Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Through the looking glass

Orwell would be proud of John Hemming - trying to convince us that black is white.

Liberal Democrats in government are about to scrap student tuition fees for 54.2% of students. This may come as a surprise, but that is because this side of the story isn't really being told.

It isn't being told, because it isn't true. Student tuition fees are being hiked to cover the government withdrawing funding from most degree programmes.

People have got to get away from looking at this issue as student debt. It is not a debt, in most ways... In essence, what we have is a future tax liability
I'm not sure quite how else to look at leaving university with £30k of tuition fees behind you as anything else than a debt. This debt will attract a higher rate of interest than it does currently. While I'm pleased to see a small increase in the grants available, a thumping hike in the debt is hardly likely to attract people to university. My daughter, a very bright girl, is thinking ahead about it right now and isn't enthused by the likely size of debt she will end up with. Asking her to consider it a tax liability hasn't helped much.

In other words this new system is a graduate tax in all but name
But didn't St Vince say

While it is superficially attractive, an additional tax on graduates fails both the tests of fairness and deficit reduction
Essentially, the whole article is an attempt to rebrand a clear breach of an electoral pledge as a consistent policy. It isn't and the comments below the piece show that people haven't been deceived by this piece of sheer, unadulterated spin.

Just like other Liberal Democrat MPs, John Hemming will break that pledge he made, no matter the contortions he attempts to ease his conscience.

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