Thursday, 10 March 2011
"If I am First Minister..."
"If I am First Minister, a Labour government will not introduce any upfront fees or graduate contribution for access to higher education in the lifetime of the next Parliament. There will be no price tag on education". So says the Gray man pictured above.
He also announced that letters are being sent to 100,000 students across the country broadcasting his policy and the National Union of Students are to hold a jamboree to celebrate the "great news".
Charlie Kennedy, the newly re-elected rector of Glasgow University, accused the SNP and Labour of becoming embroiled in a "Dutch auction" to offer students the most money for their votes ahead of the election. He, more than most, should know that it's not necessary to keep your word to the student population; keeping them convinced until 6 May is suffice. Surely he learned something from his boss Nick Clegg.
The SNP have constantly stuck to their commitment that access to higher education should be based on the ability to learn, not the ability to pay and until today Iain Gray has regularly stated a graduate contribution was "inevitable".
Labour really have no scruples and surely our students will now realise they have no policies either.
Let's not forget, Labour are the party which voted against the Scottish budget and by taking that stance they voted against the council tax freeze, 25,000 modern apprenticeships, maintaining police officer numbers and a £2.5 billion infrastructure investment programme in health, education and transport.
Also let's not forget Tory Derek Brownlee's comment on budget day:
"It is obvious it is not a Labour budget - it balances and doesn't add another £200 billion to national debt". source
Only last month John Rowan, a former aide to Gordon Brown, criticised Iain Gray over his 'right wing' stance on justice:
"The danger is it sends out the wrong signal and we will lose some of our more thoughtful voters." source
Gray is becoming reckless in his desperation to become First Minister. Once the campaign officially begins I wonder how many other U-turns he will attempt.
Update: Ed Balls has been speaking to the Scotsman. For your amusement a brief excerpt: "The issue in politics and when it comes to the ballot box is who do voters think will speak up for them and their families, for their town, for their country. In those election tests, Iain Gray has won and Alex Salmond has lost."