I'm enjoying the discomfort over the tuition fees far more than is appropriate given the misery of education debt approaching most of us. At last we see a few of the Lib Dems remembering who they are and to what purpose they govern.
One of my central points about the Coalition is that in order to take part in it the Liberals have subsumed their personality to such a degree that they have become Ogrons to the Tory Daleks. Coalitions work pretty well if everyone agrees or if it is a partnership of equals but the Lib Dems have brought almost nothing to the table and supported a Tory manifesto without demur. Now, at last, tuition fees have prodded a few of them into action.
Back in the early 80s I was a fairly pointless manager of a well known record and tape outlet and my immediate boss was one Norman Baker, the area manager. He was quite good at his job and therefore hated by those of us intent on shoving Echo and the Bunnymen on the shop stereo and ignoring customers wishing to buy anything by Kajagoogoo. He left to join London Transport when the ethos of the company finally ground him, disappearing from view before emerging as the dynamic MP for Lewis. In many ways he stole my career!....
Norman Baker is now getting back into my good books by going public on his doubts around voting with the Government. So he should. As I've said before, the rights and wrongs of the policy are almost irrelevant. What matters to me is that a group of politicians many of us held dear for their unconventional take on the corridors of power are about to go native and vote for something they not only never supported, but for something they all 'actively' opposed.
It does matter to me that politicians do what they say and it should matter to all of us. It may be inconvenient for Vince Cable to vote against his own policy but I'd much rather he voted for what he made us believe was his policy, Democracy only really works if we believe politicians will do what they promise they'll do and if the whiff of power deflects them from their pledge then we are all the losers. We didn't make them sign the pledge, they went for it because they either believed in it or believed it would get them elected. Students around the country should carefully note what they do on Thursday and learn a valuable lesson about trust and the wider world they are about to join.