Did Nick Clegg endorse school vouchers or didn't he? Well, the evidence that he did is rather strong. Not only Rachel Sylvester in the Telegraph on 29 October but also self-confessed Clegg fan Jasper Gerard, writing up an “exclusive interview” in the Observer on 21 October, state that he did.
Gerard writes, quoting Clegg: "'I want a sense of empowerment on a daily basis for people accessing health care and good education.' Well that's clear. But he differs from free marketeer Tories in that 'having lived in Europe and had children born in hospitals in Europe, they have a far greater sense of equity in health and education. It is not like a supermarket but the patient, pupil or parent has entitlements which the provider of services has to meet.' So according to his 'pupil premium', parents would be given a voucher to spend in their preferred school; but while a flaw in such schemes is often that the savvy middle class pack the best schools, Clegg would increase the value of the voucher for the needy - making the poorer child a more attractive proposition to good schools.”"
So there we have it. Unless Jasper Gerard and Rachel Sylvester were both wrong. which seems improbable, Nick Clegg expressed approval of school vouchers for parents. But the Lib Dem "pupil premium" concept is extra money that goes to schools for each pupil they take from a deprived background.
It seems pretty clear that Nick Clegg (1) did endorse school vouchers for parents and (2) either did not understand or did not like the "pupil premium" idea which is not Clegg's idea but that of the Federal Policy Committee's policy working party chaired by Baroness Barker. And a brilliant idea it was.
I find all this rather discouraging.