Yesterday it was announced that Nick Clegg is profoundly sorry for making a pledge he couldn’t keep. In other words he is sorry he has been a politician canvassing for votes in an election where he needed as many MP’s for as much leverage as possible. The tuition fees saga has been one of the most overblown in recent political history, the student unions who came out against the fee’s and protested upon London were blatantly wrong, they misled students and they didn’t represent students on the issues that really did matter. People got distracted by the headline figure of £9,000 fees without looking into the actual policy, if they had been bothered and yes Arron Porter I mean you!!!! then you would have seen something far more devastating than the tuition fees which is the maintenance loan. If you come from a background where you don’t have as much money as the median earner then the maintenance loan works well and manages the job it’s intended for, however progress beyond that to just above and that is when pain and financial hardship hits.
My parents earn around £51,000 in total, that’s an average of £25,500 each per year. The median income is £21,000 a year, my student maintenance loan is £3578 and my accommodation which is the cheapest available at my university comes to £3,000 a year which leaves £578 for 40 weeks of living. This is the unseen and unprotested cost, the unseen bullet which slowly bleeds you to death. How will I fund my living? well mainly through the massive overdraft from the bank which the bank will cut off the minute I leave higher education, interest will continue to gather and they will demand payment and with graduates flooding the market meaningful and well paid jobs are as rare as rubies. Many will ask why aren’t my parents funding me? I mean you’re well off aren’t you? well like many in the lower middle classes as I like to call ourselves we are being hit by wage freezes which is a wage cut with inflation, rising gas and food bills and all the other rising costs like petrol which leaves little money left in the bank. So why aren’t the students unions apologizing for failing to represent and publicize the cost to people like me? instead they wasted time on a reform which the real danger lies within the under-funding of universities which could lead to amalgamations, staff losses, course cuts and far far fewer places.
So why is Nick Clegg saying sorry? Is it because he is sorry? or is it because his party is on the path of electoral destruction rarely seen in British political history? It scores on a par with Labour’s famous longest suicide note in history and Michael Foot’s leadership of the former party as well. The Lib Dems are stuck on 11% in the polls and have gone as low as 8% which is the same as the UKIP right wing nutters whose solution for everything is to shut down the European Union. However groundwork can be done, in opinion polls Clegg is now above Osborne by a singular point on -53 which is hardly a rousing achievement but it is a start and when it comes to MP’s they failed to add as many as they wished so the core MP’s will most likely stay as constituency’s are loyal to Lib Dems because of their local work. Loyal they must be however, the party is part of an extremely unpopular government which is seen as indecisive and callous by a big majority of the population which is a rare combination and award given to those most inept at their jobs. Along with 80% of spending cuts to come Clegg is going to need all the ammunition he has to deal with Labour indignation and dislike from his own party. So it’s rather clear why he said sorry he needs his students back to try and galvanize his own party ahead of the election to avoid electoral catastrophe which would be the equivalent of Hiroshima for the Lib Dems. He also needs to clear the decks and start afresh. Along with the fact that he actually is sorry, he sold himself as the man of change only to discover he’s the same as everyone else.