i Editor's Letter: If I was Maria Miller


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If I was Maria Miller – bear with me –  I would have swallowed my pride at the weekend, when I realised how I had  stoked public anger against the political classes, and gone on television to  apologise properly to taxpayers for the mistake. Accepted that my judgement had been clouded, and that I had  failed to show the contrition the public deserved. Offered to pay capital gains tax on the £1.4m sale of the home in question, at least for the four years it  was included on expenses. Spoken self-admonishingly of the need for public servants to show humility and to not undermine the considerable good work undertaken by MPs in Parliament, their constituencies and their ministries.

Tick, tick.


I’m in Liverpool today, where my father was born, to chair the 2014 presidential debate for the National Union of Students. Kick-off is 10pm so  I hope for a lively crowd – and a feisty discussion, given the spectrum of political views. The four candidates are: the secretary of Ukip’s youth wing,  the NUS black students’ officer, the Veep at the University of London Union, and the incumbent NUS president. (Respectively: Jack Duffin, Aaron Kiely, Daniel Lemberg Cooper and Toni Pearce.)

One need not agree with everything  on their manifestos to find them instructive reading about the challenges facing a generation: vocational  skills, low pay, unemployment, fees, women role models, privatised student loans, affordable housing, the decline of direct action, and fears of climate change.

Sounds depressing? This quartet all speak optimistically of students’ potential to help improve Britain, not least through volunteering in the communities where they live. A cheering vision that travels beyond halls of residence. We’ll report on the winner later in the week.


Twitter.com: @olyduff