Friday, December 10, 2010


Very well done, Brigg and Goole MP Andrew Percy, over comments made in Parliament against his own Government's intention to raise student tuition fees - despite being a newly-elected Conservative and rookie member of the House of Commons.
He spoke in what he judged to be the best interests of his constituents and did not just go along with the party line, as many of our elected representatives do these days (and have for decades, come to that).
Andrew has experience as a fully-trained teacher and school governor and so has a very keen interest in, and knowledge of, education. He's also been a student.
In a mission statement posted on the internet long before yesterday's debate, he made it clear he considers "the most important role of an MP is to represent their constituents and to work hard to resolve local problems."
Many make similar statements, only to side with their party when pressure is really applied behind the scenes.
Andrew said in the House of Commons yesterday: "I can only think about the impact these fees would have had on myself and my family when I was growing up. Would my parents have encouraged me to attend university had they thought I was going to come away with debts of about £40,000 or £50,000? I don't think so."
However, the Coalition Government won the day on the issue - by a small majority - and higher fees will come in from 2012.
Brigg Blog thought highly of Ian Cawsey (Labour) as a hard-working constituency MP for Brigg and Goole. Prior to being defeated in the last General Election, he had an office at 7 Market Place, Brigg, often attended events in the town and corresponded at length with the Town Council on issues of concern. He kept people fully informed of what he was doing, how he thought and what he intended to do.
Andrew Percy has a hard act to follow!

NF adds: Brigg Blog is pleased to be politically independent (and neutral) and feels strongly that party politics, of whatever colour, are often best left out of the equation, especially at local government level. Elected MPs and councillors should be able to look at each issue on its merits and decide whether it's in the best interests of those they represent, not just go down the line their particular party high-ups have already ruled is the best one to take.
Thankfully, in 30-plus years covering Brigg Town Council I've never found party politics playing a part. But I've been to meetings of similar authorities in North Lincolnshire where, even at the lowest level of local government, party politics and point-scoring over the opposition have existed.
Brigg-based Glanford Borough Council (1974-1996) was dominated by Independents and Conservatives (with some councillors swapping between the two groups from time to time). They dominated the scene to such an extent that although there were a few Labour, SDP, Liberal and Green Party representatives, for many years these were very much in the minority.
However, as every councillor sat on every committee (eg housing, policy, health, planning, environment) they voted how they thought best on the vast majority of issues. So you frequently observed a councillor get to his/her feet, demonstrate the strength of feeling in the community on an issue, or display some deep local knowledge, and persuade other members of the 41-strong gathering to vote against the recommended action being suggested by a department of the council.
During the same period, Scunthorpe Borough Council, whose meetings I also attended from time to time, was heavily dominated by Labour. Party politics also played a part one step further up the ladder, where Humberside County Council oversaw major local services on both banks of the Humber.


Ken Harrison said...

Whatever one's political leaning, it's good to see Andrew Percy was a man of principle when it came to the vote on student fees.

On a exended perspective, I am concerned that activists are infiltrating the students' demos.

Is it coincidence, for example, that the so-called 'students' who are seen causing damage and rioting are dressed in black? Some were equipped with riot shields and body armour.

In addition, re Charlie's car damage - what sort of demonstrator would take a can of paint, on the off-chance, to Oxford Circus - some distance away from the main demo?

In my opinion, the anarchy is pre-planned, organised and probably has some sort of political motivation. The rioters are being used as cannon-fodder by an extreme faction.
?Their objectives -
1. Undermine the police,
2. Undermine the Government,
3. To promote anarchy in other parts of the country,
4. To promote a skewed political agenda,
5. To attract further 'cannon-fodder' to the group.
6. To create general societal unrest with other issues,
7. At a later stage, to pretend to have the solutions to 'manufactured' societal problems.
8. etc...

Any demo in London now appears to attract an anarchist group, (in my opinion, essentially the same group) which infiltrates the main protest group.

In a democratic society,this is the enemy within.

Sova said...

I agree, I hadn't taken much notice of our MP until I read of his vote yesterday evening. Almost regardless of which party they belong to, having an independent-minded MP is good.

As for the student fees increase and concomitant protests, my opinion is with the vast majority of students who are peacefully yet determinedly asking that education is available and accessible. We used to regard university education the same as other kinds: society pays upfront, you pay it back in taxes. I'm not really sure why that system was abolished in the first place.

Ken Harrison said...

I think it was the Dearing Report in the late 90's that inroduced tuition fees and promoted the Student Loan Company.
Initially, sudents had to contribute £1k to tuition fees and borrow survival cash from the SLC.
About 5 years ago, the tuition fees when up to £3000.

I not saying it's wrong, but there is some unfairness in the system.

Compare, for example, a trained teacher - 4 years uni - ealiest age 22 years - salary circa £23k.
Retires 60 plus

Police constable - earliest age 18 - paid basic and probationary training - salary at 22 - above £23k + overtime pay + works car. Retires 50.

The teacher's paying back tuition fees.

How many potential sudents will divert thier ambitions towards financially hassle-free careers?


I think many folk will agree with Sova; Andrew will be given a great deal of credit by lots of voters. What the Tory Party thinks is, of course, an entirely different matter.