As the Lib Dems face almost complete wipeout at the General Election, Dewi Knight asks why this happened, and what implications it has for the party now.
Perhaps it is because liberalism is an ultimately optimistic philosophy that explains why Liberal Democrats were so up beat at their annual conference this week. Despite dire poll ratings the conference bar was full of cheery activists and senior MPs determined to cling on to their seats. As the Liberal Democrats wrap up this year’s party conference season, Sam Cannicott looks at the mood of the party and their ongoing difficulties with fees and higher education.
Following a disastrous result at the European and Council elections, it seems that the Lib Dems are still haunted by the 2010 decision to raise tuition fees. With Nick Clegg facing challenges to his leadership and with a General Election now less than a year away, Dewi Knight takes a look at the state of the Lib Dems and their fractious relationship with higher education policy.
The Liberal Democrats kick off the party conference season in Glasgow next week. Will they develop a firm (and different?) position on higher education as the 2015 General Election approaches? Even after a policy review headed up by Baroness Brinton and a business department led by Vince Cable, their position is still very hard to predict. In a first of a series covering each main party’s annual conference, Andy Westwood looks at the state of the Lib Dems through an HE lens.
Vince Cable’s journey from opposition darling to spent political force embodies the story of his party over the past two years. In the run-up to the election, and failing to predict ‘Cleggmania’, he was given equal footing with the party leader in the election campaign. He was seen to be an essential electoral asset – trusted, well-liked, credible (even witty as his devastating ‘Stalin to Mr Bean’ jibe showed). But as Secretary of State, he failed so completely to negotiate a settlement for higher education funding that wouldn’t enrage, divide and aliente everyone – not least his own conscience, better judgement and previous political promises.