Monday, November 15

English Idioms: Pie Crust Promises

A pie crust promise is an empty promise made without conviction, which is easily made and just as easily broken.

Politician Nick Clegg has been getting a lot of criticism in the British press, after breaking the promise he made before the last UK election to oppose any increase in tuition fees for students.

Mr Clegg, Britain's Deputy Prime Minister, has gone on record as saying that he now regrets signing a pre-election pledge to oppose a rise in student tuition fees, stating that he "should have been more careful" about signing it.

Task 1

Watch the video clips below and listen to what Nick Clegg had to say about tuition fees before the election, and then scroll down the page to answer some questions.

Task 2


Discuss these questions with another student or friend, and compare your answers.

What do you think Nick Clegg meant when he said that he "should have been more careful" about signing the pledge to oppose an increase in tuition fees?

Why do you think that politicians sometimes break promises they make before elections?

Do you think it's reasonable to expect politicians to keep their promises after they are elected? Should we really be surprised if politicians don't keep their promises?

Do you think that a government that breaks its promises can be trusted, or not?

Should politicians be made to keep their promises? And if so, how?

What are your views on tuition fees for students? Do you think students should have to pay for tuition, or should education be free for everybody?

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Image credit: David Spender