Thursday, 9 December 2010

Ayes 323, Noes 302

Ok. First thing I'm going to say in big friendly letters:


Second thing I'm going to say is there are number of things that should be done, that could be done and that shouldn't be done. Please be careful about which is which.

Ok, so here's why the vote isn't as bad as you think, shouldn't put you off going wherever the hell you want, why the police are dicks and how I would have voted if I were an MP.

The Ayes to the right, the Noes to the left.

I want to argue that what you feel about the bill on the table (and this goes for all bills) is irrelevant. Approval or disapproval is not how things get done, what gets things done is choosing. To change the law as an MP you can only vote one of two ways, yes or no, i.e. you must chose, shall the law include this line/clause/bill, or should it not?

This may sound like quibbling, but it is important because I dont think a lot of people are being consistent. You cannot say "something must be done" and say "this must not be done" without an alternative. If you dont propose an alternative then your no vote is a vote "there shall be no new law".

Now of course so Labour types and some others are putting forward an alternative, a graduate tax, which is (as I have argued) exactly the same as some fees arrangement, others are proposing scrapping fees altogether and massively increasing state funding. However, there are a lot of people whose reaction to this is "we need to spend less, but not like this, and I cant think of any other way", which is not consistent. Either this law is better or worse than spending more government money on universities, if it's better and you've no alternative vote yes, if it's worse then vote no. To say we need a new arrangement at all costs and to vote against the only option you have placed on the table is not constant.

The Lib Dems

The Lib Dems are doomed. The common wisdom has been for months now. Just like how the Labour party were doomed after introducing fees in the first place. Just let me say, without predicting anything, that a week is a long time in politics, and 4 years is forever.

People will not be talking about this in 4 years, they will be talking about what the cuts did to the economy. They will be talking about new laws, the changes to the welfare system, the changes to government and what the presence of BNP members of the new Senate means for British democracy.

I'm not saying students will forget, I'm saying that there will be other things on people's minds. Yes, some Lib Dems will loose their seats, I'd bet a small amount of money that most wont, I'd bet a fair amount of money that they wont become a 4th party or lower.

And while we're at it, if you're a student and you're now going to vote Labour as a protest against the Lib Dems voting for fees you're fucking insane. Enough said.

I cant go to university

Ok, I'm going to say this in really big letters because I want you to pay attention:

Yes you can, and if you would do well you should.

You can go to university, it doesn't matter how poor you are. You can go to university. Nobody will stop you. You can go to university. You will have to pay NOTHING. You can go to university. You do not have to worry about going bankrupt. You can go to university. You do not have to worry that your parents will have to pay huge amounts of money. You can go to university. You do not need to save up the money you're using for food (saving is good and will make you time at uni more pleasant, but not if you need the money now). You can go to university.

I just want to really stress this point as hard as I possibly can. It is disgraceful that anyone should be put off going to university by fees, (this is why I'm in favour of a graduate tax over fees, it's the same damn policy in two different disguises, but the tax disguise sounds better). So it's important, given that changing the law at this stage in impractical, that we stress as firmly as we can to everyone. You can go to university. Everyone gets a loan to cover the whole cost that has incredible rates and which cannot send you bankrupt. So now the vote has been lost the scaremongers need to calm down, retract most of the panic and say the facts.

After these proposals it will be more expensive over a lifetime to be a graduate than under the existing system. For a lot of people it will be less expensive per month. For everyone it will be free whilst at uni.

The police

Seriously, dont be around me if there's riot police on TV. Disband the Metropolitan Police. Shoot the mounted police. Just ... dear me, I'm going to have to lie down.

But seriously. What the hell are police doing with horses, I mean, there's no reason for that department to exist anyway, but to use them against a crowd. Well done the Met, you've just lost the tiny sliver of legitimacy you lost that years ago. Well done cunts.

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