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Martin Paul Eve

Professor of Literature, Technology and Publishing at Birkbeck, University of London

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Just a quick post to point out that, aligning with my teaching last week, Cable's recent announcement that the Lib Dems have not broken any promises on university tuition fees has multiple resonances with George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four.

Firstly, it is an erasure of history. The Lib Dems explicitly pledged to voters that they would oppose the rise of tuition fees. They are now claiming that this never happened. That was not a promise.

Secondly, it requires doublethink to accept Cable's logic that their binding agreement is with the coalition, rather than to the pledge. Were it not for the votes that they originally amassed on the basis of a specific promise, it would have been impossible for them to enter into a coalition agreement. On the other hand, Cable posits that the necessity of entering into a coalition means that they are bound to serve that coalition, rather than the electorate who entrusted them with representation within that organisation. To accept the reality that Cable posits (you voted for us, so we are now bound to an agreement with the coalition) necessitates holding these two contradictory ideas in mind simultaneously, constantly repressing the facets that one knows to be incompatible.

On a final note, it also strikes me that Cable telling a bunch of students and lecturers that they do not understand the issues at play is a bit rich. Students and lecturers. Widely known for being ignorant and incapable of understanding complex arguments.

But hey, Winston realised at last, he loved Vince Cable.