It is now nine short weeks until the Scottish Parliament elections, the result of which may well take us up to 2016, and we are somehow no closer to solving the mounting problem of how Scottish students should finance their studies.
Seemingly fearful of the power that Doc Marten-clad, Ipod-swinging, Twitter-pounding, Countdown-watching young â€˜uns can wield, the parties at Holyrood have remained largely silent on the matter, hedging their bets with scattershot proposed solutions that may or may not solve the financial problem. There has been no grasping of the thistle as yet though.
It is a relatively simple quandary that Scotland faces too. Westminster is spending less south of the border and specifically spending less on universities so Scotland, with a diminished block grant, can choose to match those cuts to further education or cut elsewhere to safeguard student funding. We do not currently know what the Scottish Government intends to do, whichever party(ies) make it up next term.
It is worth asking the question â€“ when will this logjam break? In time before the next election? Iain Gray has not moved a policy muscle recently and it is unlikely that Scottish Labour will campaign on higher Council tax and higher fees. The SNP will presumably play a zero sum game where as long as they stay just ahead of Labour in terms of policy, vision and strategy then they are not going to do anything too radical either but may well have to bite the bullet after May, Clegg-style. The other parties, already at risk of losing out from a two-horse race for Holyrood power, are hardly likely to make themselves less popular by aggressively pushing the case for significantly higher fees in Scotland.
So on we dance in our merry little waltz.
Itâ€™s not that I donâ€™t understand the predicament that our politicians are in. It is the public I blame most of all for wanting to have their cake and eat it. Most parties believe in the fundamental concept of a free university education, the Greens, the SNP, the Lib Dems and, most of the time as far as I am aware, Labour.
However, our constitutional setup does not allow enough flexibility in the tax system to raise the necessary cash. Will Calman change that? Probably not. Will we have a referendum on full fiscal autonomy or independence? Again, probably not. What are â€˜the peopleâ€™ going to do about it? Probably nothing.
We have four years of inertia ahead of us before the first real opportunity to lift the weight of the coalition Governmentâ€™s decisions from our constricted chests, starting with student funding. Four years that look set to be plagued with political half-measures and more Parliament squabbling.
Again, I donâ€™t really blame the politicians. If weâ€™re going to vote for the party that is offering us the least pain despite the financial reality that Scotland faces, then we are effectively asking to be lied to.