Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/516/3647
Legal - illegal
VOSPER THORNEYCROFT, one of the world's biggest warship manufacturers, is set to be given the contract to run education services in Waltham Forest, east London. Guns and young people can be a bad mix. The media is full of it. Teach kids not to get involved with handguns - it is dangerous and illegal.
However, when New Labour councillors hand out contracts to their big business friends, it is perfectly legal to let a gunship company, whose military sales constitute 80% of its total sales, run education services for our young people. New Labour is bereft of any socialist consciousness when it comes to privatising public services. Now they are bereft of any basic morality in allowing an arms company, even with its makeover name the VT Group, into our children's lives.
Life after Twizzlers
THE YEAR 2007 was surprisingly good for top catering multinational Compass/Scolarest, which has PFI contracts with 2,500 educational institutions in Britain and the armed forces. With military operations in Iraq being reduced and schools and colleges pulling out of PFI contracts after celebrity chef Jamie Oliver publicly exposed Scolarest's unhealthy food, company investors were concerned about profits.
They needn't have worried! With £442 million reported profits last year, Scolarest is benefiting from the government's willingness to let any private-sector vulture feed off education, despite criticism for serving "turkey twizzlers and rock-hard pizza".
The government's new student website urges students to budget strictly. The government expects them to spend only £5 on food a day but as Scolarest's average college meal costs £4 this is impossible!
Lambeth College students organised a successful boycott of the Scolarest-run canteen in 2006 and forced a price reduction. We need this on a national basis!
THOUSANDS OF students face increased tuition fees of more than £7,000 a year after funding cuts. The government is cutting £100 million a year from second degrees and lower level, shorter courses so students will foot the bill for funding these courses.
Government minister Bill Rammell says: "Funding people for a first degree has to be a higher priority than supporting those studying for a second degree". This government is supposedly "championing" life long learning! Rammell claims money saved from these cuts will go into funding undergraduate courses. They are clearly running an education system on the cheap by robbing Peter to pay Paul.
Socialist Students is organising a Campaign to Defeat Fees day of action on 21 February with protests in universities, colleges and schools across the country.
Join the action, fight fees and protest. Contact Socialist Students on firstname.lastname@example.org / 020 8988 7947 for ideas, material, and model letters for support from student unions and speakers for meetings.
In The Socialist 17 January 2008:
Environment and socialism
Socialist Party news
Socialist Party campaigning
International socialist news and analysis
Socialist Party review
Socialist Party workplace news