Those who support the coalition argue that perhaps the greatest thing about it from a Lib Dem point of view it makes the party relevant, shows that we can be a party of government, and that voting Lib Dem puts Lib Dem policies on the statute book.
These points are all well and good if you then use your power responsibly. However, there is a real danger that by voting and supporting tuition fee increases, the party may destroy this credibility in one fell swoop.
The party cannot argue "A vote for us is a vote for our policies" , when in truth, when we get in to government we actually legislate to introduce policies we pledged to oppose.
If I lived in a Lib Dem held seat, I'd find it very difficult to vote for any Lib Dem, even if they were my MP, if they voted to break a pledge made before the election. Many Lib Dems will not forgive the party for the line it is taking, the voters too will rightly question what out party stands for. The only people that can save the party from the abyss is the 30 or so back bench Lib Dems who can keep their promise and vote against Vince Cable's suicidal plan.
We can all argue that "the country is in a financial mess left by Labour", and this is the excuse constantly given by Lib Dems in the government. But when it comes to student fees, we knew the score, and an assumption must have been made back before May this year that this policy was a line in the sand, an issue the party would defend at all costs.
Quite how the party got to the position that a large number of our MPs are supporting raised tuition fees is ridiculous. But what is absolutely incredible is that those negotiating with the Tories allowed a Lib Dem, in the person of Vince Cable, to be the minister introducing this policy.
Only a bunch of fools could possibly have arranged for the Lib Dems to get a cabinet position we wanted to abolish (Scottish Secretary), the Minister for Nuclear Power (Chris Huhne), Ministry for Cuts (Chief Secretary) and Minister for Tuition Fees (Vince).
All hail our negotiating team. Next election, if we have any MPs left, we'll get the Teletubbies to negotiate on the party's behalf !