The all-you-can-eat reasons buffet is open at the Telegraph. Charles Moore says that tuition fees are unfair on students in general:
The poll tax went wrong because it came in, for many, at punitively high rates, with more losers than gainers. You got the bill long before you got the benefit of better-run councils. Tuition fees may incur the same problem. The loss is certain, the gain uncertain. From the autumn of 2012, the fees will almost triple to Â£9,000 per year, a sum that less than 10 per cent of the population (and virtually no students) could pay out of post-tax income. So most students will incur debts amounting to more than Â£30,000.
While also being unfair to those students who happen to have wealthy parents:
If you are a citizen of Bahrain or Brunei or Brazil, you can get your child into a pretty decent British university without his or her grades getting more than a cursory glance, because you will be paying the full fees, for which that university is desperate. That option is not open to British students â€“ an anomaly which Mr Willetts was trying to address with his “gaffe” this week.
In conclusion, a one-two combo of special pleading and mincing:
The Conservative part of the Coalition has made a point of not sucking up to those who Mrs Thatcher used to call “our people”. That may be acceptable as part of the “we’re all in this together” theme of recession. But once “our people” start to feel positively persecuted, they will take their electoral revenge. You cannot build the Big Society â€“ let alone a Tory election victory â€“ by disrespecting the leading 15 per cent of its citizens.
A third of whom can’t afford the Â£9,000 p.a. tuition fees out of their post-tax income. You also have to ask: what’s the mechanism of this ‘electoral revenge’, exactly? Voting Lib Dem? Voting for UKIP? Labour? Is he still the editor?