had any idea that a policy like this was going to come in you wouldn’t have had my vote, nor my wife’s, nor my 18 year old son’s vote.

    It is very unlikely that you will have any of our votes next time around, let alone the votes of my 2 other sons who will be voting age and picking up an extra £20K of fees each, courtesy of this policy.

    Shame on the Libdems.

  7. I, like so many, voted for you, partly because of the LibDem stance on tuition fees. However, now the vote has happened, I am finding myself increasingly unhappy and angry about the media’s and the governments focus on the students’ violence on the protests rather than examining the behaviour of the police. Whilst I definitely do not support violent protest, it does not,to my mind, justify what looks like the police’s indescriminate violence towards the students.

    You must be well aware that many of the kids going from your constituency will be school age or 1st year uni students and parents will have remembered their own youth when grant protests were relatively responsible and benignly treated by the police. How dreadful to discover that, because of a small number of violent people, the police respond by kettling them in freezing conditions for hours, aggravating the crowds, sending in horses and using batons, resulting in the hospitalisation of some moderate, idealistic young people.

    What concerns me now is that no-one in power seems to be condemning the police’s response at all.

  8. So disappointed Lynne and I can’t help thinking that this is simply to save your own ministerial position. This is a sell out.

    A number of key points you seem to be missing.

    1. Labour were not removing public funding, they were adding additional funding when they introduced tuition fees. Unis got massive new investment.

    2. This is a massive shift from universities being mostly funded by the state to being funded by students. The money from students will only (in most cases) just be enough to replace what the coalition is taking away.

    3. How will young people get mortgages when they are already up to their eyeballs in debt? This will have unforeseen consequences.

    4. Finally, this is marketisation of HE. Russell Group unis will no doubt thrive on charging £9000, as for the rest of the sector who knows what will happen. Near to you, you will have unis like London Met which will really struggle.

    I will absolutely fight this. In five years time will take to the streets of Crouch End to support any candidate that will remove you from office.

    I teach at a university and many 18 year-old students voted Lib Dem precisely because of your opposition to fees.These are first time voters. You can’t do this.

  9. @ jean
    they need to keep the police onside in order to suppress the masses during the years a head and to send out a strong message that protest will not be tolerated. Once the ideological Tory policies (cuts to welfare in the name of an economy drive) have been implemented and the protests have been squashed, the police budget will be cut and they’ll be wishing we were all there to support them… instead we’ll all have broken skulls!

  10. Best to move on. Push the equality agenda as far as possible – no more compromises.

  11. On the contrary to most of the comments, your level of maturity and professionalism shown with these difficult issues has been astounding. You take difficult issues head on. I completely agree too that social mobility in this country will not stop due to fee increases for universities but because people from a young age lose that inspiration very quickly, those who are going to university often make their minds up at a very young age. However, many poorer students, most often do not have that inspiration or encouragement but with the funds and support you are putting into younger children, I believe an upward scale of social mobility will result from this government and you will be proud of yourself for taking tough but effective decisions.

  12. Further regarding tuition fees:

    Labour introduced them in 1997 and said they would not.
    Labour introduced top-up-fees in 2004 despite stating in their 2001 election manifesto they would not.
    Labour set-up the Browne review last year and I have read countless articles that the conclusion would result in around 9-12k fees a year and labour were prepared to accept this. Labour set-up the review for a reason, as there was a black hole in university funding, especially now due to the deficit they left behind. They did not set this review up for the fun, it was well intended to put fees up.

    Now the sheer hypocrisy of them is astounding. From the way they are acting but from the way they are acting, the facts above, you would not believe they had anything to do with it.

    Those who are no longer going to vote Lib Dem again due to this or that or something else next week, what is the alternative? Labour….? With their record on civil liberties and higher education (explained above?)…? Very strange move indeed.

  13. “That is why for me the money we are putting into early years and into the pupil premium is so important.”

    I’m not sure I fully believe you on this one either. Isn’t it true that this money is being taken away from other young children, children who have special educational needs but happen to be in a school where there are fewer children who are entitled to free school meals? Is it REALLY additional funding or is this just whitewash?

  14. Shame on you.

    I won’t dwell on criticism, except to say that it mostly doesn’t go far enough. I will focus on the alternative to being a lying, low-life, political living dead:

    Leave the coalition!

    It’s so simple. The Tories could never have got these horrible marketisation reforms through if they were a minority government. We would actually have meaningful debate in the Commons for once, instead of bored rhetoric before a vote result long foreseen. That would be at least a little closer to the supposed ‘new politics’ Clegg promised before literally selling his soul (if you believe in such a thing).

    How can you allow your monstrous megalomaniac party leader to corrupt every one of your party morally, politically and ideologically?? Be your own person!

    I’m not sorry to hear about your anguish and sadness after the vote – as it’s the only extant evidence of your humanity. Please save yourself and leave this awful excuse for a democratic government.

  15. This article lacks substance and you lack a backbone and integrity. I am appalled by our current government, and hope you enjoy your time as a minister because I am safe in the knowledge it will be your last term and the end of the liberal democrats.

  16. As someone who votes LibDem, I can’t see the point if their policies and pledges at the election are going to be “superceded” by coalition agreements. I will never vote LibDem ever again: fool me once, shame on me. Fool me twice, shame on me.

  17. 15 years ago I went to Highgate Wood School (where I had free school meals for most of the time, but not in my last year) and then on to Cambridge University.

    Under the ConDem schemes I would not have got any financial support. There is NO WAY ON EARTH i would have gone to Cambridge or any university with £9k+ pa fees, or anything near it. The idea of racking up at least £40k of debt by the age of 21 would have been impossible for me to dare contemplate, given my family’s earnings at the time.

    This policy is disastrous for social mobility and for Lynne to argue it’s not is ridiculous. Even with lower fees, access to universities (and hence to the jobs market) was already becoming more stratified, with the top unis becoming less diverse, as the less regarded unis struggled to meet demand. It’s pretty clear that this trend will now accelerate massively and bright but poor youngsters will have to reduce their aspirations, not increase them as per this MP’s blather.

    Shame on the lib dems. If they’re looking for people to share the pain, I would have thought rich tax avoiders would be better people to start with, than 15 year olds. But I guess anyone harbouring illusions that the lib dems were that bothered about social justice will have had a rude awakening by now.

  18. @Luke Labour did not introduce fees in 2004, they legislated for them in the next government and there was a hell of a lot more backbone from Labour MP’s who didn’t like the U-Turn, and then we had a general election where fees were part of Labour’s manifesto, so no, it’s not the same thing.

  19. @morag cumming – you are dead right. The pupil premium means nothing. School budgets have been frozen and there are rising pupil numbers – so it’s a cut by any other measure. The so called pupil premium (a ‘premium’ that means no more extra money: oh, the wonderful world of lib-dem bullshit) will actually divert money away from areas of deprivation (i.e. bits of Haringey) to Gloucestershire and Berkshire. To use this as a justification for voting for tuition fees just compounds the deceit, the lies, the nonsense – all this from someone who was elected because she claimed to be part of the ‘new politics’. Disgraceful.

  20. “although the coalition agreement allowed for abstention – for me that would have felt like opting out of making a very important decision.”

    Sorry, think you made a typo Lynne, Allow me to correct it:

    “although the coalition agreement allowed for absention – for me that would have meant having to give up a ministerial salary, which I was reluctant to do as now I’ve had a taste of it, I’m quite happy to throw my principles out the window”

    There, that’s better.

    And can you hear that sound Lynne – that’s your majority tumbling… Countdown to losing your seat, tick, tick tick…

  21. Luke, very few people on this site have suggested voting Labour and I expect most are fully aware that it was Labour who started the rot by introducing “top-up fees” in the first place. Come the next election, who knows what the choices will be. Right now, that’s not the point. The vast majority of people on this site are angry about the hypocrisy and deceit shown by Lynne Featherstone and the Lib Dems in this Tory-led coalition. So setting up an argument about “so what would Labour do, then?” is just a complete red herring, excuse the pun.

  22. Oh and Luke, as someone who works in the education sector, Labour did a hell of a lot both in terms of infrastructure and funding, they sure as hell did not try to privatise our education system.

  23. Absolutely horrified, digusted, appalled that I was naive enough to trust the Lib Dems with my vote last may. I don’t know if I can vote Labour in the future, but I know for certain after yesterday’s betrayal, I will have the courage to Abstain or say NO if it comes down to voting yes for Lynne or any other Lib Dem.

  24. Hi Lynne, i jst have a few minor points. Whilst you’re in power please can you also cut NHS funding by 80% and ask people to pay the majority of their treatments out of their own pocket. Apart from yearly check ups, my family and I haven’t received any other treatment from the NHS in the last few years and i think it is unfair that our taxes are funding smokers, alcoholics, dangerous drivers and so on. this could save a lot of money since people would be more unlikely to burden the NHS with unnecessary ailments. Whilst we’re borrowing ideas on HE from the US, can also take their idea of health insurance?
    Anyway, In order to send my 2 teenage children to University it will now cost in excess of £21000 each. I do not feel i am getting the full benefit of my taxes at the moment, so from this point on i will call the emergency services whenever i have the slightest reason to, visit my GP for every minor ailment that i have and claim any and all benefits i am able to. Better yet, i can divorce my wife and then the kids will qualify for a free education and school meals etc etc.
    thank you Lynne, you, yes you Lynne, have badly let me and many others down!

  25. @ Luke
    So, due to the deficit Higher Education is to have 70%+ of its funding cut? is this in line with cuts to other sectors? and i don’t care about labour, i care about a party which promised to vote against ANY rise in tuition fees. this wasn’t a “we will try to…” statement, it was a solemn promise and those Lib Dems who voted for the fee increase are the hypocrits! Lynne could’ve voted against it and stuck to her principles. It wouldn’t have affected the outcome but at least she could hold her head slightly higher. Then again, this would have meant quitting her cushy post.

    I had voted Lib Dem for many years because i thought they had morales and shared similar views tome. However, it appears they are as crooked as Labour and the Conservatives. Fortunately there are more than three parties in this country and personally i can see the more extreme groups picking up a few votes.

  26. Cons and LibDems share a passion in telling how bad Brown’s Labour government was. And yet, after only a few months the ConDems can only muster a majority of 21 on the tuition fees vote. Still,that ‘s 15 more votes than when Labour introduced tuition fees with a majority of 5 votes! So, it appears to be a finely balanced issue in parliament. The impression I get is that elsewhere this massive increase in tuition fees is massively unpopular. So why is it that some Lidems were convinced that the right thing to do was to vote against the bill and yet all of those, like Lynne, with ministerial posts were convinced otherwise?

    Lynne adds also that she “could not justify students being the only group in society protected from the cuts.” That implies that no-one will be protected from the cuts and must, therefore, include all those pensioners and other innocents who played no part in getting us in this position – and the latter include all prospective students.

    It was interesting to hear Ruth Lee speaking on yesterday’s Any Questions. Given time she manages to consider what her adopted position should be. When, however, a heckler asked for volunteers on the panel to repay their tuition fees she quickly retorted “she had paid a lot in taxes since graduation”. Poor Ruth – that’s exactly how it should be, but Lynnes affirms that “Sadly, (her) view of education (free through raising taxation) isn’t on the table”. Now she has re-emerged from the difficulties of the past few weeks perhaps Lynne will start to engage again and tell us all why such a proposition wasn’t on the table? If the coalition survives I’ll be curious to see which way Lynne votes on any proposals for lower taxes that get tabled before the next election …

  27. “That vision was ended when Labour introduced tuition fees and the principle of free education for all fell. ”

    If this was true why is your party’s stated policy to abolish fees ?
    Why did you stand in two elections promising to abolish them ?
    Are we to take it these were just empty words ?

    “However, for me, that pledge was super-ceded by my signing up to the coalition agreement”

    Well done, you make the best argument against plural politics possible. Voters cannot trust MP’s to make good their promises (personal, freely made promises) once the ballot closes. You do must think very poorly of the intelligence of those who voted for you if you believe they cannot tell the difference between a manifesto poolicy (we understand these can only be fully implemented if in a majority) and a personal pledge. You have made yourself a liar, sorry harsh word but the only one that fits.

  28. Luke – you’re quite right, what alternative is there? That’s why people are so upset; the Lib Dems claimed they were different.

    I, for one, will vote Green.

  29. I don’t know if you read all your comments Lynne but rest assured there are plenty of Liberal Democrats like myself who still support you and realise you have done the right thing however painful.

  30. If the pledge is superceded by the coalition agreement, why is an agreement with the Conservative Party more important than an agreement with your constituents?

    I’d like to know where you think this leaves the democratic process, if a party explicitly promises one thing and then does another. The manifesto promise, and even more, a signed pledge, is the only way a voter knows what you will do. If we don’t, we might as well not vote, since government policy has no link to party policy.

    No party has ever signed a pledge for something and then done the exact opposite. “No more broken promises”? The Liberal Democrats have done something no democratic party has ever done before! You are the worst of them all! At least Labour and the Tories are professional enough to promise us less.

    I heard you were shaky when voting ‘yes’ on this. Imagine how shaky you’d be if you knew you’d graduate with tens of thousands of pounds of debt hanging over you for many many years on a pretty average salary!

  31. Lynne,

    You have already lost my vote several times over, so I guess this makes no practical difference. Every time the Liberals have got somewhere, something seems to naff it up – a merger with Labour malcontents, a murderous leader and now jumping into bed with the children of Thatcher. You would have been better sticking with the drunk. Back to the wilderness for you…

    The thing I really don’t understand is that you did all this for a hopeless referendum on AV mixed with some regressive scheme to reduce the number of mps and gerrymander parliament for the Tories – Not even AV+. What a lousy deal you people sold your souls for.



  32. Hi Ms Featherstone

    I understand [from The Independent ] that the emotions you felt on voting for the increase in students’ tuition fees left you distraught.

    Not since your support for dropping Sir Menzies Campbell as leader, have we felt such disappointment at your record. What is more important to you? Slavish following of the coalition garnered to obtain power, or abiding by sincere pronouncements before attaining power? We in the Muslim community are clear that we expected a definite resolve in what had been presented to us as the reasons for giving our votes to the Liberal Democrat party.

    We suspect that why you felt so used up and affected by your actions is that you genuinely believed that you were right to oppose this measure. but you allowed your vicarious political allliance with the Tories to cloud your judgment of where your support for the unnecessary measure should lie.

    It is the Muslim poor who will be affected by your action; and there exists no doubt that many less minority and disadvantaged students will now afford Higher Education, whilst bankers, corporate financiers and monopoly Utility firms who escape taxes will benefit.

    Yours Truly

    Jaffer Clarke
    Deputy Leader
    Muslim Parliament of Great Britain

  33. “I have listened to local students, local residents…”

    Lies! The only thing you have listened to is the party whip! Needed to be consoled by Nick? It only shows you have no conviction in your job. Shame on you! Resign!

  34. to write that your vision was ended when Labour introduced tuition fees is a very poor way of trying to dodge the issue – education – access and payment thereof was up for debate and if you wanted to vote against you could have

    but you showed your true colours

    you sold out

    Yes Minister

    now you better just hurry up and try and garner as much free stationery etc as you can before the next election

  35. Good to see this debate being conducted in such a calm, mutually respectful manner.

    You say the pledge on tuition fees was superceded by the coalition agreement. The only problem being that you stood for election on your party’s manifesto, not the coalition agreement.

    Saying “well, we didn’t win the election” is, for the Liberal Democrats, a pretty pitiful excuse. Maybe the next manifesto should include a list of policies that could be “superceded”, just to be on the safe side.

    I voted for you because I thought the Lib Dems had principles that, unlike Labour or the Tories, wouldn’t be abandoned overnight. Feeling pretty foolish now, a bit like I’ve been scammed.

  36. Hi Lynne, I don’t want to receive any more tedious pamphlets through my door featuring your PR campaign to convince us you are working hard and making life better for us voters. Instead I would just like to see that actually happening in the decisions you make in parliament.

    You’ve just let us down and thrown away the education of millions of young people. You say you “could not justify students being the only group in society protected from the cuts”, well personally as someone who voted for you I CAN see that justification, and I thought you could see it too since you signed the NUS pledge not to raise fees. Otherwise I would not have voted for you.

    Its become clear now that you’re nothing more than a yellow Tory. You have lost my vote, and my family’s vote.

  37. “Moreover, for the first time, part-time students (often poor, often missed first chance and often women) will also not have to pay anything up front”

    Ahahaha. Haha. Ha. Who told you that??

    Female ex-comprehensive part-time student here. Not going to be eligible for the loans. Lots of us aren’t, for various reasons; to name but one, I’m sure you’re aware that those taking ELQs get no support at all. Your suggestion here is for many OU students so obviously a canard that it has a bill and beady eyes and answers to the name ‘quackers.’ Instead of the old costs, expensive but just about manageable on a very part time basis, many will be required to pay New, Progressive, Fairer (TM) costs if we want to finish our qualifications; that is, if the Open University doesn’t fall apart first.

    I wish someone would define the term ‘fair’ as Lib Dems use it. If you intend to use the definition in the Oxford English Dictionary, then I think you also need to look up ‘semantic shift’ and then propose your definition to the OED as a new auto-antonym; ‘fair,’ meaning ‘regionalised and discriminatory.’ Or maybe the Lib Dems are taking their cue on the term’s meaning and application from a Fox News slogan: ‘Fair and Balanced.’

    “I chose to vote for the proposals because they are fairer than either the NUS or Labour proposals. I also could not justify students being the only group in society protected from the cuts.”

    Firstly, Labour were already cutting HE funding, so I don’t know where you get the idea that students were ‘protected’. They weren’t. As a university employee I can tell you that we’ve been haemorrhaging staff and services for a while already; by last year we could no longer afford porters, cleaners, printers or dustbins.

    Secondly, I don’t suppose it occurred to y’all that there might be a potential for an agressive compromise, maybe even coming up with a new proposal? Something slightly more tactful, like putting up student contributions by say a thousand quid and reducing teaching funding by an extra ten percent a year over three years – cutting, but not to the bone. If this new loan repayment approach is going to be so ‘progressive’ – which seems unlikely – you could’ve had that without the £9000 full monty. Think about reforms to the system as a mechanism for savings; more distance learning, merging, reusing materials, economies of scale. If people are being sold useless degrees, that needs fixing. Selling them a pig in a poke for 9k/year and making them pay it back for the rest of their working lives is absolutely unacceptable.

    Independent review of the information available about the coalition’s plans (such as there is, and let’s be honest, Cable isn’t exactly at his clearest) has been damning, and for good reason. But of course government is such a jolly busy place that there’s hardly time to get into the minor details of a lifetime of debt. Anyway, ciao; must go look at some job sites. I hear there’s another round of redundancies on the way.

  38. The Liberals have allowed the Tories to push through a policy based on dogma under cover of “lowering the deficit”. However much they may have altered the mechanics of the proposals to make it more “fair”, what they’ve allowed to happen is a radical shift in the nature of HE in this country.

    Lynne, a couple of questions:

    1. Students will be required to pay these fees from 2012. However, as you are very keen to point out, they won’t be required to pay anything up front, but will be able to take out a loan that they’ll start paying pack when they’re earning. So, given that most courses last three years, the soonest you can expect to get anything back is 2015, and even then it’ll only be a dribble compared to the outlay. So how, exactly, does this policy help reduce the deficit?

    2. What are you doing about the abolition of EMA? – an even more scandalous policy change, in my view, seeing as it really does kick the ladder away for people who have more need of help than most.

  39. Daniel, good point about the EMA (education maintenance allowance, paid to 16-18 year olds) which has been slightly drowned out in the debate (onslaught of anger and ridicule) over tuition fees.
    The offer of a small grant to help pay day-to-day costs for young people pre-university makes a huge difference to many 16-year-olds. Abolishing it seems simply cruel and arrogant, unless you believe in the absolute supremacy of market forces.
    What do you say, Lynne? A good idea or what?


  40. You can try and justify yourself all you like; at the end of the day, you betrayed the people who trusted you and voted for you and the rest of your colleagues. Your seat in government was all that mattered to you.

    How well I recall the words at the General Election: Vote Lib Dem and get Tory.
    Never a truer word was spoken.

  41. I again add my voice of protest to that of the growing thousands of other peaceful and democratic protesters as a person who benefitted from a free place of education after the age of 18; and as a parent of 4 children; at the volte face that your party leader and yourself and other Lib Dem MP’s have allowed with regard to your position to student fees. I am appalled at your party’s lust for power at the expense of pledges and principles and indeed your own lack of integrity in reneging on your NUS signed pledge; pitted against your assertion that the new deal is better is the opinion of the institute for Fiscal Studies which seems to suggest that the University’s will be better off not the students! I sincerely hope that at any future by-election or indeed general election that we parents and students (who you have now politicised) will show our disgust by removing your party and its leadership from any chance of playing such a role again in mainstream British politics.

    You do not deserve our trust or our votes

  42. You really are an immoral woman, and worthless because you can’t achieve the basics, i.e. sticking to your principles.

    I know we are in a global recession but seriously, be creative. I dunno, maybe the government could stop killing innocent iraqis/afghans for 5 minutes…or reduce the ludicrous bank bonuses paid at the expense of the tax payer…

    I really regret voting for you now, and I sincerely hope you won’t get away with this.

  43. I see Lynne still has a quote from the Daily Telegraph on her blog site saying: “She’s more interested in telling what she sees as the truth than in toeing the party line.”

    Is there a case here for Trading Standards?

    126 signatures now on the Recall Lynne Featherstone MP e-petition — if you are a resident of Hornsey and Wood Green and haven’t signed yet, please go to:


  44. It’s worthy of note that by failing to reclaim fees from graduates that fail to earn more that £21,000 per annum you are now by de facto only fully subsidising degrees that are completely useless to society.

  45. Top of the blogs 2010:

    Perhaps not surprising the topic that attracted most comments on Lynne’s blog was Higher Education Funding, which attracted 196 comments, closely followed by The Pledge, which attracted 160 comments.

    The number of responses from Lynne Featherstone on these two topics, which together attracted 356 comments, = 0

  46. Any Liberal Democrat MP who voted FOR or ABSTAINED from the fees issue, I will never vote for if I live in their area (and I do move around London a lot). Any new Liberal Democrat MPs I can’t vote for because the party let me down and I can’t trust someone new to keep to their promises as the party clearly breaks them. There are now 21 Liberal Democrat MPs I can vote for. I am (was) a Liberal Democrat voter. Now, I can only vote for one of the 21 or I have to choose another party.

  47. Russell said:

    It’s worthy of note that by failing to reclaim fees from graduates that fail to earn more that £21,000 per annum you are now by de facto only fully subsidising degrees that are completely useless to society.

    OMG – Why didn’t the BBC news or SKY news pick up on this …..totally true!!

  48. A recurring feature of this Government led by the Oxbridge duo is to tell the electorate that we don’t understand; tuition fees, NHS reform etc. Now there is something which I admit I don’t understand – the proposals announced today that “some people” who might not ordinarily get in to university, because of government quotas, might be able to find an alternative way in by paying even heftier fees that match those paid by overseas students. According to Dave “two brains” Willets this is not a way for the wealthy to find a back door in to their university of choice and more a way for well deserving cases who might not ordinarily obtain admission to find an industry or charity to help them pay even more inflated fees. So, hard pressed industries and charities will be happy to pay even higher tuition fees! Lynne, please can you tell me why they should ?