Then Neil Kinnock said that, despite thirty years of opposition to the idea of student loans, 'I have now come to realise that loans must be part of the debate.' There was Kinnock, preparing for another U-turn; he does a U-turn on everything.
Then Ann Taylor said that grants to all students couldn't be sustained. Clare Short remarked that student loans were not very good, and Diana Jeuda said, 'Just leave it.' Kinnock said we must face the facts.
I said, 'I do think our purpose in publishing this is to restate our commitment to education, to attract the right support. Some people seem to be suffering from ministerialitis, even though they've never been Ministers.'
This one was absolutely as a body blow to Kinnock and he looked most miserable. Anyway, I said I agreed with John Smith and we ought to be cautious about it.
Smith said we should shorten and clarify this passage, and Prescott said, 'Neil Kinnock says we can't raise tax, but why not? What's wrong with that? If it's necessary to do it, we'll do it.' Kinnock looked as sick as a dog."
Tony Benn, Free at Last: Diaries 1991-2001, p.194-5