‘However, I also believe that all of us involved in this debate have a greater responsibility to ensure that we do not let our genuinely held disagreements over policy mean that we sabotage an aim that we all share – to encourage people from poorer backgrounds to go to university.
Like me I am sure you have regularly spoken to people who believe that the new proposals will mean them having to pay before they go to university or say that they cannot afford the fees. As you know, there is no upfront charge and the repayments only apply to graduates who over £21,000. If the proposals are passed by Parliament I believe it is crucial that all of us are able to ensure that people know the true picture.’
As Daniel Korski wrote at the weekend, fees work and the empirical evidence is that deferring cost raises participation, especially among low income groups. It is encouraging that Nick Clegg is prepared to stick his neck and make that case. His good work is undone by the continued uncertainty about the voting intentions of Lib Dem ministers. Abstention implies the opposite of Clegg’s position.