Nick Clegg’s dishonest defence of his fees U-turn

George Eaton on Nick Clegg’s dishonest defence of his fees U-turn:

Clegg’s suggestion that “things were even worse than we thought” is dishonest. In the period between the election and the coalition taking power, the state of the public finances improved, rather than worsened. Just ten days after Clegg became Deputy Prime Minister, the deficit was revised downwards from £163.4bn to £156bn, having previously stood at £178bn.

And then the clincher:

As the sixth-largest economy in the world, Britain can easily afford to fund free higher education through general taxation. In public expenditure terms, the UK currently spends just 0.7 per cent of its GDP on higher education, a lower level than France (1.2 per cent), Germany (0.9 per cent), Canada (1.5 per cent), Poland (0.9 per cent) and Sweden (1.4 per cent). Even the United States, where students make a considerable private contribution, spends 1 per cent of its GDP on higher education – 0.3 per cent more than the UK does.

Election 2010: Will it be the Sun or Twitter wot won it? – The Guardian

    Roy Greenslade:

    "Some of Clegg's most fervent supporters can be found on Twitter. From midway through the first TV leaders' debate, and with increasing intensity thereafter, he has dominated election tweets. As the press started to turn on Clegg, tweeters even dared to use irony, so often a counterproductive tactic, to show their support for him. The running joke, on #Nickcleggsfault, in which he was blamed for a series of supposed sins, has been hugely popular. Example: "Nick Clegg lived in the same town as a seriously ill man and never visited him, though he knows he has a spare kidney."

    Just as importantly, tweeters used the social networking site to lampoon the Daily Mail, Daily Telegraph and Sun. Hundreds of tweets on Friday pointed to a website that features scores of imaginary anti-Clegg Mail headlines: Will Clegg cheat the middle class? Has Clegg given hard-working families cancer? Is Nick Clegg destroying Britain's farmers?"

    External link

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First prime ministerial debate as Wordle clouds

The BBC has published the transcript of the first prime ministerial debates which were broadcast on ITV yesterday.

With a bit of hacking around the text I’ve put together a few Wordle clouds to visualise what the individual contributors said. Entirely unscientific and just for a bit of fun…

Alastair Stewart (ITV host)

Nick Clegg (Liberal Democrats)

Gordon Brown (Labour)

David Cameron (Conservatives)

Audience Members

All speakers overall