Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/488/2432
School campaigners shake Wokingham
THE FIGHTBACK against cuts and privatisation is gathering pace in Berkshire. On 3 May an Independent (Save Ryeish Green School) candidate - Andrew Grimes - polled an excellent vote of 706 in a local seat in Wokingham borough, in the middle of which is a secondary school which the council is trying to close.
Sara Gillman, Wokingham
This candidate, while not winning outright, gave a scare to the Tory candidate (who received 1,009 votes). He also sent a clear message to the council that the Parents' Action Group, supported by Socialist Party members, has much of the community on its side in wishing the school to stay open. We had several meetings to discuss tactics and leafleted to counter negative publicity about the school.
This brilliant result won by a completely new contender was in spite of propaganda pumped out by Wokingham council that the school is not worth keeping open, and that children who currently attend there can go to schools an hour's journey away. This clearly shows that ordinary people will not be bullied into accepting worse educational conditions for their children.
The council became more paranoid a couple of days before polling saying posters outside the school saying "Save Ryeish Green school" had to be taken down as there was a polling station there, although these were clearly not 'party political'.
In the same week another protest, by a primary school down the road, was televised. They have been campaigning for ten years for the council to provide a crossing on a very busy main road.
Of course the school was told a protest would make little difference but the council are fast finding out that a placid non-active approach to the safety and well-being of our children will not be tolerated.
The protests, lobbies and campaigns will continue unabated with the support of Socialist Party members in the community until a satisfactory conclusion can be found with our children's services given proper resources.
In The Socialist 24 May 2007:
Labour Party leadership
Socialist Party NHS campaign
Socialist Party news and analysis
Marxist analysis: history
Environment and socialism