|Thoughts on the vote on the Higher Education Bill
28 Jan 2004
The Government have gone and done it again; some proposals which would have generated useful additional funds for an important public service have been so watered down as to make them virtually useless.
With Foundation Hospitals, there was a radical proposal that would have allowed them to borrow funds from the City - on top of the money provided by the Treasury. That would have increased the totality of investment in the NHS. But this was watered down, and any money that is raised from the City is now to be deducted from the money provided by the Treasury. So what is the point?
Again, with Top Up Fees, the original proposal would have provided additional funds for the Universities, who desperately need it. But this has been watered down, so they get hardly anything. So what is the point?
The Government has the ability to tear itself apart, while making little progress with social reform.
Six months ago, if you had asked which party was divided and had a leader under threat, you would probably have said the Conservative Party. Today, you would say the Labour Party. The personal animosity within the Labour party is running at a dangerously high level, and it is becoming visibly more factional. The Prime Minister is becoming more dependent on the Chancellor.
Bumpy days lie ahead for the People's Party