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10 January 2018

Bigot Toby Young quits - now scrap the new uni regulator driving privatisation

Theo Sharieff, national chair, Socialist Students

Bigoted Tory journalist Toby Young has resigned from the board of the government's new universities regulator, the Office for Students (OfS).

This follows public pressure in the form of widespread condemnation by students, education workers and trade unions for the litany of outright sexist, homophobic and anti-working class remarks he has publicly made in the past.

As if that weren't enough, Young has repeatedly come out against the culture of "inclusivity" in the state education system. He once even described working class students as "stains." Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson and former frontbench Tory MP Priti Patel were quick to defend him.

But the body the government appointed him to remains unchanged. In fact, Young, an outspoken supporter of the Tories' education counter-reforms, was well-suited to the position. The OfS is part of the Tory government's rabid drive to marketise education.

Young is a pioneer of the 'free school' movement, part of the drive to force schools from the democratic control of local councils into the arms of unaccountable businesses and entrepreneurs.

The ruling board of the OfS is stuffed with business executives - including the chief executive of multinational law firm DLA Piper, and the managing director of tax-dodging chemist Boots. It is chaired by a former policy adviser to Tony Blair, Sir Michael Barber.

Not a single position on the 15-strong board has been left vacant for a trade union representative or a representative from the National Union of Students.

Universities minister Jo Johnson, Boris's brother, says that HEFCE, the main predecessor of the OfS in England, existed to "ensure the sector was suitably funded." The OfS, on the other hand, will be "driving value for money."

How? The Department for Education says the OfS will "encourage innovative providers to enter the market and meet demand."

The real objective of the OfS amounts to nothing more than forcing the barefaced privatisation of our universities. It's the same transformation which for years Young has striven for in secondary education.

Socialist Students welcomes Toby Young's resignation. But we demand the whole OfS be axed. We fight for a truly democratic and accountable system of free, fully funded education, run by and in the interests of students, staff and the trade unions.




http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/articles/26668