Red Alert

Signing Fees Pledges

Posted by on December 10th, 2010

A very tough day in the UK today, with the Conservative/Liberal Democrat coalition passing(just) its proposal to triple university tuition fees and cut allowances for some students. There is a huge wave of protest in the UK that has got pretty ugly, with Prince Charles car attacked, the NUS condemning the violence and stories flying about police tactics.

Leaving aside the substance of the issue, which represents fees of up to 9,000 pounds, for many casual observers in New Zealand it might be hard to understand why this debate and vote is so significant in the UK, and why the focus is so much on the Liberal Democrats. Martin Kettle in the Guardian has a good description of this, and believes that this is the beginning of the end for the coalition.

From a Liberal Democrat perspective many backbenchers voted against their leadership today because it was clear party policy not to raise fees, but also because many, including their leader Nick Clegg signed pledges not to raise fees. Those Lib Dem MPs in electorates with large university populations are worried.

Signing a pledge such as this is not new. There are many of us here who remember Lockwood Smith’s 1990 promise not to raise fees. To remind, here is the evidence. (h/t Moana Mackey)


70 Responses to “Signing Fees Pledges”

  1. Spud says:

    “Monty, have you ever worked in the UK Higher education sector – I have! I also had the misfortune to live through the Thatcher years.” Poor guy, :-(

    Agreed, Ian and Al1ens :-(

  2. softstarter says:

    Your also forgetting who most recently introduced university tuition fees….yep you guessed it, nulabour. The same arguments came out then, poor, rich, blah blah blah, but hey, more people still going on to higher education. So, nulabour did achieve something.

  3. Al1ens says:

    “the yts scheme was quite useful for a lot of people”

    No it wasn’t. The youth training scheme was slave labour and designed wholly to manipulate the unemployment figures – Just like the nats youth programs are.
    I, at 16, wouldn’t go on one. I had far too much self respect and too many principles.

    “Of the 29 or so million that voted in May, over 21 million did not vote labour.”

    Of the 29,691,380 that voted in May, over 18,964,7666 didn’t vote Conservative.
    After ‘the worst government, ever’ there was still only a 5% swing from the reds to the blues, quite obviously not a ringing endorsement of Cameron’s conservatism or a total rejection of Labour politics.
    The tories vote only went up by a meagre +3.8%

    “Benefit for NZ – people will start to emigrate in droves”

    Any benefit to NZ would depend if they were like me or like you. ;)
    An increase of socially concious Brit immigrants would benefit any nation.

  4. softstarter says:

    Come on moderator, what was wrong with that one? You can’t protect a contributor just because they might get upset. There was no personal abuse, no bad language, just a challenge to front up.

  5. softstarter says:

    Touche Al, although I like to think people leaving the UK now are just tired of all the BS from red and blue and would rather just have the better life. Vote Nat? No thanks, too smug for my liking. Lots of rhetoric in NZ politics and little action, god knows who would do the least damage. The Greens perhaps.

  6. How do you figure the US and UK public spending as a proportion of GDP is the same?

    I was saying the debt crisis is just as serious in the UK as the US… I wasn’t clear…

    I don’t have a clear idea what you are saying here. What are you taking exactly from an unborn child that it has? What morality would you prefer?

    The debt is now so huge, money now being spent to maintain current levels of government expenditure will be repaid by children as yet unborn, children who did not have a say – a vote, it is fundamentally immoral…

    The Uni students protesting are the manifestation of this… Some are protesting because of “the society they want to live in” but most just want someone else to pay for their education…

    Jeremy, quite true on some points, although I don’t understand your prediction of UK sovereign debt interest rates rising. How can you foretell this?

    Due to rising global debt levels, due to the fact low interest rates are causing the bubbles to grow, due to the fact interest rates are at all time historically low levels… The interest on the UK’s sovereign debt is about to surpass the total interest paid on all business debt and private mortgage debt… It’s a nightmare caused and driven by government over-spending…

    IMO if you want a civil society for these unborn children to be born into, if you want conditions other than poverty for these unborn children to be born into, if you want sound educational/cultural/health prospects for these unborn children to be born into, you cannot cut supports and services too fast or too drastically.

    If you want to see real poverty, wait till you see a country liquidated, a 300 year old currency destroyed… Not supporting drastic cuts at this point is supporting poverty creation (as if socialism didn’t create that in the first instance)…

    These plans were intended to return public expenditure as a percentage of GDP to the levels of the early 2000s ie about 35 per cent rather than the 45 per cent of 2009.

    Well if you read that quote you can see it says 45% at the end of 2009, which is still wrong, refer below.

    I suspect his reasoning is out more than his figures

    You just made that up, simply put.
    I won’t dispute people from lower socio-economic background frequently get into debt, but a ‘willingness’ I’m not so sure.

    My figures aren’t wrong, would you two trust the Office for National Statistics..?

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1259935/Public-sector-53-economy-record-6-09million-Britons-work-state.html

    In Scotland it is 61%, Wales 77% and Northern Ireland 81%, higher than the USSR’s 70% at the height of Communism…

    I’ve done lots of budgeting for people of lower socio-economic backgrounds, many do not understand money, debt and interest very well and therefore do not avoid it…

    Nice to read some actual facts in this thread (for a change) from someone else who also survived the worst of times.

    You haven’t provided evidence to disprove any of the facts I’ve provided in this thread, you’ve just closed your eyes and stuck your fingers in ears and said, “nah, nah, not listening”, in my opinion England’s gain has been our loss (in online discourse) when you moved here…

  7. Colonial Viper says:

    You haven’t provided evidence to disprove any of the facts I’ve provided in this thread, you’ve just closed your eyes and stuck your fingers in ears and said, “nah, nah, not listening”, in my opinion England’s gain has been our loss (in online discourse) when you moved here…

    What facts?

    The fact that as GDP shrinks, Govt spending becomes a larger part of the economy?

    Yeah of course it does, do your math.

    So what do the Tories do just as people need state help the most? As unemployment queues are increasing the fastest? As the private sector retrenches and spends less?

    Instead of taking up the slack, they cut more budgets, put more people out of work, and make life for those facing hardship even harder.

    If you want to see real poverty, wait till you see a country liquidated, a 300 year old currency destroyed… Not supporting drastic cuts at this point is supporting poverty creation (as if socialism didn’t create that in the first instance)…

    Forget it Jeremy I am not buying into your version of Disaster Free Market Capitalism where the Chicago School followers create a crisis to force in the changes they want to make. For example, Greece had a third more debt by GDP before it hit the rocks.

    The Tories could easily reduce the gap in spending more gradually and prevent more hardship amongst its citizens but it really would prefer to meet the banker’s needs instead.

  8. That comment was directed at Al1ens, he hasn’t and you haven’t, you made up that raising the top tax rate could cover 178,000,000,000 and then have sprouted on about how government cuts are the evil tories hurting the poor…

    Government spending has taken over and wrecked the economy, government spending has hurt the poor as Field’s report quite clearly shows – they are dependent and still pay quite high taxes, government spending if it continues unabated will bankrupt the country, what do think QE in the US and UK is about – debasing the currency, which hurts the poor the most, to buy the government time, reality doesn’t really care if you “buy it” or not…

  9. For example, Greece had a third more debt by GDP before it hit the rocks.

    This really shows how little you get economics, Singapore has government debt to GDP 40% higher than the UK, it’s a problem but the pertinent factor is not just debt to GDP but what direction debt is heading and at what speed, Singapore’s improved by going down 4% last year, the UKs went up by almost 10%, it’s why reducing government spending is the key…

  10. Colonial Viper says:

    This really shows how little you get economics, Singapore has government debt to GDP 40% higher than the UK, it’s a problem but the pertinent factor is not just debt to GDP but what direction debt is heading and at what speed, Singapore’s improved by going down 4% last year, the UKs went up by almost 10%, it’s why reducing government spending is the key…

    Mate the free market for capital has destroyed ~US$7 trillion in global value by this date. Good eh. Thanks to your Chicago School no regulation is good regulation neoliberal mates.

    Now telling me that I “do not get economics” Jeremy is actually a HUGE COMPLIMENT. Thank you. Especially since I have said to you on many occasions that I view financial economics as a rubbish discipline. Good for entertainment value only.

    Yeah of course UK’s debt WENT UP compared to Singapore’s, do you know why? Might it have something to do with Singapore not having to bail out banks leveraged to the hilt with toxic assets, and not having to deal with spiralling unemployment due to a private sector recession?

    And what do the tories do in that situation. They make things worse by cutting back further to match the private sector cut backs. Stupid and harsh.

    sprouted on about how government cuts are the evil tories hurting the poor…

    I am always interested in why the Right like to use terms like good/evil. I personally never characterise economics discussions in those terms, and I have certainly never characterised the Tories as “evil” and it is really fascinating that you do, then attribute it to me.

    you made up that raising the top tax rate

    I was discussing with you in good faith Jeremy. If you recall, when you brought the point up that it would not cover the entire deficit I immediately accepted that you were correct and that it would only reduce critical cuts by ~£10B. (so why don’t the tories do it?)

  11. I am always interested in why the Right like to use terms like good/evil. I personally never characterise economics discussions in those terms, and I have certainly never characterised the Tories as “evil” and it is really fascinating that you do, then attribute it to me.

    http://thestandard.org.nz/a-quick-note-on-the-hobbit-and-labour-stability/#comment-262249

    Gosman, they are evil capitalists, and yes they lie.

    http://thestandard.org.nz/do-nothing-key-desperate-to-claim-credit-for-something/#comment-260675

    QUOTED: National is always evil.

    Actually, a good descriptor of a party consistently willing and able to do whatever it takes to push the wealth and resources of society away from the many who produce it to only the few who own it.

    Shall I go on, or are you happy being proved a li*r at this juncture..?

    I was discussing with you in good faith Jeremy.

    I didn’t realise I was your lawyer or Priest…

    Now telling me that I “do not get economics” Jeremy is actually a HUGE COMPLIMENT. Thank you. Especially since I have said to you on many occasions that I view financial economics as a rubbish discipline. Good for entertainment value only.

    This is the same as saying that price has no effect on society, business, relationships, money itself, you have adopted this mindset to allow you attempt to morally promote or enact your version of the Power Principle, to use force to your ends…

    The instinct to command others, in its primitive essence, is a carnivorous, altogether bestial and savage instinct. Under the influence of the mental development of man, it takes on a somewhat more ideal form and becomes somewhat ennobled, presenting itself as the instrument of reason and the devoted servant of that abstraction, or political fiction, which is called the public good. But in its essence it remains just as baneful, and it becomes even more so when, with the application of science, it extends its scope and intensifies the power of its action. If there is a devil in history, it is this power principle.

    — Mikhail Aleksandrovich Bakunin

  12. I am always interested in why the Right like to use terms like good/evil. I personally never characterise economics discussions in those terms, and I have certainly never characterised the Tories as “evil” and it is really fascinating that you do, then attribute it to me.

    http://thestandard.org.nz/a-quick-note-on-the-hobbit-and-labour-stability/#comment-262249

    Colonial Viper
    22 October 2010 at 4:29 pm

    Gosman, they are evil capitalists, and yes they lie.

    http://thestandard.org.nz/do-nothing-key-desperate-to-claim-credit-for-something/#comment-260675

    Colonial Viper
    19 October 2010 at 11:04 pm

    QUOTED: National is always evil.

    Actually, a good descriptor of a party consistently willing and able to do whatever it takes to push the wealth and resources of society away from the many who produce it to only the few who own it.

    Shall I go on, or are you happy being proved to tell, ahem, untruths, at this juncture..?

    I was discussing with you in good faith Jeremy.

    I didn’t realise I was your Doctor, Lawyer or Priest…

    Now telling me that I “do not get economics” Jeremy is actually a HUGE COMPLIMENT. Thank you. Especially since I have said to you on many occasions that I view financial economics as a rubbish discipline. Good for entertainment value only.

    This is the same as saying that price has no effect on society, business, relationships, on money itself, you have adopted this mindset to allow you attempt to morally promote or enact your version of the power principle, to use force to your ends…

    The instinct to command others, in its primitive essence, is a carnivorous, altogether bestial and savage instinct. Under the influence of the mental development of man, it takes on a somewhat more ideal form and becomes somewhat ennobled, presenting itself as the instrument of reason and the devoted servant of that abstraction, or political fiction, which is called the public good. But in its essence it remains just as baneful, and it becomes even more so when, with the application of science, it extends its scope and intensifies the power of its action. If there is a devil in history, it is this power principle.

    — Mikhail Aleksandrovich Bakunin

  13. Al1ens says:

    Despite your rage, my points are still totally valid.

  14. There’s no rage, just sad you two are so keen to punish the poor through subsidising the rich, high taxes an economic decline…

  15. Al1ens says:

    No-one is suggesting any such thing, and you know it.
    You’re playing games with words to suit your ideology.

    Calm down, have a cup of tea, and be thankful Cullen left NZ in such a fine shape that even English hasn’t wrecked it yet, no matter how hard he’s tried.

  16. Colonial Viper says:

    Jeremy good finds, what was I thinking! I stand by my previous statements and apologise for my amnesia!

  17. Spud says:

    H ell yes, I think VIPER makes a good point! :-D

  18. No-one is suggesting any such thing, and you know it.
    You’re playing games with words to suit your ideology.

    I’m not playing word games, your position ensures these things, your position is immoral and will hurt the lower-socio economic group the most…

    There are good deeds and good intentions… There as far apart as heaven and hell…

    Just having good intentions isn’t enough Al1ens…

    Calm down, have a cup of tea, and be thankful Cullen left NZ in such a fine shape that even English hasn’t wrecked it yet, no matter how hard he’s tried.

    Cullen did some good things, paying down debt, Kiwisaver and the Cullen fund (given ongoing Super), but he increased the size of the government and increased government spending more than he had too in a time of unprecented surpluses, it’s that increase that is the issue – he could have paid down more debt or cut taxes, either would have been preferable…

    Jeremy good finds, what was I thinking! I stand by my previous statements and apologise for my amnesia!

    Respect for posting…

  19. Colonial Viper says:

    This is the same as saying that price has no effect on society, business, relationships, on money itself,

    Actually price has an effect, but classical price/demand theory is a failure.

    In fact, most aspects of financial economics is a failure. Financial economics is good at predicting incremental change. It is extremely poor at predicting what we are really interested in (the things of real consequence to society): bubbles and crashes, booms and depressions.

    Respect for posting…

    I should have said that I prefer not to describe capitalism in terms of good and evil.

    However when people make decisions designed to grow capital at the expense of the suffering of thousands or tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands of people (i.e. capital is more important than people in a capitalist system) then I find that a moral judgement is more appropriate.

    Spud :D

  20. However when people make decisions designed to grow capital at the expense of the suffering of thousands or tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands of people (i.e. capital is more important than people in a capitalist system) then I find that a moral judgement is more appropriate.

    Well you and I have a differing opinion on what constitutes morality, I don’t think force can ever be moral and must be minimised… You encourage the use of force for the “public good” which is whatever those with power or their supporters define it to be…

    If we followed your economic model we’d still have typewriter factories, on fat government subsidies and static or declining living standards, certainly much lower ones than today… I really don’t think that is moral at all, not when those who push this economic model are often wealthy MPs, academics and guilty upper/middle-socio economic individuals…