IT IS ironic that the the police are the ones taking the brunt of the reaction to the ConDem government’s decision to turn its back on higher education. Ironic because they themselves are shortly to suffer from massive cutbacks.
It’s disheartening to see a beautiful capital city like London turned into a battleground and it must only be by luck rather than judgement that somebody has not yet been killed.
What the vast majority of protesters are campaigning on, however, is a great cause.
They are against the scrapping of the education maintenance allowance.
They oppose the decision to allow tuition fees to be increased to up to £9,000 in order to allow the government to make massive cutbacks to university teaching budgets.
They oppose the betrayal of political parties.
Labour opposed tuition fees and then introduced them. The Liberal Democrats won many seats at the last general election simply as a result of the votes of students because of the pledges they signed, but sacrificed in hours in negotiations to get into power, in return for a pledge of a referendum on a slightly proportional voting system which will be lost.
Above all, there is a massive principle at stake. Surely, the government, through our tax system, should be the major contributor of funding higher education in order to ensure our success as a country in the future, as we will all benefit.
Instead, they want to put the burden on the individual who is studying, to be paid back at a time when they might be looking for loans for a home or to support a family and find these massive debts from which they cannot escape if they are successful.
Whatever else may be cut, education must be spared, because the future of this broken country is in the hands of its young people, who deserve high-class education and the opportunity to learn the skills which will see us through the gradual collapse of capitalism and challenges over climate and scarce resources.
Locally, we have an education minister and a policing minister in Arun and yet they are conspicous by their silence on these issues in the local press.
I hope that here, students will find a way to to make them accountable.