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Why I hate Mainstream Clubs

Nostalgia or Nausea?

Have you ever been in a situation where you feel like you’ve been at the same party for years stuck in a rigidly structured routine? I do every time I go to a conventional club. Mainstream clubs are nearly always exactly the same, dominated by a vast central room and occasionally attached to underwhelming ‘alternatives’. In said main room the music is invariably exactly the same with “R&B” and “cheese” having somehow become the columns upon which nightclubs are built.

But how did this convention begin and why has it stuck? My prime example is the location I am most familiar with; Sheffield. Having been at university here for four years I have put in more ground work for the basing of this blog than any I could ever conceivably write. The clubworld is dominated by Embrace, Plug and five completely individual, yet utterly indistinguishable, University nights (Tuesday club disregarded). But this seeming lack of choice does not deter the punters. Instead it has resulted in a situation whereby anything out of sync with this quagmire of stodgy, insipidness is actively rejected by the masses.

Pre-drink parties now include the very music you will be subjected to in a club. The eternal line is: “It doesn’t matter what the music is, you just get drunk and then you can dance to anything”. I hear it so often it’s almost as if there was a meeting attended by all potential clubbers who decided upon this as the official line. I unfortunately missed this extensive briefing that garnered the foresight to address the natural response: “But if you’ll dance to anything, why does it always have to be dreadful.” Dare to venture a suggestion, maybe anything well regarded by those of a critical disposition or a single that didn’t rely on a target market of 10 year old girls and the answer is this: “Well you can’t dance to that.” It is a sad state of affairs when prepubescents have become the deciders of what those of drinking age can dance to. Club music is indistinguishable from primary school discos or embarrassing post wedding parties. There is no point arguing any further. You’ve lost. It’s check mate. Even though it clearly isn’t!!! It definitely is.

The problem may be the state of pop music itself. “R&B” took over from Indie music as the king genre and much like its precursor it has lurched along until it reached the nirvana of musical formula: structured, repetitive, and uninspired. It is a genre consisting of cliché wails spouted from a production line of lookalike/soundalike/dancealike singers with instrumental accompaniment consisting of, seemingly, a single drum line that is the same in a billion billion billion songs. There isn’t exactly the world of difference between Ne-yo, Akon, Flo-Rida, Sean Kingston and Chris Brown. Just think that this is a day and age where “Chris Brown” as a name suffices for a pop star! How boring is that??  I digress, the point is they’re just rip offs of Usher who in turn was a rip off (although an improvement) of R Kelly.

Indie music had gotten just as stale with the Arctic Monkeys being the swan song of a genre that had run out of ideas. By the end it was gushing out the likes of The Enemy and The bloody View with that garbage “Same jeans” song which would have been an entertaining pastiche of the previous five years had it not catapulted the band and revealed they had an entire album of the stuff. I was just about old enough to get into clubs at the end of the Indie era and since then it has been “cheese” and “R&B” all the way.

Why cheese?? Why do Steps, S Club 7, Westlife, Blue, Backstreet boys, B*Witched etc. etc. etc. get continuously played often in the same order? Nostalgia is a wonderful thing when used sparingly. I would happily ironically dance to a surprising play of “C’est la vie” maybe once every couple of years. But if it’s on every night at numerous venues day in day out then it isn’t a happy nostalgia trip anymore. It’s just a rubbish song being played as often as it was 15 years ago when it was a novelty rubbish song everyone assumed would be forgotten by the end of the week. For instance, if Limp Bizkit is played once in a while then, out of surprise as much as anything, I will roar with approval and bust out the old Fred Durst pervy pelvic thrusts and ‘rollin’ arm movements. I’m as willing as anyone to be a 12 year old again but it’s like watching the occasional episode of Fireman Sam, you don’t watch four hours of continuous CBBC coverage.

So if music doesn’t liven up soon the mainstream will remain dead and that means junk pop club venues will plough on. I’m not saying we need a new Brit Pop, but I am saying we need a new Brit Pop. The problem is that X Factor and friends of X Factor are dominant on both sides of the Atlantic. The brand has taken control of the music buying public and commands popular music. Anything new and original is not encouraged and so struggles to break into a world that has never been so difficult for legitimate talent to blossom into.

I’m not saying the situation is wrong. I’m saying that it’s simultaneously as mental and depressing as scientology.



The President needs to step up to the Libya challenge


Legitimacy is key

Gaddafi’s brutal regime has been murdering the Libyan people for weeks as the dictator took advantage of the outside world’s reluctance to step in. Despite requests from the rebels themselves for an implementation of a no-fly zone, world leaders (particularly in America) were keen to distance themselves from thoughts of intervention. The protests began in Benghazi and overturned the government nationwide to within thirty miles of the capital city, Tripoli. The west has been keen to provide vocal support to the rebels and advised the Libyan Dictator of forty two years, Colonel Muammar Gaddafi, to stand down in the hope that the transition would progress like the stepping down of President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali in Tunisia and President Mubararak in Egypt. But in Gaddafi the world had underestimated the will and insanity of a determined dictator who, amongst other ridiculous statements, claimed that he had the full support of his people and that the protestors were all drugs addicts.

Since then the Libyan loyalists have retaliated with vengeance sweeping aside an unorganised and ill-equipped rebel ‘army’ and almost reaching the epicentre of unrest Benghazi. Gaddafi has stated that the rebels will be severely punished and there have been numerous reports of bloody violence. Yet until now the international community had not stepped in.

The problem is history. The normally trigger happy Americans are currently embroiled in two unpopular wars with the conflict in Iraq in particular being a publicity disaster. The US is incredibly unpopular in the Middle East and after claims of an illegal invasion, the blight of continuing military losses, civilian deaths and terrorism there was not much appetite for war.

In the beginning David Cameron was a lone voice in calling for a no-fly zone over Libya. Despite an increasing humanitarian crisis and human rights violations the international community continued in its laissez faire approach. But now, with French and British leadership, the UN has finally given its backing to military action and suddenly America is right at the forefront.

The shift in position is a stark one and it reflects the difference between how the American government wanted to act and the awareness of its largely negative perception abroad.

The problem was legitimacy. Iraq was quite possibly an illegal war sold to the public on false information about nonexistent WMD’s. There is a strong argument that President Bush and Prime Minister Blair were looking for a reason to remove Saddam Hussein partly to right the wrongs of the first Gulf War and possibly to secure oil resources. It is an argument historians of the pessimistic and optimistic inclinations will debate for years and one I shan’t dwell on now. The Iraq war was not backed by the UN not even independently supported by France or many other nations and was unpopular in Britain. As a result the already negative public image of the west was worsened in the Middle East and Obama’s administration did not feel confident enough to push the debate on Libya.

President Obama’s election represented a realisation of optimism in the United States. His rise to power was seen to represent ‘change’ and brought a belief that things would get better. This was not just a domestic hope. Across the globe his appointment was welcomed and on his Presidential visits he has been welcomed with ringing endorsements from a world that needs a strong America but also one that engages with its neighbours rather than independently doing as it sees fit. Obama was wary of this position and he didn’t want to do anything to jeopardise it. Forcing the issue on Libya could have backfired at that early stage and trying to convince the UN to go along with another American led campaign may have appeared to be an unnecessary headache.

The UN Security Council voted in favour of Resolution 1973 despite abstentions from Germany, India, Brazil, China and Russia. But the fact that the African members Lebanon, Nigeria and Gabon were all in favour was a valuable coup for the pro action members and indicated that the intervention would be welcomed by the African people. Such support was markedly absent in the case of Iraq.

The initial details of putting the resolution into action seemed to involve Britain, France and their Arab allies leading the way. However the Americans were launching missiles on up to twenty locations yesterday as the US war machine was unleashed once more, this time with international backing.

The change in dynamic is an interesting one now that the US has been let loose. They are the ones now forcing the issue and talking about ground troops. On Wednesday evening the US Ambassador to the UN Susan Rice said: “the US view is that we need to be prepared to contemplate steps that include but perhaps go beyond a no fly zone.” She went further towards indicating the deployment of ground troops saying: “A no fly zone has inherent limitations in terms of protection of civilians at immediate risk.”

It is important to remember that the Defence Secretary Robert Gates was not so long ago decrying “loose talk” from David Cameron. Now it is the Prime Minister showing caution with the Chancellor George Osborne being far more hesitant about the possibility of soldiers during an interview with Andrew Marr. He said: “We are not considering ground forces at the moment…..we are enforcing the United Nations resolution and we are acting as part of an incredibly broad coalition of nations.”

The reason the American position has shifted so far in just a matter of weeks is due to external factors. They always wanted to act. They still see themselves as the great superpower that can save the world despite no one wanting them to. The political climate required that this time UN approval had to be gained and Britain and France ensured that this was achieved. Expect America to drive forward now that the difficult political machine has set the wheels in motion for action. America has an opportunity to enhance its position internationally, particularly in the Middle East, and President Obama will be keen to exploit it. It was foreign policy upon which Presidents Kennedy and Nixon based their legacies unfortunately the same can be said for the Bushs’.

The nature of this conflict could be a game changer in terms of Britain and America’s standing in the world. Mistakes made in Iraq have been learned from in this situation. The gaining of the UN backing has been put a requirement for action to be taken. Mr Cameron has announced that legal consultations will be published. It has been a smart play by the Prime Minister who has pumped up his leadership credentials when Obama has been lagging behind. The US are sending in the troops quickly and starting to talk big in order to regain the impetus and the glory. But Mr Cameron doesn’t need to do much more. By mobilising the UN he already has a victory. It’s now up to the UN and America as to whether this no fly zone replicates the capture of Milosevic or the failure of the Gulf War.

Bored of the Blame Game

The Public is tired of the same old excuse

The beginning of every government has a honeymoon period of being able to blame any problem on the actions of its predecessor. The current mob have been feeding off the line; “the deficit we inherited from Labour” on a daily basis. But there is only so long that the same song can be sung before the people get tired of hearing it. Eventually everyone got sick of Wet Wet Wet and Bryan Adams. With the economy shrinking in the last quarter by 0.6% the government is losing the sympathy of the public and it now appears that the use of this slogan is toxic for a politician.

Welsh Secretary of State Cheryl Gillian was the latest to suffer for daring to use the excuse on Thursday’s Question Time. The political version of Rome’s gladiatorial games is far better at gauging the mood of the country than the Eton school boy one-upmanship disguised as Prime Ministers Questions and the audience voiced made its displeasure apparent.

The beginning of the end for the line can be identified as the 11th of February edition of Question time when Cabinet Minister Frances Maude was subjected to a barrage of abuse from an audience irate at his reference to the previous government’s responsibility for the current levels of debt. The anger of the crowd was such that Jacquie Smith got away with faming boredom by pretending to yawn. When a representative of the mess makers is able to mock the recipients of the mess it goes a long way to showing how unpopular the excuse is. The scene was a remarkable one. Shouts of discontent rang around the room as the top finally blew off a populous increasingly disenfranchised by government policy. Cries of “bankers’ bonuses” rang out in an unusual example of audience misbehaviour that required David Dimbleby to act the stern headmaster before order was restored.

Whilst many see it as a tired argument there is no doubting its validity. I would number the factors why but then I would fall foul of repeating the very mistake I am highlighting. The important factor is that the Government has lost this advantage over Labour and the Big Society debate seems to have been the tipping point. The public had so far put up with the slashing of government funding through a number of departments but it seems that their patience has finally been breached in the face of the apparent hypocrisy of Mr Cameron’s flagship policy.

The Prime Minister’s aim is to recreate the communities of old where neighbours looked after each other and families took care of their elders. Government increasingly took over the role of caring for the people as Labour welfare policies engulfed the state. Welfare was becoming the same financial black hole that the NHS is. By slashing funding to charities and local government the Government is directly affecting the care homes and libraries that many see as fundamental to society. The smell of hypocrisy is in the air and this was exacerbated by Dame Elisabeth Hoodless, the retiring executive director of Community Service Volunteers. The much respected servant to volunteering who had voiced her support for the policy when it was announced has now become a harsh critic claiming that the cuts are “destroying the big society.”

But the presumably circumcised Dame Hoodless misses the point when she complains about budget cuts in volunteering. Volunteering and charities by definition shouldn’t rely on government funding. They are not supposed to be reliant on state funding otherwise they would just be part of the welfare system. It’s a mark of the size of government that charities are so dependent on it. According to the Times charities receive more money from government than public donations, £11bn as opposed to £10bn. Big society is as much about devolving the big government that grew to an incredibly bloated scale under the Labour years as it is about increasing the size of volunteer groups.

The government line about being left in recession and massive debt by the Labour party is undoubtedly stale. The problem is that it is true and it’s applicable to nearly every policy the coalition government is producing. They make cuts, the question ‘why’ is asked, and then the tired old argument is presented. It’s a horrible cycle that everyone is trapped in. The Government won’t change the line because it validates the majority of their changes.

The problem is the nature of party politics. British politics is far too tribal and that issue has been exacerbated now two of the big three parties are on the same side. It is very much an ‘us’ against ‘them’ climate in Westminster and this is obvious in practically every answer any politician gives. If you ask a coalition MP about a policy they will prioritise more time to pointing out how it is a response to a mistake by Labour rather than speak about the merits of the policy.

The nature of the Coalition’s defensiveness has been its weakness. Cameron has been very forthright in his beliefs and the strengths of the policy he wants to make, but the rest of his party, and the Liberal Democrats in particular, have been hesitant to endorse the merits of government policy. This was fundamental to the failure of transmitting the merits of their tuition fees to the public. The NUS is now privately backing the changes yet the perception is that everyone was against them. The same communication problems have haunted the planned forest sales which highlighted a major failing by Caroline Spelman to explain the policy to the masses. It appears that the whole scheme is going to be scrapped because of miscommunication in this very sensitive area. The British public was always likely to object to anything that could be perceived as a threat to the much loved woodlands and this government has not shown itself to be anything like adept at dealing with such issues.

Margaret Thatcher and Tony Blair were both hugely successful by gauging the public mood and selling them their ideas; Cameron has yet to learn this art. As a result it seems that the Government is going to continue to relax in its comfort zone blaming Gordon Brown’s economic policy for cutbacks rather than spending time explaining the merits of the action it is taking. If this is the case then the state of the economy will have to improve and unemployment must fall.

A Victoy that will bring more Relief than Joy

It’s over, Miliband is the way forward. The British people have lost all faith in the Coalition Government. As Ed says the people are disgusted by V.A.T. increases and broken promises and have turned to him to be their saviour. The evidence would appear to support this claim as the seat of Oldham East and Saddleworth, with an electorate of 72,000 and an MP from the only major party not be in government, is the key indicator of the state of politics in the country today.

The Labour MP Emily Thornbury appeared on the Daily Politics Show revelling in the success of her party. Somewhere between branding the Oldham by-election result as “spectacular” and denying the Labour government’s role in the country’s financial disaster, she claimed that this was a “rejection of a terrible government.” It wasn’t. In fact if you add up the Coalition vote they polled 15,641 as opposed to Labour’s 14,718, but Cameron won’t be claiming this victory.

The result of this by-election was essentially honours even. It was not a great victory for Labour, it wasn’t as good a result for the Liberal Democrats as it appears, and it is not as poor as a 7,000 vote loss would appear for the Conservatives. The easiest way to demonstrate this is to look at each party in turn and my life’s work is to search for the easiest way to do anything.

Labour’s vote rose from last year’s election total of 14,186 to 14,718. A respectable rise of 500 but certainly not enough to suggest a massive populist shift back to Miliband’s crew and the turning of backs on the coalition. Labour held onto a seat they have held since 1997 and even the collapse of the party last year didn’t do enough to lose it. But a majority of 3,500 is a good one and it is a much needed result for Ed Miliband.

The Liberal Democrats were also under severe pressure going into the by-election. This is a seat that by rights should have been theirs. The results of Phil Woolas’ slanderous attacks on the party during the general election are unquantifiable but there were only 103 votes in it. An outright disqualification was called for by many, and had the by-election happened sooner this would have been a shoe in for Elwyn Watkins. But the tide has definitely turned against Clegg whose party have capitulated in the polls. This result appears to have kept the pressure at bay as they have retained a 31% share of the vote. But in actuality 3,000 votes have been lost and of the 7,000 that drained from the Conservatives, how many of them were tactical and reflect a political astuteness of voters? The Liberal side of the Government have escaped this one but the pressure is still on and political victories are required.

The Conservatives, as has been the case so often lately, have taken a back seat in the political sphere. Despite Cameron’s party being in charge and initiating a swathe of cuts they are under much less pressure than the other parties. Even to the extent that they can act charitably towards the Liberals. The Coalition is on rocky ground if the Lib Dems have nothing to gain from it, and whilst they are making an impact on policy making, back benchers and Liberal die hards are not keen on the alliance with the right. A result in Oldham was required and the Tories were shrewd enough to realise that an incredibly outside chance of winning a seat was not important enough to work for. Despite confusing claims to contrary, the appearance has been of a soft campaign going through the motions but not as pressing as it may have been. A loss of 14% of the vote would in other circumstances seem telling, but in this case was an easy burden to bear. Whilst their candidate Kashif Ali may not be best pleased, it will have bounced off Cameron.

The most telling statistic is the turnout. A General election figure of 61.2 per cent has dropped within a year to 48. This is a reflection of a loss of faith in politics and the people who practice it. The Liberal Democrats were at the forefront of a renewed interest and an atmosphere of change developed across the country. Nowhere would have felt it more than the constituency of Oldham East and Saddleworth where the Liberal Democrats have been big players. As it was all that really happened was that 3,000 voters shifted from Labour to Conservative, yet the big turnout was endemic of a renewed vigour for voting. But this constituency has been flattened more than most since the Coalition Government began. Clegg’s party are polling in single figures after the perceived tuition fees “betrayal” whilst the other big party in Oldham, Labour, had their MP Phil Woolas barred from public office for three years after it turned out that he had run a disgraceful election campaign including manipulating images of his Lib Dem opponent Elwyn Watkins.

Ed Miliband’s reaction to the result is reflective of the result. The overriding emotion will not be of celebration but relief. He didn’t even bother to go up to Oldham today and pull a cracker with Debbie Abrahams. Labour can just be relieved that they have won the seat whilst the Coalition can relax having spared further pressure on Clegg and knowing that the country hasn’t yet turned to the only opposition party remaining.

Beware Of The Right

Cameron's own party may be the problem

Analysis of the state of the Conservative Party in this coalition government has been pushed to the side as Nick Clegg’s Liberal Democrats have borne the brunt of the media’s gazing eye.

David Cameron has many reasons to be wary of his coalition being derailed. Liberal Democrats are coming under increasing pressure in the face of plummeting support in the polls and though they have held on so far there surely must be a breaking point. Whilst students saw the Tuition Fees as the beginning and end of the party, the other key Liberal principle was the voting change. And though they have just about survived the Tuition Fees debacle, if they lose on the forthcoming AV referendum then surely they can’t limp on any further in their current form. There is also the nagging threat of the Labour party’s intent to oppose the government through weaselling out Lib Dem MPs with deals as opposed to providing a better option to voters. However, the key danger to Cameron centres not on an external threat or even one from within his cabinet but, as so often in recent history, his right wing backbenchers.

The same internal divisions that ripped the party apart in the nineties over the European Union appear to remain. Issues such as the voting change, tuition fees and control orders show that whilst the leaders may be more liberal than we’re used to from a Conservative party, the grass roots remain firmly fortified upon the land laying to the right of centre. There is a constant undertone of grumblings within the party suggesting distaste towards sharing government with a group of Liberals. Yet it must be remembered that without them they couldn’t have formed as strong a government.

The Conservatives didn’t win the election. They didn’t gain the number of seats required to create a single party government, and they failed to do so despite their opposition boasting an unelected, disliked Gordon Brown with a party legacy whose main achievements were an illegal and deeply unpopular war and a global financial crisis. In fact pre election polls suggested that instead of voters flocking back to the Tories, it appeared that the people would turn on mass to Nick Clegg’s wandering band of nomads who until then were firmly placed in the political wilderness. As it turned out that didn’t happen but the whole saga shows a political sea change in the UK.

Liberalism is on the up. The Conservatives can no longer rely on the middle classes and their traditional support base to supply them with enough votes to win elections. Their right wing history is their weakness as attested to by the sheer failure to attract new voters. There were no big gains in Scotland, Northern England or Wales. The reason the Liberal Democrats failed was not as a result of their politics, it was their hopelessness. The old cliché that a vote for Clegg’s party was a wasted vote is still true, no matter how unpopular the big two are, regardless of performances on television debates, there was still no gain in backing the outsider as it could never win. If a dead horse comes back to life that doesn’t mean it will win the Derby. In the end, come Election Day the public stuck with what they knew.

Yet the result was a government that effectively mirrored the public state of mind. The Tories are in charge but they have to change. There is no longer a place in government for the likes of Widdecombe or Tebbit voting against civil marriages, decrying female priests and suggesting the unemployed should “get on their bike and look for work.” The current crop of Conservatives needs to step out of the shadows of those prominent figures. The public attitude is a more liberal one and old ideologies will not do. The right need to understand that they did not win the election and the Coalition Government is presenting them with the unique opportunity to reinvent itself whilst still in power.

Ideology or pragmatism?

Tuition Fees Demonstration (courtesy of Flickr)

The toughest task for a government is to deliver on its election promises. An election manifesto is usually pretty true to the principals of the party in order to appeal to those who are politically aligned. There will be some watering down so as not to isolate themselves from everyone else, but essentially it will reflect the policies the prospective government would want to implement. The problem is that when you are in government you are expected to fulfil the promises your election campaign was founded on, when you fail to do so you are seen to be failing. This has been made abundantly clear in the recent Lib Deb tuition fees fall out. But is that fair? And is that right?

I am a sceptic but I do believe that when one enters politics, whilst there are numerous other benefits, one does so to make a difference and is, at least at first, ideologically motivated. Ideology is at the core of a politician, without it they stand for nothing. How much it takes to force a politician to admit that they are wrong has been seen again and again by a Labour government that refused to use the word “sorry” or admit wrongdoing as though to accept it would be to condemn them to death. So when so many of the Liberal Democrats make a u-turn as significant as the one they have made recently, are they to be castigated or commended?

We know why free tuition is unworkable, we understand that higher education needs increased funding in a time of budget cuts; we generally accept that budget cuts need to be made, yet as soon as it happens these practical realities seem to be cast aside in the name of ideology. “HOW COULD YOU GO BACK ON YOUR WORD!” roar the student protestors whose political interest was revitalised by a third option not yet tarred by the brush of political scepticism. Whilst the Tories and Labour parties are perennially mistrusted and demonised, the Liberals were seen as white knights coming to clean up parliament with good faith and honesty. There was a definite sense of fresh optimism during the election as the Liberals were seen as having a chance. Polls saw them as making giant leaps, Nick Clegg was the undisputed king of the television debates. And then, by hook or by crook, they were involved in a coalition government and they were in a position to make a difference.

However, suddenly problems arose. The party that rode on the crest of a wave of student votes had to appease their vital supply of support. The key issue for the lifeblood of Liberal politics would of course be tuition fees which for so many students appears to have been the sole cause for voting. Apparently, aside from that one policy, the entirety of the Liberal Democrat manifesto could have been thrown out and it would still have satisfied the tens of thousands who have marched and protested.

Free tuition is not viable. I’m not saying that because of the current economic climate, I’m saying that because of the bloated nature of higher education in this country. Whilst Labour was commendable in pushing more and more people into university, it has resulted in a great deal of unsustainable institutions wholly dependent on government funding. Wiping out tuition fees would put even greater stress on a government that is already slashing its budgets across all departments. So why are people upset that this unworkable and frankly ridiculous pledge is not coming to fruition? Because they said they would. The idea appears to be that the Liberal Democrats should ignore context and practical issues and push for free education simply because they pledged to do so. It’s almost as though Clegg and Vince Cable wanted to screw over their supporters. It must be the hardest decision in the world to sacrifice your party credibility in order to serve the government and the country, yet the protestors reject this. It seems to have been taken as a personal attack rather than a sign of competent governing.

So were the Liberal Democrats wrong to promise something they could never have delivered? Of course they were, but is it not better that they have admitted their mistake and progressed in another direction, rather than refusing to give up on its policies and desperately flog a severely dead horse. Labour wouldn’t have admitted they were wrong they would have delayed the implementation of the policy until the next election. When they were elected, they campaigned on welfare and making society fairer. It was thrown more and more money and grew and grew until it was a massive inefficient black hole of public spending. Yet rather than admitting it was bloated and failing, they threw more money at it. Wars were started on false pretences and apologies or admissions of guilt were hardly forthcoming.

Is it not refreshing that the likes of Nick Clegg and Vince Cable are showing that unlike their predecessors, they can admit when they were wrong and are practical enough to look at another solution? Those who feel deeply wronged are acting as a child who was promised a new bike but only got an apple. “Sorry son, but Daddy isn’t that well off at the moment”. Unfortunately in this country it appears that to admit guilt is worse than to blindly deny it and as a result the Liberal Democrat party would do very well to recover from the tuition fees debacle.