To vote or not to vote, that’s the dilemma!
Posted 29 Nov 2010 by Walaa Idris
A couple of weeks ago I was wrong to think the tuition fees debacle will go away before we even put up our Christmas trees. Because naively, I thought common sense will prevail and NUS will soon see and understand that the Liberal Democrats pledging to abolish student fees during the election was a vow they promised before their Coalition Agreement with the Conservatives. And because they, the liberals, did not win the election it was not possible for them to hold on to that deal in its entirety. I was also mistaken in thinking that when circumstances change “sensible” folks tend to change with them – as many people do. Many are happy when they lose to not come out totally empty handed and most regard 50 per cent of any deal is better than no deal at all!
It was wrong of me to think that way because apparently a deal, is a deal, is a deal regardless of circumstances when it comes to unions!
Now, the thing I don’t quite understand is; when the LibDem parliamentary party, grassroots and activists were consulted, by their leadership, about the Coalition agreement and they unanimously approved and agreed it, did they or did they not address the difference between a manifesto agreement and an election pledge? And if so, at what point of the negotiations was it discussed? Was it at the beginning, in the middle or at the end of it – because when and where the discussion took place matters as to the importance of the subject itself!
Liberal Democrats candidates who gave separate pledges from the manifesto have every right to be upset but do they have the right ‘now’ to object, that is the crux of the matter. If they voted to accept the Coalition agreement in its entirety, then they have forfeited that right unless their vote included an opt out clause that gave them a free vote.
Nevertheless – whichever way they choose to vote, their choice will leave them with a disappointed side, which side can they afford to disappoint in the long run, that’s the hard decision they need to make and the dilemma they must face!
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