12 Nov 2010

Leaks on Fees is a Nasty Piece of Spin

The Guardian published this article this evening to the disconcertion of Twitterati and Social Media Lib Dems alike.

The article misleadingly implies that Clegg and the Lib Dems intended to "abandon their pledge".

This is utter rubbish.

When drawing up negotiation documents, the issue of Fees was discussed.

But even the Guardian states;

"Clegg also joined all other Lib Dem MPs in signing an NUS pledge to "vote against any increase in fees". The leaked document showed that during the preparations for a hung parliament the Lib Dems still intended to fulfil that commitment."

However, this comes in the seventh paragraph. Something like 70% of people read the headline, 60% the first paragraph, 50% the second and so on and so forth until around 5% only read the entire article.

Therefore, Lib Dems, especially the already disenchanted, please be aware the article is written from text by a Tory Minister, which holds the Conservatives on a pedestal far out of their league, and the Guardian has used deliberate spin to disenchant you further.

This is one of the down sides of being in semi power. We are subject to more attack.

Have faith in your convictions and read the full story before heading twitter et al


  1. Thank Christ I read it all the way through was going Nuclear after the first paragraph. Then went and thought about it and realised it actually describes them preparing for negotiating scenarios.

    Graun...yet again spinning bullshit you got found out!!

  2. Still, Clegg wanted to abadon that policy in 2009, and it was only grassroot opposition that stopped him. No wonder he doesn't look to concerned at lifting the cap. >:(

  3. Jesse, I agree, it took a few reads for me. That's why I felt it was necessary to blog on it. :)

    Anon; Citation needed I'm afraid.

  4. "In a document marked "confidential" and dated 16 March, the head of the secret pre-election coalition negotiating team, Danny Alexander, wrote: "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."

    Not exactly solid ground from which to sign a pledge that all but secured the student vote only a month later. Let us be under no illusion here: Hung Parliament was not a last-minute surprise, but an inevitability as early as March. That the LDs had already decided to scrap their two key economic policies given this result and then campaigned for the opposite, is misleading the public however you spin it.

  5. Reid,
    Firstly, Tuition Fees and Opposing VAT rise were not our "two key pledges".

    They were indeed manifesto pledges, of which we have many.

    Secondly negotiation of coalition is completely normal and I would have been amazed if they hadnt considered all sorts of alternatives prior to the election.

    Thirdly, we have implemented a number of manifesto pledges, impressively so when we only have a mandate for one sixth of them as coalition partners.

    Lastly, manifestos and political designs are based on estimates of government books. Lets not forget that Liam Byrne left that charming letter in the Treasury stating there was no money left. The truth of the deficit has made every political party rethink their pledges.

    We have had to negotiate through out the coalition and there are a huge amount of benefits everyone will receive as a result of our role in government, from raising the tax threshold to the Green Deal.

    The damage by the Guardian article is goign to happen, but I hope that enough intelligent people can see beyond the flood gates and the truth- rather than the article title implies, that Lib Dems backed out of pledge BEFORE the election, that they were considering the negotiations they would have to make. Fees was one of them.

  6. I think that the damage was probably done long before this document 'leaked'. And this ridiculous notion of not knowing how bad the Government's finances were is pure deflection - I seem to remember plenty of cross-party support for the bank bailout. The coalition has been able to blame the cuts on overspending, not the collapse of capital. This is simply not the case.

    What will really drop the LD share of the polls is not how financially viable voting against a fee cap would be - it's that a long standing and defining principle of the party was so easily scrapped. They deserve all the bad press they get. As Labour found out in April, you know you've screwed it when your own newspaper turns on you.

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  8. I don't think the Guardian was ever out newspaper?!

    I appreciate we will disagree on this, and I am not an MP nor in parliament to argue coherently.

    However, I recall Tory and Labour avoidance of levies on bankers.

    Hey hey, we could discuss what we think we recall all day.

    Ultimately, I think the Guardian Article is a misrepresentation of the facts.

  9. "and Opposing VAT rise were...indeed manifesto pledges"

    No, no, no! Nowhere did we oppose a VAT rise. We were repeatedly explicit about not ruling one out.

  10. LibCync - my apologies.

    In all fairness, down here we campaigned chiefly on the tax threshold raise mostly


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