Tuesday, 7 December 2010

Letter to Nick, Vince and Danny

Dear Messrs Clegg, Cable and Alexander,

I am not a constituent of yours; I am not a student (it's been 20 years); I live in Scotland, where the tuition fees policy you are currently deciding upon will have no effect; in short, I have no dog in this hunt.

I know that you never expected to be in this position, from a number of perspectives. You didn't expect ever to be held to account for your tuition fees pledge. You didn't expect ever to be part of a coalition government with the Conservatives. And you didn't expect ever the immense, intense anger which this issue has generated among the British people.

But there are some things you did know. You knew in April, when you pledged to vote against fees increases, precisely what the financial situation in the country was, and the scale of cuts that were necessary. You knew in May, when you entered coalition government, that the decision to cut far deeper than necessity dictated was not what either you or the Conservatives had been given an electoral mandate to do. And you know now that you still genuinely have a choice here, despite the rhetoric, to meet your pledge.

You are hiding behind words like "coalition" and "deficit" to avoid facing the political reality, but really this situation is nothing new. A minister who finds himself at odds with government policy on a point of principle should leave the government and vote against it. It has happened many times before and it will happen many times again.

That is what you should do. It is what you must do if you are to remain credible.

I already know your answer.

Yours regretfully,

Duncan Hothersall

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