Wednesday 24 November 2010


It was surely only a few weeks ago that Nick Clegg was telling us that the policies of the government, were the policies of ALL the government. The Conservatives and the Liberals were at one. There are only government policies, not Liberal policies; not Tory policies.

Well that didn’t last long because his U-Turnness, the Deputy Prime Minister, on Tuesday tried to calm student anger (surely the last man who should have tried that malarkey), by saying that the students’ fees increase was not Liberal policy. But he tried to defend it nonetheless.

He urged students: "Listen and look before you march and shout. Our plans will mean that many of the lowest income graduates will repay less than they do under the current system." He explained that there were safeguards; that universities would have to take on poor students; that Oxford and Cambridge would be obliged to take on more people who hadn’t gone to Westminster or Eton....

Yeah, well it obviously didn’t work Nick, because all over England students were out today protesting or sitting in.

Because, you see Nick, when you hawk yourself and your party around all the university campuses in England telling them that if the Liberals get in there will be no increase in student fees... and then you, and your MPs sign a pledge to that effect, it sits badly when, as the Deputy Prime Minister you have to admit that that was actually a pledge made when there was as much of a chance of you getting into government as there was of Sarah Palin knowing the capital of...oh I dunno, Canada?

And frankly I don’t blame the students, and the lecturers and the parents and 6th formers, all of whom were marching and protesting today. As always there were some that went too far. A police van was wrecked and people were injured. Injuries to people from either side of the argument, is to be deplored. Peaceful protest isn’t about people getting hurt.

But, it’s not always the fault of the protesters, as recent events in London have shown. Police beating innocent bystanders, as a result of which they die of heart attacks, is also not what we pay them to do, especially when they have purposely hidden their badge numbers.

The London demonstration has resulted in 68 arrests so far and police continue to scour hours of video footage and thousands of photographs in a bid to identify those responsible for crimes. The police would get a lot more respect if they put that much effort into finding police officers guilty of beating protestors some of whom were only guilty of filming the events.

So Nick, this is what you get when you do 180 degree turns in policy. Your generation got your education courtesy of the taxpayer, you promised it to the next generation, and you lied.

I think there will be a lot of this kind of protest over this winter and well into next year. It isn’t ideal; it disrupts people’s lives, but the alternative is for us all to lie down and let the government run a steam roller over us, while the people who caused the problem debate whether or not to reduce their multi-million pound bonuses.

I’m right behind you lads!

Pics: Nick "the gentleman is for turning" Clegg, showing that he is in no way like Mrs Thatcher; Invitation to wear something red (what would you do if the only thinkg you had that was red was underwear?); someone doing a Michael Jackson impersonation.

There are points for suggesting what Mr Clegg might have been saying in the pic at the top, his hands so far apart... Answers on a post card.

What do points mean?


  1. Good post Tris, kudos for remembering the student protest on the day of the debate about the lapsing of 'The Power'.

    You are absolutely correct to remind people to balance their perceptions of who is doing harm here. The police have have been demonstrated to have been far from innocent in various incidents in recent years (both at the froont line, but also in the institutional aftermath).
    It is deeply sad that the police as an institution seem to be happy to fritter away their special relationship with the citizens of the UK to become more and more simply tools of government.

    Clegg and crew are the poetic justice of the universe upon the lazy electorate of the UK. If they had done their homework, the south would have looked north and seen that the libdems had form for dropping principles for power.
    I actually toyed with voting for them in the first Holyroods, but as the election approached and backroom deals were being done with Labour, their languange changed in interview but they couldn't bring themsleves to 'fess up to their adoption of a Labourite student fees policy.

    Of course if the most recent uk election campaign had tolerated the voices of the devolved nations, the electorate in the south might have had a clue. Shame, eh?

  2. And another thing!...

    This sort of stuff is an example of why we need independence.
    Despite a strong egalitarian tradition, where we pride ourselves on free access to higher education, the whole issue in Scotland cannot help but become more and more framed by the debate as it stands in England. This is unacceptable.

    Once a debate is a ta certain state, becuase of our 'shared' media in Scotland it is almost impossible for us to start the debate from any other point. Has anyone witnessed any *significant* debate on free higher ed in Scotland? Eveyone is simply waiting to see *how much* people will pay in Scotland. Discraceful.

    (Don't get me started on the social housing crap for the rest of the UK! get us out of here...)

  3. Tris more news on the Lib Dems, a yougov poll tonight puts them at 9% nationally. I wonder where they are in Scotland?

    I see Caron thought that Tavish "demolished the SNP on Tartan Taxgate. The only thing Tavish "demonlished" was what little was left of the Lib Dems reputation and standing. No facts in his rant, no figures, no acknowledgment that the contract to maintain the TTax was stopped before the SNP took power. Now who was in the government at that time, oh I remember the Lib Dem poodles with their Labour masters.

    The dogs in the street know the Lib Dems will be "demolished" in May, but what the heck, thinking Tavish made a great speech will shut out reality for a little longer.

  4. Thank you Dundee. I thought that others would post on the tartan tax debacle. In particular I’m hoping that ‘Scot goes Pop’ will put his not inconsiderable analytical powers to work, together with his dry sense of humour and come up with something that I could only dream about writing. (he may not though, and I’ll have to do it tomorrow !!)

    I was taken with this protest, or series of protests, because I am essentially the most non violent person you could ever hope to meet. It bothered me when I was running a mop over the kitchen floor at tea time and I damaged a little moth, whose presence I’d missed. A moth!?! I was down on my knees on the wet floor attending to the wee fellow and thankfully he recovered and flew away.

    So it comes as a bit of a surprise to me that despite the fact that there has been violence which I deplore, I am 100% behind these guys... students, parents, lecturers, school kids worried about their future.

    Clegg can witter on about trying to get Cambridge to take people from Comprehensives, or even lesser public schools till the cows come home. Fact is that they are expecting people to star working life with tens of thousands of pounds of debt, when they left uni with none.

    It amazeds me that we have money for wars; we have money for weddings; we have money for 24 x 7 protection for Beatrice and Eugenie and students are going to have their fees tripled.

    Oh says Clegg, there will be tight controls on that. What Nick... you going to sign a pledge on it?

    Get it into your heads you nobs WE DON’T BELIEVE A WORD YOU SAY. If you told us the sky was blue we would doubt it.

    Of course, unfortunately when people are as desperate to be rid of a set of incompetent morons as the last Labour government, they tend to forget that the other lot are a pack of liars and incompetents too, hence the fact that they failed to ask around and look north...

    Well. They were students. They will learn.

    I’m grateful that the government here is aware of the proud tradition of free education... or as near as we can make it free education in our country. Hopefully we can avoid the mess that England has got itself into by electing a pile of lying turncoats, who have no earthly idea what it would be like to go into adult life owing money and struggling.

    “Your fees are £9000 Nick... take it out of the money lying on my bedside cabinet” says Nick’s dad.

    Like you i considered Liberals for my list vote. Huh. Glad I didn’t go there.

  5. And another thing :) (shades of Tom Harris)

    You might at some stage feel inclined to write a guest post about social housing. Something I feel incredibly strongly about...

    Munguin pays loads for guest posts... at least twice what he pays me!!

  6. I suspect Dubs, that they will continue to dive.

    What the hell is the point of them?

    I read somewhere that they would have an estimated 17 seats in the English parliament if there was an election now.

    I know they are lower in Scotland. If I were Tavish I’d be seriously worried. It looks like single figures for them.

    The SNP must campaign hard in Lib seats where there is a chance we can take them.

    If Labour were to have more seat than us in May, they might find that their Liberal playmates would fail to give them a majority.

    Could you imagine a politician as inept as Gray coping with a minority administration?

    I didn’t see the debate, but i hear that the BBC “trafficked” the film to make it look as if Alex was tut tutting at something John had said, when in fact he was tutting at Tavish.

    What a bunch of second raters, but the press does such a hatchet job on the SNP. Why let the truth get in the way of a piece of anti independence propaganda.

  7. And another thing Dubs... a guest post from you would also always go down well....

  8. I should have provided a link...

  9. Doing a BT with the nothing clause:)

    LibDems are finished hopefully good for nothing or nobody, take your choice as I believe they would sleep with anyone bar a nationalist.

  10. :) CH

    Nick Clegg certainly seemed to brag about the number of women he had slept with... and Paddy Pantsdown was famous for it.

    Maybe that's what Nick was on about in that pic?

    Yep, I know what you mean, they trade all their principles for a ministerial Mondeo.

  11. Tris, you could make a T-Shirt out of that -
    front: Get it into your heads you nobs
    I'd buy it (...or hope for it as a present ;) !

    In the style of chewin' the fat - 'mon the moths!

    Seriously though, you're dead right about the value of education.
    They keep going on about how much Universities put into the economy, they keep going on about how much a well educated populace benefits society & economy, they keep going on about how the fertile union of universities, business and well educated citizens benefits the economy.
    Where is it all going then?! If we can longer 'afford' free higher ed, it's either being misappropriated or higher ed isn't working properly.

    Govt keeps wanting more for less (a theme adopted by the ConDem govt), baby boomers, generation x? More like Generation Theft! Taking what societies had worked hard for and burning it up.
    I'm old enough to be feeling a bit complicit, who's to blame but us?!
    These systems are now too big to take down easily (even the failure of the current model of capitalism wasn't enough to motivate the govts); that's another reason for independence - a chance to pause and think... What do we value? how do we secure those values? how do we allow for being wrong and changing without breaking? how do we put it and keep it in the people's hands before all others?


    p.s. thanks, flattered by your invitation - if i have one in me I'll let you know.

  12. btw (off topic), someone put up a good post ohte detail of the 'The Power' kerfuffle over here -

  13. Tris

    Clegg not comfortable being the Torys human shield any more now his arms and legs have been blown off..oh dear wee shame

  14. somepapfaedundee

    Thanks for the link to albamatters. I think this is the best laid out sequence of events about the whole tartan taxgate (sorry I like my gates).

    Just a pity none of our intrepid journalists took the time to lay their articles properly. A post of this to the newspapers comments columns could be a good idea.

    Just a pity none of the opposition politicians tried bluster instead of facts.

    Bill Clinton once said "if you can fake sincerity you have it made" Tavish could beat that easily with his fake outrage, which mearly highlights how shallow he is.

  15. Absolutely spot on. The Liberals deserve to be annihilated for their complicity in this government’s odious right wing agenda. They get nothing but a few jobs in the cabinet and the whole thing has already been shown to be a grubby fudge. Look at the opinion polls Nick; Lib Dems down to 7% in Scotland, 8% in Wales and 10% in England, the AV referendum trailing 11% behind First Past the Post and Nick Clegg’s approval rating in the minus figures well behind David Cameron. We don’t blame David, Nick we all expected that kind of thing from the nasty party, but what you are doing is in no way Liberal and you are squandering your party’s constituency in every part of the country and you don’t even look like you will get the AV fig leaf.

  16. Actually Dundee, that's a brilliant idea. I bet there would be a hefty market for them around the universities, particularly if they featured photos of Cleggeron.

    In the kind of world we live in education IS everything. It’s one of the mismatches that we have in the UK, and Europe (probably to a lesser extent). We have too many people with no or little education and too few suitable jobs, whilst having too few people who are truly well educated, or trained, and too many job vacancies. Hence the fuss that business is making over the cap on educated immigrants.

    F we could compete with China, brazil, India, Indonesia for costs on manufacturing, then we could try to restart the manufacturing base that has slipped away from us, which would provide jobs for people with low skills (as well as the designers and technicians, but we can’t. Already, because we invest too little in education, the East is overtaking us on design, and technology, because they do invest in education. Beijing University is vying with the great universities of the West these days. Harvard, Oxford, Edinburgh, Sorbonne, look out!

    Vast amounts of money spent here on education, and to reach the daft labour targets, the quality of education has been dumbed down. That’s out way of dealing with it. The incredibly sad thing is that in a documentary for BBC4, John Humphries investigated the state of (English) education, and found that it is among the best in the Europe (if you can afford Eton, Westminster, Winchester, Rugby etc,) and among the worst in the worst if you go to a “bog standard” London comprehensive.

    Scotland does have a tradition of free and good education. If only we could rescue our country from the ‘britification’ that it necessarily undergoes, unless there is an SNP administration.

    Independence is the only answer.

  17. Oh thanks for the link. As soon as I've replied to the outstanding posts, I'll have a read through. Looks good though. :)

  18. Well Niko. It's all fine when you are on a podium at the UN, or in the "rose garden" at the back of Downing Street. It's grand when people are scurrying back and forwards and inclining their heads, tugging at their forelocks and saying “Yes Deputy prime minister, right away Deputy Prime minister” and your car and chauffeur are being sent round to take you to the abbey for the wedding and on to the palace where you will be seated next to the king of Jordan.

    It’s a different kettle of fish when you have to face the students to whom you lied through your teeth to get where you are... very different. I wonder if it’s worth it.

  19. Magnum

    What they will get is a generation that will feel betrayed by Lib Dems, and they will carry that sense of betrayal for the rest of their lives. They will be thinking "I should have gone to university but the Lib Dems sold me out for a ministerial position.

    As an example look how long Thatcher has had a negative effect on the Torys, all these years after she has gone.

    Watching Tavish yesterday I thought that he realizes his number is about up. Frank Sinatra singing now I face the final curtain came to mind. He may scrape back in but there will not be a lot behind him. He can go and sit beside the Greens.

  20. Dubs: The trouble with all debate in parliament at the moment is that there are too many people whose raison d’être is to embarrass (or worse) the SNP government, without bringing them down of course so that they might have to actually do something themselves!

    It has been a feature of the last four years that there has been opposition for the sake of opposing. There has been opposition to policies that would have been good for the people of Scotland. But Labour in particular and their chums in the Liberals who expect doubtless at some time in the future to ride on their backs into a couple of Cabinet seats, have voted against these policies in order to stop the SNP government doing things which were good for the country, lest it reflect well on the sensible management for which the SNP is clearly responsible.

    After all, what serious socialist party (and Wendy reminded us that in Scotland that is what Labour is) would vote against a LIT that would save pensioners with a small extra pension, paying a penny piece in local taxation? It would save people on tiny incomes up to £1000 a year. Enough money to keep them warm in the winter and then some. But because it was an SNP policy and would have brought a lot of votes their way, they were against it. And the Liberals, whose policy it was, found an excuse to vote against it. A stupid one at that. (As the bulk of local government funding already comes from Edinburgh and Edinburgh can, and does influence council tax rates, it is a spurious argument that local accountability would be harmed by a blanket rise in income tax.)

    Bluster is the name of the game.

  21. Munguin (or magnum as Dubs would have you)

    I agree. The Liberals are on teh brink of going back to the days when you could count them on the fingers of one hand, and each one of them was the party spokesmen on so many subjects even they couldn't remember what they are.

    In a way it is a great pity. On the other hand, it is what should happen to turncoats.

  22. Has Mrs T gone Dubs? It must have got buried under all that news about the royal wedding....

    I apologise for the typing on all the above posts which were done in a rush. (I know my mum will tell me off!!!)


  23. I mentioned earlier that I hoped that 'Scot goes Pop' would write up a piece on the tartan tax "scandal" as i see some have had it...

    Well, he did, and it's here:

  24. Munguin

    Sorry about the spelling mistake re your name but I had a vision of you shooting from the hip. Do you have a link to the poll that shows the Lib Dems at 8% in North Briton?

    Thatcher has not been PM for a long time, try to keep up. Her protegees are now in charge of the asylum, trying to be even nastier than her. They have brought along some useful idiots from another party as partial cover. (Apologies for calling Lib Dems useful, I should have stuck to idiots)

    P.S. Did you catch the careful and measured Tavish at FMQ today? Do you think someone has at last told him what a tit he looked yesterday. Clinton could carry off the fake sincerity, Tavish only looked stupid with his fake indignation.

  25. Nah Dubs, she's never REALLY gone. She regenerated and called herself Blair for a while, then when she got really saggy and old looking she regenerated again as someone called Brown, but that went horribly wrong and she looked even older and uglier than before.

    Now she appears to have returned as Siamese twins and is calling herself Cleggeron.. it a bit like klingon only uglier.

    She's still got the same voice, but if anything, it's even more patronising.

    Not seen Puff the Magic Dragon yet. Will watch him at tea time!!

    Subrosa is doing FMQ today.

  26. The Truth Will Out from 'go lassie go'

    Devolution Matters is illuminating on SVR and another on 18/11/10.