Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/643/10448

From The Socialist newspaper, 20 October 2010

Browne Review: threat of a two-tier education system

Mass action needed to defeat fees and cuts

Over 100 students and workers at Warwick university came to an emergency protest on the steps of the university piazza, photo Warwick Socialist Students

Over 100 students and workers at Warwick university came to an emergency protest on the steps of the university piazza, photo Warwick Socialist Students   (Click to enlarge)

Lord Browne has recommended that universities be free to charge unlimited tuition fees from 2012. This is a door slammed firmly in the face of those looking to education.

But events in France show that young people will fight back in the face of major attacks. Socialist Students will be at the fore of building a movement against rocketing tuition fees and fighting for free, decent education for all.

While the government makes cuts to services for young and working class people with one hand, they are giving tax breaks to big business and the super rich with the other.

The report recommends transferring the cost of education from society to the individual; limitless fees and a slashing of teaching grants by 80%. The result will be that the quality of a student's education will be entirely dependent on their parents' wealth.

Two-tier system

For the 7% who have the money to be privately educated this means Oxford and Cambridge. For the vast majority, if they think they can afford university at all, the education on offer will be of a fundamentally different nature to that available at present.

This is going to provoke huge opposition. Hundreds of students have already been out on the streets at short notice, the thunder to the lightning that will soon strike Westminster.

This proposal is not taking us back to the exclusivity of the 1950s and 60s; it is going back to the 19th century. Working (and many middle) class people will be excluded from higher education. In a poll of Conservative voters, only 29% were in favour of higher fees. There is the potential for a massive revolt against this move.

The National Union of Students (NUS) argues for a graduate tax, whereby the average student would pay more than they do at present. This argument was sold to students on the basis that it was 'realistic' and would get 'listened' to in the halls of power.

But the NUS leadership has been ignored by Browne and Co and has simultaneously cut itself off from mobilising students around clear and concise slogans.

Portsmouth Socialist Students protest against cuts, photo Portsmouth Socialist Students

Portsmouth Socialist Students protest against cuts, photo Portsmouth Socialist Students

The Browne Review is a far greater attack than any of the leaks suggested. This may have been a deliberate ploy in order to give Cable and others room to 'negotiate' a compromise, quell a rebellion and still give university management what they wanted.

But in doing so they have banked on any reaction against the proposals being small and limited to the 'official' demands of the NUS. Once students move into action, with correct slogans and strategies socialists and genuine activists could quickly become leading figures in the battle.

Browne's recommendation is an extremely divisive issue amongst the junior coalition partners the Liberal Democrats. Charles Kennedy and Ming Campbell have both pledged to keep their election promise to oppose increases, as have many backbench Lib Dem MPs.

But the current parliamentary arithmetic means that all Lib Dem backbenchers and some cabinet members would have to vote against the recommendations (rather than abstain) to stop fees being introduced, assuming all Labour MPs oppose it. This is unlikely to happen.

However, it won't be polite lobbying but mass protest that will stop the government in its tracks.

To stop these attacks would be a huge blow to this weak coalition, perhaps a fatal one, and would give confidence to young people and workers.

The mass of students' initial reaction will be to fight, to oppose huge increases in university fees and cuts in teaching budgets. To mobilise a movement of this scale, with a conviction and determination that it can win, means starting from the point of view of opposing the attacks.

Free education

Within emerging campaigns against fees and cuts a new generation of students will be convinced of the case for free education as something that benefits all of society.

This will be especially the case as these campaigns win victories and students become emboldened. However, there is the anger and the potential to inflict a serious defeat on the government, and to halt the dismantling of state education.

Socialist Students has argued against fees since they were first proposed and has already started campaigning for a mass response to the latest attacks. On 20 October we organised a day of action, calling for protests around the country against fees and education cuts.

This will be built on by campaigning for the biggest turnout possible on the NUS/UCU demonstration on 10 November. This has to be seen as the first step of a mass campaign. Anti-cuts campaigns should be initiated in every university, college and school around the country. With militant tactics this could be the start of a movement that can defeat the government.

Why not click here to join the Socialist Party, or click here to donate to the Socialist Party.


In The Socialist 20 October 2010:


Anti-cuts campaign

Fight all cuts in jobs and services

Build coordinated action to stop cuts

Workers under attack


Socialist Party news and analysis

NHS: Not safe in Con-Dem hands

Coventry jobs slaughter - unions must fight back

Government slams door shut on social housing

Osborne mugs poor to pay for rich

Cambridge Uni to go private?


Socialist Students

Mass action needed to defeat fees and cuts

Warwick university - students condemn escalation of fees

Leeds university - protest following Browne review


Socialist Party workplace news

Huge demo against passport office closure in Newport

RMT executive election: Support Lewis Peacock

Fighting the anti-union laws

Police try to stifle Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition protest

Strike forces concessions at Tyneside Safety Glass

Workplace news in brief


International socialist news and analysis

Protest, strike, fightback! French workers and youth challenge cuts

World economy heading for 'double-dip' recession


Socialism 2010

Socialism 2010: ideas to fight the cuts


Socialist Party reviews

Days of Hope by Jim Allen, reviewed by Leigh Cartwright

Enter Shikari - Common Dreads (album 2009)


Sport

Liverpool FC: "They don't care about fans!"


 

Home   |   The Socialist 20 October 2010   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate  




Related links:

Students:

triangleSocialist Students 'welcome' Hillary Clinton to Swansea

triangleStriking back against sackers' charter at Leeds Uni

triangleSchools "can't go any further" - stop the cuts: set deficit budgets now

triangleCardiff Socialist Students confront 'Parasite' Jacob Rees-Mogg

triangleLeeds Socialist Students marks 'International Safe Abortion Day'

Cuts:

triangleNorth London hospital workers fight cuts and job losses

triangleNo cuts - hands off King George A&E!

triangleYoung people being strangled by debts

triangleTories scrap the NHS pay cap: now fight for real-terms pay rises!

Education:

triangleNasty party imploding...drive out the Tories

triangleUniversity of Leeds workers walk out

triangleFreshers week campaigning reports

Tuition Fees:

triangleThe Tories must be driven out

triangleFight for free education

Socialist Students:

triangleSupporting the general strike in Catalonia

Reports and campaigns

Reports and campaigns

19/10/17

North West

Arriva North West bus drivers strike over pay

18/10/17

Democratic rights

Conference on state spies: who's watching who?

18/10/17

Leeds

Striking back against sackers' charter at Leeds Uni

18/10/17

PCS

PCS ballots members on the pay cap

18/10/17

Royal Mail

Royal Mail bosses block strike - back postal workers

18/10/17

Art

'Dazzling' Bad Art show points to socialist future

18/10/17

Council

Sheffield Labour council threatens peaceful protesters with prison

18/10/17

South West Wales

Hundreds turn out for rally aimed at removing west Wales Tory MP

18/10/17

NHS

Uprising to save the NHS!

18/10/17

Socialism

Can you donate to the Socialism 2017 appeal?

18/10/17

East London

No cuts - hands off King George A&E!

18/10/17

North London

North London hospital workers fight cuts and job losses

18/10/17

BAE

Nationalise to save jobs at BAE Systems

18/10/17

Schools

Schools "can't go any further" - stop the cuts: set deficit budgets now

18/10/17

Swansea

Socialist Students 'welcome' Hillary Clinton to Swansea

triangleMore Reports and campaigns articles...


Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party

triangle19 Oct Arriva North West bus drivers strike over pay

triangle18 Oct Russia, October 1917: When workers took power

triangle18 Oct Tories torn - bin them now

triangle13 Oct The end of the Tories?

triangle11 Oct Nasty party imploding...drive out the Tories

triangle11 Oct CWU fights court attempt to stop national strike

triangle11 Oct The fight against racial discrimination is tied to fighting against...

More ...

triangle19 Oct Waltham Forest Young Socialists: Deaths in police custody

triangle19 Oct Swansea Socialist Party: Spanish revolution 1936-37

triangle19 Oct Cardiff East Socialist Party: Is equality for women possible under capitalism?

triangle19 Oct Wirral Socialist Party: The October 1917 Russian Revolution

More ...

Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube

Archive

Archives:

October 2017

September 2017

August 2017

July 2017

June 2017

May 2017

April 2017

March 2017

February 2017

January 2017

2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

2011

2010

2009

2008

2007

2006

2005

2004

2003

2002

2001

2000

1999

Legal

SP RSS feed RSS

Platform setting: = No platform choice

V2