On Wednesday night, the Liberal Democrats made a party political broadcast in which their leader, and Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg apologised for breaking their pledge to oppose a rise in tuition fees. He said he was sorry for making “a promise we were not absolutely sure we could deliver”.
Clegg was concerned that on the eve of the Lim Dem conference the party is still dogged by their broken pledge and the loss of a huge number of voters, particularly amongst students. He clearly hoped that the apology would go some way towards rebuilding this support and he might be applauded for his honesty.
Fortunately the whole thing has backfired on this lying politician. The video of his apology speech been remixed by Poke into a hilarious viral video song with hundreds of thousands of views and he is well and truly a laughing stock. Nick Clegg Apology Song – Sorry
Even more importantly, everyone from the National Union of Students to mainstream media pundits are saying that Clegg apologised for the wrong thing – he should be sorry for breaking the pledge not for making it in the first place. In his broadcast he says “”It was a pledge made with the best of intentions – but we should not have made a promise we were not absolutely sure we could deliver. I shouldn’t have committed to a policy that was so expensive when there was no money around. Not least when the most likely way we would end up in government was in coalition with Labour or the Conservatives who were both committed to put fees up.” The fact is that the Lib Dems still had a choice about how to vote on the bill to raise tuition fees to £9,000 per year and when they voted for it they broke their pledge.
Journalist Rob Wilson in an article on the Guardian website has claimed that secret Lib Dem documents passed to him reveal that in March 2012 Lib Dem leaders decided that if they got into government they would ditch the pledge. The document says “On tuition fees we should seek agreement on part-time students and leave the rest. We will have clear yellow water with the other [parties] on raising the tuition fee cap, so let us not cause ourselves more headaches.” However, in public they continued to make the pledge and used it to win the student vote in the 2010 general election.
Clegg hoped that his broadcast would save his politically bankrupt party, but it could well be the final nail in the Lib Dem coffin. People voted for the Lib Dems because they had policies like opposing the Iraq war (though once the invasion began they supported it) and tuition fees, but now they are in power it’s become clear that there’s no difference between them and the Tories. The fact is that the Lib Dems are a pro-capitalist party so in a time of economic crisis they want to make us pay for it – students, workers and the vulnerable people in society. We need a new political party, and anti-capitalist party, that will make the rich pay for their own crisis.