Wednesday, September 23, 2009

I Think Tory Bear Owes me an Apology

I'm not sure what lessons one recent graduate picked up at his time at Edinburgh University, but he appears to have not attending any lesson on democracy. Yes, folks it would appear that Mr Harry Cole either thinks that the elected dictatorship or politburo approach that the conservative party deal with policy and manifesto writing is the way these things get done.

Earlier this week Mr Cole who blogs as Tory Bear, and doesn't like his readers to remember that, posted an article called Liberal Lies. In it he quoted Nick Clegg saying:

"Ending tuition fees would cost billions of pounds every year. We need to be certain we can afford it before we make any promises."
He carried on accusing Liberal Youth of lying saying:

"Liberal Youth built their entire freshers recruitment campaign around this issue. Proudly boasting that they were the only party who would fight for free education...

"Too bad for Elaine Bagshaw and Liberal Youth that their postcards full of lies and false promises have already been handed out across every university in the country."

He even demanded that instead of going about the business of policy discussion and decision at Lib Dem conference I should apologise to him for calling him as liar after he suggested that the pledge to scrap tuition fees was to be dropped.

What I did know, that Harry didn't, was the composition of the Federal Policy Committee. This is the democratically elected body that formulates the parties policies into a coherent manifesto. Having voted on a number of occasions for some of the members who sit on that committee I know where their Liberal hearts lie and how they would feel on this issue. Actually yesterday during the Fresh Start for Britain: Choosing a Different, Better Future debate some of them took to the podium to speak against certain lines in their own motion.

In fact we don't all need to guess at most of their views because this morning a majority of them have signed a letter in the Grauniad. In it they say:

"Not all our policies make it into the manifesto, which contains a carefully costed programme for a full parliamentary term. The manifesto will shortly be produced by the 29-strong federal policy committee (FPC), after an open and vigorous debate about the priority we attach to different spending commitments balanced against the savings we have identified to pay for them.

"We have yet to have that discussion but, as a clear majority of members of the FPC, we think it would be valuable to clarify now that we predict that our commitment to scrap tuition fees, as part of our plans to create a fairer society, will indeed be included in the manifesto and that the party will be united in strongly campaigning on this in the run-up to and at next year's general election."

So I think that Mr Cole owes me, Elaine Bagshaw and Liberal Youth an apology, not the other way round. We, and others, have been in Bournemouth going about the business of manifesto forming.

The same offer you offered me erroneously will suffice please feel free to apologise, even a Tweet will do.


Irfan Ahmed said...

Tory Bear said...

Will be happy to apologise when the Lib Dem manifesto is out and tuition fees is in it..

How's that? Vica versa of course if it's not?

Stephen Glenn said...

I'll ask Millennium Dome to remind me of that promise. He'll not forget.


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