Link to this page: https://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/645/10560
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.
Donate to the Socialist Party
Coronavirus crisis - Finance appeal
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.
- The Socialist Party's material is more vital than ever, so we can continue to report from workers who are fighting for better health and safety measures, against layoffs, for adequate staffing levels, etc.
- Our 'fighting coronavirus workers' charter', outlines a programme to combat the virus and protect workers' living conditions.
- When the health crisis subsides, we must be ready for the stormy events ahead and the need to arm workers' movements with a socialist programme - one which puts the health and needs of humanity before the profits of a few.
Inevitably, during the crisis we have not been able to sell the Socialist and raise funds in the ways we normally would.
We therefore urgently appeal to all our viewers to donate to our special coronavirus appeal.
In The Socialist 3 November 2010:
Con-Dems' cuts can be stopped
Anti-cuts movement continues to grow
Model motion for a national demonstration in 2010
Pickets injured: Solidarity with London firefighters
Solidarity with London firefighters
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?
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
The Socialist 3 November 2010 |
Join the Socialist