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From The Socialist newspaper, 3 November 2010

Students challenge Willetts

A delegation of students and trade unionists representing Youth Fight for Jobs (YFJ) recently lobbied Tory minister for universities David Willetts at his Havant constituency office to challenge him over the findings of the Browne Review, student debt and his government's plans for savage education cuts.

Accompanied by a journalist from the Portsmouth News, the delegation (comprised of members of Unite, RMT and Portsmouth and Southampton student unions) picketed Willetts' office, and had an hour long meeting with the minister, who infamously declared students to be 'a burden on the taxpayer'.

Clare Blackwell, a medical student from Southampton University, challenged Willetts over his assertion that higher levels of debt won't restrain working class college students from going to university.

Clare also rejected Willetts' claim that cuts in education would be sparing. She pointed out that at Southampton, technicians and support staff had already been made redundant and that in many overfilled lecture theatres students have to sit on the floor.

When asked if he accepted that under a free market system some universities would 'go to the wall' Willetts agreed, saying: "you could have private companies taking over universities."

Aside from publicly challenging Willetts and gaining valuable press coverage the event also succeeded in building links with teachers and union reps at Havant College, ensuring that YFJ continues to play a key role in uniting students and workers across the region.

Nick Chaffey

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The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.

The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.

The government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.

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In The Socialist 3 November 2010:


Anti-cuts campaign

Con-Dems' cuts can be stopped

Anti-cuts movement continues to grow

Model motion for a national demonstration in 2010


Firefighters' strike

Pickets injured: Solidarity with London firefighters

Solidarity with London firefighters


Anti-racism

We need jobs, homes and services - not racism

Defend the right to asylum


Socialist Party editorial

Con-Dem shock therapy - midwife to a double dip?


Socialism 2010

Socialism 2010

Fund the fight for socialism


Socialist Party news and analysis

Housing: Rent caps, not benefit caps

India - no voice for Kashmiri struggle

Graduate unemployment: We will not be a lost generation!

News in brief

Cable is a coward!

Don't destroy our sickness benefits


Socialist Party youth and students

100 students march against cuts and fees in Leeds

Students challenge Willetts

Birmingham youth protest


Socialist Party workplace news

Nottingham school staff force council retreat over pay cuts

Tube workers take more action for safety

BBC strike over pensions

UCU: No education cuts, no fees!

National Shop Stewards Network: Anti-cuts conference


International socialist news and analysis

USA elections: What the Tea Party really represents


 

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