Thousands march against fees – the fightback has started

My article on the 10.11.10 National Student Demo over at Student Broad Left:

Yesterday, tens of thousands of angry students and lecturers marched on the streets of London in opposition to the coalition government’s plans to make England’s university education system one of the most expensive in the world.

As angry protesters marched past Parliament, inside the House of Commons Labour’s Harriet Harman was busy humiliating Deputy PM Nick Clegg as he stood in for David Cameron at Prime Minister’s Questions.

Harman’s opening question set the tone: “In April this year the Deputy Prime Minister said that it was his aim to end university tuition fees. Can he update the House on how his plans are progressing?” A further nine questions on the government’s plans to hike tuition fees and the Lib Dems u-turn on student debt were fired at Clegg as the sounds of students chanting “no ifs, no buts, no education cuts” resounded through the corridors of Parliament.

Student anger on the demonstration was particularly targeted against the Lib Dem MPs – with chants like “Nick Clegg, shame on you – shame on you for turning blue” amongst the most popular.

A vital next step in our campaigning to stop a trebling of fees to £9,000 per year must be turning the heat up on Lib Dem MPs – all of whom signed a pre-election NUS pledge to vote against any increase in fees.

We need local protests in every single Lib Dem constituency.

Another massive demonstration should also be called by NUS and the UCU on a Saturday in the run-up to the vote in the Commons.

Winning this struggle to defeat higher fees and education cuts requires a broad, united, mass movement which links up with the hundreds of thousands of people becoming concerned with the ConDem cuts. Yesterday’s demonstration was a fantastic start. Let’s build on the momentum.