Higher Education Policy

  • Judi Atkins
Part of the Rhetoric, Politics and Society book series (RPS)


Higher education funding was difficult for the Liberal Democrats, due to their pre-election pledge to oppose any increase in tuition fees. In seeking to justify their change of position, the Party used interpersonal identification to foster understanding and win back trust. While this reflected their consensual approach to politics, it perhaps was perceived as ingratiating by the public. The parliamentary debate on the reforms was dominated by ideological appeals to different conceptions of fairness, which were virtually absent from Vince Cable and David Willetts’s speeches to the university sector. Instead, both relied on instrumental identification, invoking the interests of students, the universities and the nation. This strategy proved effective in the main, though the sector’s predefined interests occasionally took precedence over other considerations.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Judi Atkins
    • 1
  1. 1.Coventry UniversityCoventryUK

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