Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/450/5385
Schools victory scored in Bury
BURY'S SCHOOL Organisation Committee (SOC) has voted down the council's decision to close Broad Oak High School by 3:1. This partial reprieve referred the issue to the Schools Adjudicator. Later they voted down a proposal to close Prestwich Arts College by 3:0. A clean sheet for the school's side means the proposal falls - the school stays open!
Paul Gerrard, Bury SOS campaign, personal capacity. SOS candidate Unsworth Ward
Parents and pupils in the packed public gallery greeted the news with rapturous applause. And next morning the council withdrew the closure notice for Broad Oak too!
This stunning double victory is a blow to Bury's Labour council and a vindication of months of campaigning. Council chief executive Mark Sanders asked local papers to stop publishing so many of our letters in the week before the SOC!
But the Advertiser, which printed 27 letters against closure to eight in favour (mostly Labour councillors and party members), exposed the censorship attempt.
Health minister Ivan Lewis, MP for Bury South, is closely identified with the schools closures programme and is now severely embarrassed. Parents want good, local comprehensives in every community and will have no truck with closures, cuts or the marketisation of education.
The campaign was successful partly because it was so united. But we also won because we never let the pressure on the council drop.
Campaigners have learned so much. We can rely on none of the existing parties in our campaign to resist closures.
Labour has lost any right to claim the loyalty of its traditional supporters. We need a new party based on the trade unions and committed to a platform of no cuts and no privatisation!
A CAMPAIGN for a New Workers Party (CNWP) meeting was held recently with some activists from Bury's "Save Our Schools" Campaign (SOS), which was built from the ground up by teachers, parents and students (see article left).
CNWP National Secretary Roger Bannister raised the campaign's basic ideas and why we feel it is a necessary step, considering the Labour Party's descent into a party of big business, war and privatisation. The SOS activists present were particularly impressed by Roger's emphasis on the Campaign's loose, federal structure.
The Labour Party may feel that it still has strong support in Manchester but the growth of campaigns like Bury SOS show that this support is dying away. Working-class people are looking for an alternative - an alternative we in the CNWP aim to help provide.
Steve North, CNWP officer North West Greater Manchester
In The Socialist 27 July 2006:
Invasion of Lebanon
Socialist Party NHS campaign
Socialist Party youth and students
Socialist Party campaigns