Tag Archives: Steve Richards

Tuition fee vote may cost Lib Dems their votes

The coalition won the tuition fees hike vote which allows Universities in England to charge up to £9000 pounds from home students.

In doing so the government’s majority was considerably reduced from notional 84 to mere 21 votes.

Rebellion marked the day both inside and outside the house of parliament in London.

No vote

Both parties in the coalition witnessed MP’s either abstaining or voting against the motion as the agitated students kept demonstrating through the day. They managed to reach Parliament Square where they were not supposed to be.

While it’s certain that the students will have to pay higher fees from 2012, what is not certain is the way politics will shape up in the years ahead.

Future tense

Thursdays vote will go a long way in shaping the political landscape, with fears of Liberal Democrats suffering grave consequences for being party to the decision.

Facing the dilemma of keeping the pledge or going ahead with the government decision of the 57 Lib Dem MP’s 29 either voted against or abstained from the vote.

That is little over half the party votes. The step poses serious concerns for those who formed the 29 include Tim Farron, the party president and Simon Hughes, the deputy leader.

It’s going to be a tough walk back to the next elections for Nick Clegg and his party. As Steve Richards, the chief political correspondent, The Independent wrote in his opinion piece on Tuesday: “There is no easy way through for a party that had one unequivocal policy at the election and another now. So much is obvious. The longer-term political consequences are nowhere near as straightforward.”

The party is facing severe criticism from its voters particularly the students with whom they signed a pledge to oppose the fee hike of any kind.

Looks like Clegg miscalculated the risk when he signed the no fee hike pledge and left no stone unturned to publicise it.

Its payback time now.


Alex Barker, Political correspondent FT writes in his blog Clegg knew the move was not going to work but he went ahead.

Despite Clegg making an earnest effort to clarify his position and pose a united front as a party. He is losing ground.  As Richards mentioned at the talk at City University on December 2 that Irony is people can change their decision about politicians in the election and convey their message, politicians can’t do the same.


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Coalition, Coverage and Challenges for British Media

“Television is the primary source of NEWS in the UK and newspapers are merely scavengers,” Adam Boulton, Political Editor, Sky News set the tempo for the evening.

After witnessing an eventful year in politics, what are likely to be the key political events of 2011? How has political journalism, so long used to the old politics of Labour and Conservative Governments, coped with reporting the new politics of coalition? Did the elections mark the ‘triumph’ of the old media over the new?

A panel discussion on these topics involving Boulton in the company of UK’s leading political blogger ‘Guido Fawkes’ and Steve Richards, Chief Political Commentator, The Independent was a reason enough to reach City University braving the weather and trying get an insight to the political landscape of UK.

Way ahead
The way in which political battles were fought on national television and how candidates and parties used the World Wide Web to garner support marked a new era for political coverage in the UK.

These mediums made lasting impressions and had a bearing on the decision was a view which had majority rooting for it. To this Richards said that there is still a lot of sense that newspapers make and the depth and perspective which a 1000 word comment makes is beyond the scope of television. Bulton agreed but was firm on his earlier stand, ‘With newspapers you can only better a few things.’

Taking it further Paul Stains aka Guido Fawkes added: “it’s about time journalists get ready to report on any of the available mediums, it’s all about multi tasking.” This sentiment has echoed at many platforms and is the only way out in future.

Covering Coalition

Everyone seemed to have their own take on the formation, sustainability and future of coalition government. There weren’t many doubts about its survival but future for Liberal Democrats post coalition.

Bulton said that Nick Clegg was given an offer by David Cameron which he could not resist and it turned a new chapter in the British political. The third-party became a force to reckon with for the first time he stressed.

Richards agreeing to this facet came with his doctrine that the step taken by Clegg to join the coalition in turn making him a part of some harsh political decision taken by Tories will hurt Lib Dems in the future and by the time of next elections their popularity might drop o single digits. “They might well be out,” he remarked.

Decisive 2011
Amidst learning to live with Coalition 2011 will prepare grounds for country’s political future. It’s when the CUTS will begin to bite, tuition fees will begin to hurt and hell lot of harsh measures will be applied.

The challenge for the media will be to strike the right balance and not go for over kill in bid to out do each other.

There will be lot to discuss, debate and report. Interesting times to be a journalist, better if you choose the right platform.


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