Paul Davies reminds me to recount a story from my dim and distant student days.
Back when I was a stude, Jim “trust me!” Murphy was NUS President. At the time, we’re talking 1996 here, there was a lot of talk about the Dearing Commission and the Tories’ threat to introduce tuition fees.
Jim came to my student union (Manchester Uni) to speak at a debate on whether or not to drop the union’s campaign for restoring grants, which Ken Clarke had announced were to be phased out. Jim’s argument was that we had to drop this policy as the entire student movement had to concentrate on its campaign to oppose the dreaded fees.
You know the rest – Tony Blair fights the 1997 campaign pledging to not introduce fees, and then makes creating them one of his first acts. The irony being of course that Dearing also recommended restoring grants to the poorest students. Which didn’t happen.
And our boy Jim got to be a brand spanking new MP, happily championing the very policies he had built his student career in opposing.
So, when he turns up, 10 years later, and Saddam-Hussain-in-South-Park-like says “relax feller!” over his Legislative and Regulatory Reform Bill you will forgive my unnease.