All his ballroom experience and nifty footwork couldn’t get poor old Vince out of this one. The Libdems’s pledge to abolish tuition fees is officially dead, no longer feasible says our Vince. Apparently Lord ‘I’m a Tory now’ Browne’s proposals are ‘fair and progressive’- whatever that means.
To be fair to Vince, he has been between a rock and a hard place on this one and maybe the Libdem’s pledge was a little ambitious. Are there any plus points? Well, Vince did promise that there would be special measures to help students from less well-off backgrounds. Perhaps we should wait and see what he has in mind before passing final judgement.
What worries me after today’s example of neat footwork, is whether Vince will bend to pressure and not do what he needs to do to prevent Rupert Murdoch obtaining the remaining 60.9% of BSkyB’s shares. There is more than enough concern to trigger a referral to Ofcom. It is almost certain that after considering the evidence Ofcom would ask Vince to refer the matter to the Competition Commission. This time there must be no compromise, no backtracking, no smell of fish.