Dear Nick Clegg
There’s no easy way to say this, but I cannot accept your apology. And I won’t be the only ex-Lib Dem voter to say that.
Here’s the thing, you can claim that the promise was a “mistake”, that you realised afterwards your promised actions weren’t feasible (a debatable statement but that’s a discussion for another time), but that doesn’t make me any more likely to vote for you. In this country, the British people do not have a day-to-day say in how the country is run. We might be asked to vote on some things like new voting systems, the euro and the like, but almost always only when the government is confident we’ll vote how they already want, and if we don’t the voting results are simply ignored.
This means that, for the most part, we are utterly dependent on the government in power to represent us. Politicians state their values, their goals and their intentions, and we vote for them based on how closely those stated values etc match up with our own. In theory, the population should end up with a government that approximately reflects it. In order for this to work, however, politicians have to be honest about their values, goals and intentions. If I know that the person or party I vote for can just turn around after receiving my vote and renege on the things they said, why on earth would I bother voting? My vote is meaningless if I cannot predict how it will be used.
The tuition fees are not the only promise you abandoned after coming into power. They aren’t even the main reason I’ve vowed not to vote for you in the future. I won’t vote for your party because I no longer trust your party. I voted for you because you were the only left-leaning party that seemed like they had a chance of achieving significant votes in the last elections. I was so excited when you came into the coalition - it felt like a relief to know there would be an explicitly left-leaning party in cabinet to balance the frankly frightening Tory agenda.
Instead, I can barely tell there even is a coalition going on. I’m constantly seeing policies and plans being made by our current government that leave me feeling sick for the state of my country. The truth is you and your party scrapped every single important promise, every value, every stated plan that you made to the public in return for a vote on voting reform, only to have that backfire on you. If you are fighting to control Tory excesses, this either means the true Tory agenda is even more Dickensian than I thought or you’re doing a terrible job of it.
Even if I could accept your apology at face value, it’s too late. This apology should have come much, much sooner. Too little, too late, and I don’t even feel I can trust the sincerity of your words. After all, you seemed so very sincere before the election.
You made your bed, now lie in it. You’re good at lying.