Will the Yellow Bird soar again?

or “Why the Tuition Fees “U-turn” may just be the canniest move of this parliament”

Tuition Fees March
Image by Antony Bennison via Flickr

This last few weeks have seen what can be best described as uproar from the student community, not least from the labour leaning and very much “out-of-touch” National Union of Students because of the proposed changes to higher education funding which will apparantly force the cost of a degree on to students and away from the government purse (conveniently ignoring the fact that student finance england – the loan provider – is a government subsidised organisation).

Now far be it from me to say whether or not the plans are good ones, I can and have given my opinion before (Which for the record is a pro-fees-rise stance). Even if I was anti-fees, I wouldn’t be witch hunting every single Liberal Democrat who signed the NUS’ very silly pledge because as said very eloquently by Richieparf there is a lot that students should be thankful for and that things would be a lot worse had it been a Conservative majority government.

So why so I think the “yellow bird” will soar again? quite simple really; historically the SDP/Liberal/Liberal Democrat parties have got most of their votes from students and academics; the academics are rational people and will understand the point made by Richieparf with little difficulty and thus are in my opinion of little concern to the party. The students on the other hand are likely to react come the next general election with characteristic irrationality, will see any promise made by the Liberal Democrats as untrustworthy and also likely ignoring the thankfully fictional worst-case scenario of a conservative only 2010-2015 government. The current students at university (or at least those who feel understandably betrayed) are an unfortunate casualty for the Liberal Democrats, but I think in light of my next point; one that can be afforded and accomodated if not won back entire.

Liberal Democrat Logo
Liberal Democrat Logo | Image via Wikimedia

The point is that historically the Liberal Democrats have never been seen to govern, and thus never seen as a serious contender for government. The fees U-turn is likely to change that perception, among other things such as forestalling Trident, the AV referendum, allowing part-time students to access funding and many other negotiated middle way policies/reigning in of the Conservatives that they have achieved. All of this will make the average floating voter see the party as both serious and sensible, willing and able – an invaluable perception for any party wishing to gain the keys to Number 10.

One final note being that for some reason a large number of students have been “sharing” the video below as though it displays some amount of humour and corruptness on Nick Clegg’s part. Those people are wrong. It is only “funny” because it has been taken out of context and takes no account of the political realities of the 2010 General Election.

(Edit: if the video doesn’t load, it can be found here)

Ben Brooks

Short Link for this Post: http://wp.me/pFUij-8N


  1. and what happens when we get AV and the LD will be regularly getting 120-150 MPs? (not withstanding the hammering they’ll get at the next election)

    demographics are on their side; with most constituencies a battle between LD and Con or LD and Lab they stand to benefit from ‘tactical voting’

    I think they’re in for a lot more governing and *hopefully* enough power to water down these tuition fee proposals in the long run….? What do you reckon Ben?

    1. Hi Chris,
      Nice to see you’re following the blog! I reckon that “no-fees” is still their stated aim, and that should they get more power next time around then they will do everything they can to “water down” the tuition fees if not abolish them.
      There’s my two cents
      Ben D B

  2. Thanks very much for mentioning my post, I think your points are very valid, not least about the NUS being out of touch. Its because of this, and one or two other reasons, that my university (and many others) have opted out of or will soon be opting out of the NUS altogether. I also agree on the video that has been circulating, its a cheap shot that completely fails to understand the nature of coailtion government.

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