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From The Socialist newspaper, 21 March 2012

Youth demand future at Dundee sham summit

Matt Dobson

Youth Fight for Jobs (YFJ) disrupted Con-Dem Scotland minister Michael Moore's national youth unemployment summit on 15 March, with a large protest at Dundee College's Gardyne campus. Local trade unionists, anti-cuts campaigners and the Scottish Unemployed Workers Network, were involved

Clearly the Con-Dems wanted to bury record youth unemployment figures with a public relations circus in an area of high unemployment. Politicians from all the main parties gleefully accepted invitations, as did big business lobbyists.

A handful of unemployed youth were allowed to enter as long as they didn't utter a word of opposition. College students had their classes and campus disrupted. Guest speaker, Tory cabinet minister Iain Duncan Smith, was kept far away from protesters.

Dundee College student and YFJ activist Wayne Scott was interviewed by local and national radio and quoted in the press, explaining the reality behind the summit.

In 2010-11, Dundee College was decimated by the cutting of 20 courses and the closure of two campuses. College managers used police to block student protesters from getting back into college for classes. The car park was closed to students and staff for the whole day.

As the protest got larger and louder, politicians and big business dignitaries rushed past. We met a chief executive from a multinational energy company - she wouldn't say which one - who, in her words, wasn't interested in youth unemployment but saw the summit as a good opportunity to lobby UK and Scottish government ministers.

Local MSP Jenny Marra tried to talk YFJ activists into joining Labour, but had no answers about her party not committing to reversing public sector cuts.

Scottish government cuts

The Scottish National Party (SNP) government's cuts amount to removing 55 million from college budgets. Health and social care students, who could see course places slashed, brought a banner they had just made after persuading their tutor to let them join the protest.

The SNP's new youth employment minister Angela Constance invited three protesters, including Wayne Scott, into the summit. Wayne reported that Constance's reply to protesters' concerns was that "it would be impossible to not follow the cuts agenda passed down by Westminster".

For over a year, anti-cuts and unemployed activists in Dundee have publicly challenged Iain Duncan Smith to come and debate his ideas on the welfare state and unemployment. He had, until now, refused to come near Dundee, but the summit provided a safe photo opportunity.

Iain Duncan Smith visited one of two job centres in Dundee city centre - he is planning to close the other one! IDS and his aides sprinted past YFJ protesters into the building, helped by police and private G4S security guards, and later sneaked away through a back exit.

But the Tories won't escape us that easily! On 24 March, we will be demonstrating with trade unions at the Tory conference in Troon. Contact Wayne Scott on 07712607224, Matt Dobson on 07927342060 or email youthfightscotland@gmail.com

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In The Socialist 21 March 2012:


Fighting the cuts

Tell the Con-Dem government: NO CUTS!

Prepare for future struggle - build the trade union left

Build a strategy to win on pensions

Stop the NHS sell-off - National demo now!

Stroud: Labour lets NHS down again


Socialist Party features

Capitalism isn't working: Time to fight for socialist change

Fight or privatise: A tale of two councils


Socialist Party news and analysis

Budget: far from 'all in it together'

Student walkout: Socialist Students show what could have been

No to workfare - fight for a genuine alternative

Defend the right to protest!

Youth demand future at Dundee sham summit

Them & Us


Socialist Party workplace news

MMP packaging: workers still locked out

Swindon hospital workers fight bullying

Construction workers demand better pay and conditions

Workplace news in brief


International socialist news and analysis

The 'Kony 2012' phenomena

Sri Lanka's Killing Fields: War Crimes Unpunished


Reviews and readers' comments

Smear campaign on Hillsborough?

Single and video: ill Manors by Plan B


 

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