Wednesday, January 07, 2009

The Democrats have just about won another one

Despite Obama's victory feeling like old news, November's US elections are still not quite finished.

The recount in Minnesota has now been certified unanimously by the state canvassing board and this puts Democrat Al Franken ahead by a handful of votes.

But he is not home and dry. Republican Norm Coleman has issued a legal challnge (having previously opposed such tactics when he was ahead!) which means that Franken cannot be officially declared the winner just yet.

hat tip: MyDD

For me, it's about investing in people's potential

I was delighted to be amongst those supporting the retention of our position on tuition fees at last night's FPC meeting.

For me this issue is not about the detail, but about sending a clear message that the Liberal Democrats believe that it is the role of the state to help each individual fulfil their own potential.

Large levels of student debt, attached to the individual, make it hard for people to make a free choice about their own development.

Rather than saying that education is about personal fulfilment, individual debt makes it about repayment.

By taking a clear position on tuition fees, we make it clear that we are on the side of investing in people's potential, and that individuals should be able to make choices about their higher education based on their ambitions, not their bank balance.

It is also important for me that we should treat adults as adults, rather than base their entitlement on the income of their parents.

Our message on tuition fees at the last two elections, and on the penny on income tax for education before that, struck a real chord with people because it clearly identified the Lib Dems as the party that believed in investing in education and in opportunities for all.

I'm now confident that the raft of policies that are being developed from early years through to Higher education will do just that.