The Lords have passed the Government's plans for a raise in tuition fees.
Anthony Barnett complains that this secondary legislation has been "whisked through parliament with one three hour debate and a quick vote in the Lords". Anthony makes a good point on a wider issue, legislation does suffer from inadequate scrutiny in the House of Commons (a problem that an English parliament would alleviate), but in this case the legislation was rushed through as a matter of political expediency, and because it was secondary legislation. The primary legislation that enabled student tuition fees was passed by Tony Blair's government, imposed undemocratically upon English students using the votes of Labour's Scottish MPs. The present government's legislation is the thick end of Labour's wedge. No ideological line has been crossed. There is no point of principle. It is simply a matter of how much they should pay, not whether they should pay.
Unfortunately the NUS, in their wisdom, decided not to take a particularly partisan stance or make an issue of MPs voting rights. In doing so they betrayed the students of England.
There follows a series of emails from Jan-Feb 2004 between myself and two members of the NUS National Executive. To this day I believe that the reason they did not listen to me is because the NUS was led at the time by a Scot, Mandy Telford, and there was no NUS England (despite the fact that there was a separate NUS Scotland). If they had listened to me and raged against those hypocritical Scottish Labour MPs in the same manner that they now rage against the "Tory bastards" and the "Lib Dem liars", things would now be very different indeed.