Johann Lamont’s Scottish Labour party have been described as having “neither principles nor policies” after Labour MSPs refused to support a motion calling for the Scottish Parliament to back access to education “based on ability to learn, not ability to pay”.
 
Despite the abstention of Labour MSPs, the Scottish Parliament’s voted to support calls for free Higher Education in Scotland.

The refusal of Scottish Labour to support the motion comes despite a pledge by the party that they will not introduce up front or back-end tuition fees still appearing on their website.

The SNP is the only major political party in Scotland never to have voted for tuition fees, a commitment the party maintained yesterday.  In addition, the Scottish Government is writing into law widening access agreements with universities.

Labour made an explicit commitment in their 2011 manifesto to no upfront or backdoor tuition fees – and signed pledges prior to the last election.  However despite the motion using almost the same wording as Labour’s pledge, Labour MSPs refused to back it.

The SNP has described Labour’s U-turn as the party’s very own “Nick Clegg moment”, a reference to the controversial promise scrapped by Lib Dems as soon as they gained office.

Before the election Labour MSPs signed NUS Scotland’s ‘Reclaim your voice’ pledge, committing the party to not introducing tuition fees in Scotland.

Commenting after the vote, SNP MSP Stewart Maxwell said:

“This was the Labour Party's 'Nick Clegg' moment in Scotland.

"I was proud to support the motion today and reaffirm the SNP's position that no person should be priced out of their education.

“In contrast, with their failure to back this motion Labour have broken their promise to students - despite still having the 'no price tag on education' pledge on their website.

“Students in Scotland will be appalled at Labour’s betrayal of them, and no wonder – this is a repeat of Nick Clegg’s shameful behaviour south of the Border following the 2010 election.

"Labour no longer back free tuition but have not told us what they would introduce - they are a party with neither principles nor policies.

“The SNP have maintained free higher education and the number of Scottish students studying in Scotland is on the increase - and we are writing into law Widening Access Agreements with our universities. Meanwhile students south of the border are being driven away by the sky high fees – this is what Labour wants to inflict on Scotland with their Cuts Commission.

“It is only the SNP that remains entirely committed to the principle and policy that education should be based on the ability to learn, not the ability to pay - and clearly it is only the SNP that will continue to stand up for our students.”


The text of the motion Labour refused to back today reads:
S4M-05652 Michael Russell: Tuition Fees—That the Parliament believes that access to higher education should be based on ability to learn, not ability to pay and will not introduce upfront or backdoor tuition fees.

Comments  

 
# EphemeralDeception 2013-02-20 07:49
Labour proposed amendment:
Motion S4M-05652.2: Hugh Henry,18/02/2013
Extract:
Budget Review Panel stated that 'a debate needs to be had on whether those who can afford to pay might be invited to do so, thus allowing better targeting of those in most need';

Right wing Labour wants a return means tested charging.

Right wing Tory proposed Amendment:
" Scottish Government policy on tuition fees is discriminatory...a modest contribution by graduates toward the cost of higher education should be introduced in Scotland"

Spot the difference? Not much really.
 
 
# Jo Bloggs 2013-02-20 10:20
Just a difference in wording. Otherwise there's no difference between them. They might as well just join together formally as the Right-wing Unionist Alliance.
 
 
# maisiedotts 2013-02-20 09:37
I notice they all got the benefit free education. Hypocrites one and all!
 
 
# gus1940 2013-02-20 10:14
O/T

The latest edition of Private Eye has just popped through my letterbox and it contains a very interesting article re the relationship between The P & J and Trump.
 
 
# RTP 2013-02-20 16:01
Quoting gus1940:
O/T

The latest edition of Private Eye has just popped through my letterbox and it contains a very interesting article re the relationship between The P & J and Trump.

Just recently I read about the Editor having married the head female of Trumps organization in Scotland is that what it is about.
 
 
# gus1940 2013-02-20 18:01
Yes.
 
 
# mealer 2013-02-20 10:52
This isnt a case of right wing versus left wing.Free education is,or at least was,accepted across a wide political spectrum in Scotland.It was above party politics.In Scotland,free education isnt some sort of radical socialist utopian ideal.It is common sense.Labour,Libdem and Tory party grassroots members in Scotland believe in it.The party leaderships in Scotland believe in it,but are prepared to sacrifice their principles in an attempt to bring us into line with Greater English thinking.
 
 
# bringiton 2013-02-20 10:53
Pledges and the Labour party are mutually exclusive terms.
Under Lamont's "leadership" the party has become completely Anglicised and no longer represents the views of it's Scottish constituency.
As such,supporters in Scotland must be wondering that if Labour were ever able to form a Scottish administration, what would be the point of having a Scottish parliament?
These people are taking money from Scottish tax payers under false pretences.
Their sole raison d'etre appears to be to oppose anything which is peculiarly Scottish done under the guise of opposing SNP policies but in reality opposing Scottish voters wishes.
Labour has completely given up on Scotland other than requiring MPs to make up the numbers at Westminster.
 
 
# proudscot 2013-02-20 10:56
The two main opposition parties in our Scottish Parliament refuse to support the principle of free education, based on one's ability to learn, and not on one's ability to pay. The headline news on BBC Scotland News bulletins - a South African Olympic runner is accused of shooting his girlfriend.

I wonder what the headline story would have been if it had been the SNP Government that had U-turned and abandoned its principle of free education? Hmmm, now that's a hard one to guess ... NOT!
 
 
# pmcrek 2013-02-20 11:10
"The SNP is the only major political party in Scotland..."

Hey if the Lib Dems are a major party in Scotland then so are us Greens :P
 
 
# Lini 2013-02-20 16:36
Quoting pmcrek:
"The SNP is the only major political party in Scotland..."

Hey if the Lib Dems are a major party in Scotland then so are us Greens :P


To be fair to NNS, like many articles that appear here, this is an SNP press release with a bit added on. No different than what the BBC or newspapers do - except it's not normally SNP press releases that the others use!
 
 
# RJBH 2013-02-20 12:08
the Labour party no longer know who they are, or the people they were supposed to represent...certainly they do not represent the working class, perhaps they exist only to keep themselves in jobs.
 
 
# connect2 2013-02-20 12:47
The text of the motion Labour refused to back today reads:
S4M-05652 Michael Russell: Tuition Fees—That the Parliament believes that access to higher education should be based on ability to learn, not ability to pay and will not introduce upfront or backdoor tuition fees.

How does the above work? Is there any way of tracking the individual Labour MSPs votes on this? Would be interesting to see.
 
 
# EphemeralDeception 2013-02-20 19:23
I think it is safe to say British Labour MSPS will either vote against or abstain. As we have seen even if the SNP were to adopt their amendment Labour would still not support an SNP motion (on a point of 'lack of ' principal)

It is possible to find our how each MSP voted for recent events, not sure on older votes. Info is here:
scottish.parliament.uk/.../...
 
 
# willie boy 2013-02-20 13:27
So Labour have no principles when it comes to education. Well, the " bedroom tax" is another example where they are in bed with the Tories and have no principles

Think I jest, well the logic of reducing benefits because of extra bedroom is as fair as council tax levied on folks irrespective on their ability to pay.

Elderly parents with the children grown up and gone are the classic example of this.

But during the last Parliament did Labour support the minority SNP government's propoals for a fairer tax based on earnings.

No they did not and like the Tories now, they are all for making students pay, irrespective of income. Just like the rates that they fought to keep.

But just look at the complexion of the labour party MSPs and MPs. How many are millionaires. Many many more than you would imagine.
 
 
# cuckooshoe 2013-02-20 18:41
If there is a No in the referendum and the SNP fail to make a majority in the next Holyrood election then I can see all 3 Unionist parties forming the next government to keep out the SNP and implement Westminster policies in Scotland..
 
 
# Edulis 2013-02-20 19:34
How do Independists get this into the Glasgow University mock referendum. Labour's abstension will play well with the student body- not.
 
 
# Independista 2013-02-23 11:46
The Jimmy Reid Foundation produced an excellent document in December 2012- 'The Case for Universalism' which I would suggest is required reading for all nationalists.
 

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