Readers of Next Left will be familiar with my argument that the Liberal Democrats are wrong to want to abolish the Child Trust Fund.
But have the Lib Dems had second thoughts?
Back in 2005 the Lib Dem general election platform was summed up in a list of '10 reasons to vote Liberal Democrat'. One item on the list was their proposal to scrap the Child Trust Fund and use the resulting £1.5 billion to cut class sizes.
On a recent visit to the Lib Dem website - changed in colour tone from the traditional fiery orange to a greenish-blue - I find it is replete with the usual thoughtful policy documents. There are lots of one page summaries of party policy on education, the economy, families, etc, and a 21-page summary of party policy as a whole.
But where is the proposal to abolish the Child Trust Fund?
So far as I can see, none of the policy documents makes any mention of it.
Somewhat confused, I ring Lib Dem HQ. I speak to someone who tells me that all policy proposals are in the documents on the website. I point out that this policy isn't. They give me the number of someone who will know. They are out of the office. I leave a message. They haven't rung back.
So has the party dropped the proposal?
I don't think so. Nick Clegg mentioned it in his conference speech in 2009. And Vince Cable mentioned it in a speech to Demos in January of this year. A Lib Dem friend I contacted by email tells me that the policy must still hold because otherwise the party's fiscal arithmetic won't add up.
Clearly, however, the policy is no longer regarded as deserving quite the public airing it had in 2005.
Meanwhile, one more policy from the class of 2005 remains firmly in place - and far more in the public view than the proposal to scrap the CTF. This is the policy to scrap tuition fees.
The policy remains despite the efforts by Nick Clegg at the 2009 autmun conference to shift the party away from it. An excellent analysis by Julian Astle of the Lib Dem thinktank CentreForum makes two highly pertinent points: since participation in higher education is heavily skewed towards young people from higher socioeconomic groups, abolition of tuition fees will disproportionately benefit people from higher income groups - two thirds of the benefit will go to the richest 40%; and, second, there is no evidence that tuition fees have deterred young people from lower socioeconomic groups from going to university.
So the progressive case for abolition of tuition fees is non-existent.
But the party rebelled and a phased abolition of tuition fees remains central to the Lib Dem policy agenda.
Not that anyone has provided an answer to Astle's tightly argued critique of the party's policy. The sad fact is that many in the Liberal Democrats now treat the abolition of tuition fees in exactly the same way that some in Labour used to treat nationalization: as an article of faith, a totem of progressive intent that is beyond rational scrutiny.
Now the Lib Dems often justify their proposal to scrap the CTF by arguing that the resources could be used to fund something better. But since they are also proposing to lavish scarce public funds on an abolition of tuition fees, one is surely entitled to ask: Would it be fairer to keep the CTF rather than use scarce public funds to scrap tuition fees?
The CTF provides a small sum that goes to every child, providing the seed of a capital endowment for all young people at 18.
So the question is: Is it fairer to use scarce public funds to provide generous subsidies which will only be enjoyed by a minority of young people who come disproportionately from advantaged backgrounds, or to provide the seed of a capital endowment for every young person?
Is it fairer to use scarce public funds to provide a launch into adulthood for just some, relatively privileged young people, or for all?
I think the answer to the question is obvious.
No wonder the Lib Dems now seem reluctant to trumpet their policy of scrapping the Child Trust Fund.