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« Tory membership down to "over 250,000" | Main | Editorial: Portillo argues that Cameron's success should be measured by the blood he spills »


Wat Tyler

Yes...but ICM also shows we'd still lose to Gordo under DC.

Of course, it also shows the gap would be bigger under DD. But we still lose either way.

There's unfortunately no easy alternative to the hard grind of constructing that policy platform and pushing it through. And for me, DD is still much more likely to actually manage that. It's going to be tough and we need a proven battler.

Tom Ainsworth

Our universities are hopelessly underfunded, there is a brain drain to the States and elsewhere where academics can command two or three times the salaries. Top-up fees are a much fairer way to fund higher education than either the status quo, where you have to pay up-front, or raising the money through general taxation, where poor people whose children are least likely to go to university get the middle classes' bill. I thought Davis wanted every policy to be based on what it does to help the poorest/most vulnerable!

Jack Stone

I don`t care how you want to dress the opinion polls or whatever spin you put on them the only thing that is certain is that the best and only chance the party as of winning the next election is if we the members now elect David Cameron to be our new leader.

James Maskell

Im (strangely) on DDs side here...I dont support top-up fees. I support the idea of students paying their way but the amount of money being demanded of students is extortionate. 3,000 a year is far too high. Labour is demanding this money of students because it hasnt been able to fund Higher Education properly, much like Further Education. Labours Higher Education policy is to come up with an elite of Research Universities which takes the lion's share of the research moneys and leaving the other research universities to struggle on.

Selsdon Man

Our universities are the most unproductive organisations. Most of their assets are in use for about half the year. Summer teaching and mergers could improve productivity massively to fund lower fees.

Students should consider for a couple of years before going to university. They can build up funds to pay fees and will be more mature and intellectually developed.

The current is simplistic and we need more creative thinking on the future of higher education.

Adrian Owens

Selsdon Man makes a very valid point regarding the resource efficiency in higher education.

Our local higher education college has made a land grab for adjoining green belt. When the detals were scrutinised in the local plan inquiry the space utilisation of the existing buildings was pathetically low.

Daniel Vince-Archer

As a fairly recent graduate, and a current university employee, my views on this are somewhat conflicting, but to my surprise, I find that on balance, I am actually closer to the Cameron position on this than the Davis position.

I'm certainly no fan of the tuition fees system as it stands, which places too big a burden on students as they're studying and local education authorities who cough up the funds for many students, and I care very little for the incoming top-up fees system, mainly because of the variable fees concept but for various other reasons too.

I don't, however, believe that the general taxpayer should foot the bill for higher education, except perhaps for degrees that are directly related to vital public services - I'm thinking of of health and education here, and it would only apply to those who work in the public sector, as opposed to those making a small fortune through the scandalous fees that are charged in the private sector.

I would prefer for universities to be funded by a form of 'university contribution' (or graduate tax, if you prefer) deducted from the monthly salary of graduates earning over a certain amount, proportionate to earnings, paid directly to the relevant university.

Not that I'm one to bite the hand that feeds me, but this would need to be accompanied by a thorough review of how much value-for-money universities offer and reforms to ensure that universities are accountable and do offer value-for-money.

The first things that would need to be looked at are the infamous 50% target, the number/type of courses on offer and the number of universities there are. At the moment, it seems there are too many students, studying too many joke courses, at too many Mickey Mouse universities. Any policy on university funding needs to be formed with this in mind.

Bishop Hill

i find it very depressing to hear DC espousing synthetic phonics. We don't need politicians telling professionals how to do their jobs - that's the Labour party approach. Conservativsm should be about fundamentally changing the system so that it functions without any political interference at all.

Education vouchers, education vouchers, education vouchers.


I am certain that a lot of degree courses have no direct relevance to any career. It is very hard to measure the value of something, unless those who choose to do it have to make some sort of financial commitment to it. I must therefore conclude that students themselves need to make a contribution, but perhaps the size of the contribution could vary depending on the course chosen. Greater subsidies could be given for those courses which lead to direct benefits for the nation, such as medical work, science courses, engineering, etc.

The 50% target must be scrapped, and more training should be undertaken related to employment, for which companies should contribute. We need to study the ways in which higher education is funded abroad and find new ideas from that.

John Coulson

Higher Education is a privelage, not a right. The individual who enrols on a degree course instead of seeking a job does so to better his/her own opportunities. I find the belief that the state should carry on funding individuals in this almost wholly selfish cause rather worrying. Schooling up to 18 is most certainly a right, but to complain about making students take on a small portion of the costs of their education is redolent of the state inching ever towards a planned society.
David Davis is trying to portray himself as an alternative to Cameron - by outlining some bold policies that really show that the Tory party is thinking rather than opposing I have no doubt he will start to re-ignite his campaign.
Let us redefine ourselves as the party of not just freedom but responsibilty.

Tim Roll-Pickering

"Cllr Iain Lindley" is the title of Iain's blog. He has every right to use that here, especially given the way Google searches work.

Actually it's pretty sad to try and give opinions gravitas or credence by adding as pathetic a prefix as Cllr...

James Maskell

Whats wrong with using that prefix? Its a title which he is allowed to use. All the people who post here are in essense equal, that is except for Editor.


Actually it's pretty sad to try.......

I can't see a name to identify who is making this comment - maybe its my software but if not that's sad - people can call themselves what they like but its nice if there's some identification, anyway can we not respect each other enough not to exchange personal petty insults (attack policies/politics as much as you want).

Cllr Iain Lindley

Erm, given that I've not even posted on this thread, why am I suddenly being discussed?


I still disagree with Labour's plans re Tuition Fees and we were right to oppose them.

If DC becomes leader we should still oppose them as the argument will be easily made that of course DC could have managed because of his privileged background.

If (big if) DC is determined to have shared funding he must be more imaginative, possibly a graduate tax on high earners. Let those who HAVE benefited contribute NOT those who are ABOUT to benefit.

Cllr Iain Lindley

I've always been unconvinced about tuition fees and (particularly) the 50% target. Even those who support fees in principle must be appalled at the botched way in which they have been introduced.

Daniel Vince-Archer

"If (big if) DC is determined to have shared funding he must be more imaginative, possibly a graduate tax on high earners. Let those who HAVE benefited contribute NOT those who are ABOUT to benefit."

Yes I agree a graduate tax (or 'income-related university contribution', which is my NewLabouresque label of choice) would be a good idea. It would be even better if it was retrospectively applied to high earners who have not been required to make any contributions to their university education to date.

James Hellyer

"It would be even better if it was retrospectively applied to high earners who have not been required to make any contributions to their university education to date."

It is entirely wrong to apply laws retrosectively. Unsurprsingly it's a hallmark of New Labour.


One problem is that there are a lot of courses, which cost tax payers money, which will probably not lead to those students earning high wages. Therefore they will not repay the cost of the course. There is no objective way to evaluate these courses, but unless there is some mechanism to weed out the weak, useless and the pointless, these courses will continue to be a drain on the taxpayer. What is needed is to introduce some rigour into the system with a regulator to decide the amount of subsidy that a course can attract. I have no objection to someone studying "Nail Art", but I do object to him being subsidised by my taxes.

Daniel Vince-Archer

"It is entirely wrong to apply laws retrosectively."

Many people would see it as only fair that rich politicians who promote the idea of today's students contributing towards the costs of their university education also cough up (retrospectively) for the cost of their own education.

"Unsurprsingly it's a hallmark of New Labour."

Gosh I feel soiled! It certainly wasn't my intention to openly advocate something that is a hallmark of New Labour.

Jack Stone

Winning elections is not possible just by having the right policies you have to be able to inspire people and give them hope.
If David Davis is unable to inspire and give hope to his own side how on earth is he going to inspire those voters we need to win who have voted for other parties or no party at all at the last three elections.

Iain Lindley - becoming a Councillor is not hard. To actually use the fact you have become one as a way of identification shows just how lacklustre your life must, at present, be. Can I suggest you remove the prefix and take a long hard look at how unsuccessful you were in attempting to be pretentious!

Selsdon Man

That is a nasty, cheap and unnecessary remark. You do not have the guts to give your name and email address.

Not really unnecessary. This chap seems a fool. For goodness sake do your local councillors come up to you and introduce themselves as Cllr XXX? Mine do not. They introduce themselves by their chrisitan names. If they didn't I would have a far lower opinion of them. Councillors are usually retired or people who like interfering. Everyone knows they are powerless. For goodness sake it usually only take a few hundred votes (party name derived) to get in. So Councillor Iain John Lindley Esq. BA(Hons), 3 A Levels, 9 GCSE's - grow up!

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