Liberals’ guide to apologies, or not
Posted 21 Sep 2012 by Walaa Idris
Clegg’s tuition fees’ apology will turn into a PR disaster and might even give the opposite effect, if Libs don’t get on the same page.
In his heartfelt apology, Nick Clegg was very clear that he thought they made a mistake when they promised before the election to vote against any rise in tuition fees. And added they shouldn’t have committed to a policy that was so expensive when there was no money around, especially as the other parties did not and the only way they (the Liberal Democrats) could implement it was in a coalition government.
Therefore, the promise was a mistake and Clegg bravely put his hands up and apologized!
Imagine my surprise when the following morning David Laws told the Today program:
“If the Liberal Democrats had won 500 seats, of course it would have been technically possible to deliver this policy. It wasn’t possible after the election, and that is why Nick has apologized.”
To me, that sounded more like “because we were in coalition we had to give in” and nothing like “we gave in because it was unworkable and a mistake to begin with”
Then later that afternoon, Equalities minster Jo Swinson said:
“Had we had enough seats to form a majority Liberal Democrat government, we would have implemented our manifesto.”
So forgive my confusion, which is it? A mistake because there wasn’t enough money to implement and should never have been promised in the first place, or a compromise because Liberals didn’t win an outright majority?
The difference between the two is significant!
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