Thursday, November 11, 2010

New Cross students and staff in the front line

Yesterday's inspiring education demonstration in London included hundreds of students and staff from Goldsmiths in New Cross. I noticed that a Goldsmiths anti-cuts banner was one of those flying from the occupied roof at Millbank, and East London Lines reports that five Goldmsiths students were among those arrested.

Last night, the following statement was issued to members of Goldsmiths UCU (the union for college teaching staf):

'We the undersigned wish to congratulate staff and students on the magnificent anti-cuts demonstration this afternoon. At least 50,000 people took to the streets to oppose the coalition government’s devastating proposals for education.

We also wish to condemn and distance ourselves from the divisive and, in our view, counterproductive statements issued by the UCU and NUS leadership concerning the occupation of the Conservative Party HQ.

The real violence in this situation relates not to a smashed window but to the destructive impact of the cuts and privatisation that will follow if tuition fees are increased and if massive reductions in HE funding are implemented.

Today’s events demonstrate the deep hostility in the UK towards the cuts proposed in the Comprehensive Spending Review. We hope that this marks the beginning of a sustained defence of public services and welfare provision as well as higher education.

John Wadsworth, President GUCU; Des Freedman, Secretary GUCU'.

GUCU have apparently been criticised by Downing Street as 'irresponsible' for this statement, according to today's Evening Standard.


Anonymous said...

Can't believe you've got no comments, TSP.
Speaking as alumni, I say you can take the Goldsmiths student out of New Cross, but you can't take New Cross out of the Goldsmiths student. Well done GUCU.

Jos Haynes said...

As a taxpayer, I hope Goldsmiths will be subject to the biggest cuts of all! Louts and hooligans should not benefit from any public support of education - so-called staff and students alike. They should be made to pay for the wanton damage they caused. They have demonstrated that substantial cuts are indeed necessary in the tertiary education sector.

Transpontine said...

I am always suspicious of statements that start with 'As a taxpayer...' as if that gives the person some unique insight or moral authority. Everyone is a taxpayer. I pay taxes. Goldsmiths staff pay taxes. Goldsmiths students making your cappuccino or pouring your pint are paying taxes on their jobs. Even the unemployed are paying VAT (and indeed as this is a regressive tax, they are paying a higher proportion of their income on indirect taxes than most of the population).

There is no evidence that Goldsmiths staff and students have caused 'wanton damage'. Entering a building, walking up the stairs and hanging a banner is not a criminal offence.

Finally Jos, I am not sure whether you are local or just a random troll, but if you think cuts to Goldsmiths are going to have anything other than a very negative impact on the whole local area you are clearly living in cloud cuckoo land rather than South East London.

Anonymous said...

They should have gone to SpecSavers, Des and John are totally short sighted.

The concerns of the 50,000 have been overshadowed by the idiocy of a few. Much as the concerns of GUCU members have been disregarded by these 2 idiots.

Their actions are divisive, counter productive, and self-serving.

A worker and a socialist.

Anonymous said...


sad tory inadequate troll and not local (couldnt even win the General election could you)

when in eastern europe students smashed up party offices of the communist party they all cheered

now the tories are targets because their cabinet of millionaires have waged war on working people

and they will pay

As the the resistance (FTP) said in Paris in 1941

"A Chacun son Boche"

or in London in 2010

"A Chacun son Tory"

Georgia Harrison said...

"SpecSavers"! Geddit?? Ah well, at least the comments here aren't as bad as Brockley blog.

Jos Haynes said...

To Transpontine - you are right, we are all taxpayers in one way or another, so my terminology was far too loose. I suppose I was so incensed by what I heard on radio and saw on TV that I was inexact. Let me put it this way, as some one who pays a substantial amount of my income in tax, via VAT and income tax, and has done for over 40 years, I am not happy about taxes supporting the type of behaviour lauded by Goldsmith staff and students. And yes, they should pay for the damage, but of course they won't.

I am not anti-student. I was one myself for 7 years, and have just helped one of my children through medical school (though she also worked in what spare time she had and financed herself to a considerable extent). What I saw and heard suggested to me that much of the student population is simply not worthy of an education - or one financed by the taxpayer. And a proportion of the staff is also hardly worthy of the name of academics. Pseudo-academics, 3rd and 4th raters -unemployable outside a state-financed 3rd rate institution (though it pains me to say that because one of my most admired teachers was from Goldsmiths, many moons ago).

I am one of those who has witnessed the decline and decline of our universities, and don't want it to continue. More quality, less quantity. Some cuts should go some way towards this goal, thought what the sector really needs is a root and branch review of what is actually being achieved and at what cost (not just the cost of financing education but also the cost of fitting square pegs into round holes for the rest of their lives).

In your terminology, I am just "a troll", in that I am not local. But you are confused if you think that the point of tertiary education is to boost a local economy. It is actually to realise the student's potential, to his or her benefit, and hopefully with wider benefits to the nation & even the world - one does not have to stay in the SE London or even the UK after graduating! Methinks it is you who is in cloud cuckoo land.

As for Anonymous - well, I love people who are too scared to put their names to their opinions. He/she sounds the typical stupid individual who would benefit from getting out to work - university education is not going to enlighten his/her ignorance. And he/she could not even guess my politics correctly! Sad, sad case, but all too typical.

Apologies for the late response – my daughter has only just pointed out the responses to me.