I always come away from political threads feeling ill informed and cringing at myself and this will probably be no different but I thought I'd give it a shot. Just wondering is the hatred of the Lib Dems really justified?
Been reading up on their achievements and I think they have managed to get quite a lot done, 67 manifesto pledges in a year seems pretty good for a party with so few seats. I know it comes down to the tuition fees, and cuts but is that really fair?
I've tried to work out the maths on the tuition fees (disclaimer: I have probably got it wrong) but it seems that anyone earning up to £30k will actually pay back less under the new system than the old, and someone would have to be earning around £37 to actually have to pay back the full amount (based on £42k loan, paying back 9% of everything over 21K for a maximum of 30 years, compared to £25k loan, 9% of everything over £15k for a maximum of 25 years, ignoring interest because it would normally keep it inline with wage inflation). Yes a lot of people wont ever pay it back before the 30 years is up, but it is more like a tax than a loan, it will always be a manageable deduction and it wont get in the way of peoples lives.
I know thats oversimplified, peoples salaries go up over their career etc but I don't know how to factor that in so am fully prepared to stand to be corrected if that is important.
But yeah so if it is only those who earn over £30k that are worse off it doesn't really seem like a massive left wing betrayal, rather a middle class concern, it seems progressive that those earning over £30k contribute more to the education that got them there, and those below less doesn't it? And as it is a system where you pay according to you financial means after uni rather than before, i don't see it as discriminating against people from disadvantaged backgrounds (so long as the system is explained well enough and they aren't discouraged). It also takes the risk out of going to uni, I think knowing that if you go- don't do as well as you'd hoped and don't manage to land a decent salary atleast your loan deductions wont be much
I know there is anger because it goes against an explicit promise, but they are in coalition compromises need to be made, and with the countries finances in such a state priorities were bound to change, but they've managed to come up with a fair system that ensures that people who earn the most pay back more, and where the rest will be better off, everyone hates 'the cuts' so if this frees up money to allow cuts to be spared elsewhere (on issues that may affect actual disadvantaged people i.e not people who earn £30k).
on to the cuts, people are making out like they are just doing it because they are conservatives and they love cuts (which they obviously do and they should be kicked out as soon as things are back on track) but its not like they are making cuts to fuel tax breaks is it? there must be recognition that some are necessary, if we don't get it under control borrowing would become more expensive (I think thats how it works if the credit rating drops, but I may have misunderstood) and could lead to the need even more cuts in the long run. They are doing £16 billion this year, labour wanted to do £14 billion, im not saying £2 billion is small change but the relative difference isn't that much and labour could get away with being less realistic because it was a plan rather than something they are actually having to do, with figures that similar I don't think it can really be argued that the cuts are ideologically driven. I don't know if uk uncut's argument of clamping down on tax evasion and taxing banks could work, but presumably if it were that easy then thats what labour would be advocating (seems like the Lib Dems are the ones that have tried though), I guess it could be counter productive in the long run to clamp down on people the economy unfortunaley relies on even if it would be fair.
People also criticise the Lib Dems for not really challenging the conservatives, I reckon their are probably various reasons they've needed to present a united front, around the time of the election the £ and the markets confidence were falling just at the possibility of a coalition, so they really needed to present a stable united government in the first year to gain confidence, if the economy faltered unemployment, growth and everything else could have gone even worse. Also they probably thought they needed to keep the conservatives sweet so they don't get stabbed in the back over the referendum the one thing that would make it worthwhile (that worked out well!)
Don't get me wrong, im not completely happy with the government (conservatives shouldnt be allowed anywhere near the NHS, university teaching cuts, how young people have been left on the unemployment scrap heap especially) but people seem to thing everything would be better if labour were in charge and I really don't think thats true (or they should get off so easily for all their mistakes). Im probably just being contrary but the more people hate clegg the more I like him, any picture of him doesn't look like a sell out enjoying his ill gotten power but rather some one who has struggled hard with hard decisions. I just think people have been too harsh on the Lib Dems, we don't know what things would be like without them there chances are a lot of things would be a lot less fair, the conservatives know everything they do has to get their support that must have a moderating influence, I don't think they have been inconsistent with their values but rather have made some difficult necessary decisions under difficult circumstances.