Elwyn Watkins would have unsuccessfully lobbied himself on tuition fees

Last night the BBC’s Laura Kuenssberg interviewed Elwyn Watkins, the Lib Dem candidate in Oldham East and Saddleworth. He gave lots of silly answers but the following section stood out – highlighting the ridiculousness of the broader Lib Dem position:

LK: At the time though during the general election when you came within a whisker you were standing just as a Liberal democrat. You were against tuition fees, you were against big cuts in this financial year. Now you would be an MP as part of a coalition that’s gone against many things that the Lib Dems are campaigning for in the general election. How are people on the doorstep here meant to believe what you’d say to them this time?

EW: …In a coalition you have to compromise and most people I’ve talked  to say given the financial mess that we’ve got ourselves to try and deal with it’s about time parties co-operated and they looked to try and  get things done on behalf of the country rather than for party political advantage.

LK: But on something like tuition fees for example, on the doorstep here in the general election you would have been saying that you’d vote against any rise in them. How would you have voted if you were in Westminster then?

EW: Well I would have fulfilled the coalition agreement, but my view of tuition fees hasn’t changed, I still think they’re wrong and if I was an MP I’d still campaign against them. But when you’re in a partnership with another party sometimes you get what you want, sometimes they get what they want.

So, if Elwyn Watkins had become an MP in May he would have voted for tuition fees – BUT – campaigned against them. What? What do you mean Elwyn?

How can you campaign one way but vote another? How would he have campaigned against himself? Picketing his own office? Shouting at himself? Sending himself furious letters? Distributing leaflets saying “Do not vote for Elwyn Watkins – only the Lib Dems can win here”?

And all the while having to do all this campaigning without trying too hard, in case he convinced himself, and ended up not voting the way he intended.

The Lib Dems are past masters at double-think and double-talk. Recently they added a massive double-cross. But this raises to the level of madness their already vertiginous bar of duplicity and deceit.

It all probably sounded jolly clever when Cowley St gave Elwyn his lines, but hearing it back surely even he must realise that it is rubbish. What a fool.

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8 Responses to “Elwyn Watkins would have unsuccessfully lobbied himself on tuition fees”

  1. Steve B says:

    So was there no-one on the Labour side who tought 90 days detention was wrong in principle but prepared to vote for it?

    There still remains those on the Labour front bench who believe and have believed that tuition fee rises are essential but have had their ‘minds changed’ by Eddie, are they no equally hypocritical??

  2. He says he “… would have fulfilled the coalition agreement…”, but you then say “So, if Elwyn Watkins had become an MP in May he would have voted for tuition fees…”

    Didn’t the Coalition Agreement merely oblige Lib-Dem MPs not to vote against?

  3. On Twitter, @psbook (Political Scrapbook) has offered this: http://bit.ly/fLNiOd in which Elwyn goes beyond what he said to the BBC, saying he’d have voted in favour.

  4. Steve B says:

    Okay so I’m reading the article and it seems the majority of students in that constituency are part-time. The new proposals make life for part-time students much easier.

    Therefore by voting for it he is benefiting the majority of students in that area.

    The whole student tuition fees debate has been clouded by juvenile (quite literally) hyperbole. Apparently ‘grown up’ politics still doesn’t apply to this incarnation of Labour, sadly.

  5. Jono R says:

    Stevie B – Didn’t the government’s own report admit part time students will be deterred and only one third would benefit?


  6. Mick says:

    I’m pretty sure part time students would get loans, rather than having to pay a lump sum upfront.

    Not sure this article tells us anything new: coalition = compromise.

    It would be easy for Elwyn to say he’d vote against all the Tory bits and for all the Lib Dem bits, but it seems he actually wants to get involved in grown up politics. Which is more than can be said for Ed Balls or Sadiq Khan who cant resist attacking a centre-right government from the right…

  7. Fubar Saunders says:

    Yeah… you got him bang to rights…. A bit like someone applauding the newly elected leader for saying that the Iraq war was a mistake when she herself, as a senior member of the cabinet voted in favour of it.

    What exactly are you trying to claim here? That politicians say one thing to the public – when they can be arsed speaking to them at all – and then do something completely different when in the HoC???

    F**k me, hold the front page, this ones going to run and run…. [rolls eyes]

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