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Pampered politicians plan education massacre... STOP THEM!
Claire Laker-Mansfield, Socialist Students national organiser
"Education is a right not a privilege" chanted students during the mass protests against fees at the end of 2010.
We were fighting for our right to an education. But this government is made up of people who've known nothing but privilege.
67% of the cabinet started their education in expensive, exclusive private schools in Britain, compared to 7% of the population.
For Cameron, Clegg, Osborne and the rest, worries about being able to afford to do A-levels or take on £50,000 worth of university debt, would never have crossed their minds.
In fact the future would have looked bright for the young David Cameron. He finished Eton, which had already produced 18 British Prime Ministers, with a place at Oxford University.
And then university was absolutely free and grants were provided to students to help with the cost of living, not that Cameron and Co required it.
As well as lectures and small seminars, Cameron would have enjoyed one-on-one tutorials, personal supervision for his projects and individual support throughout his degree.
In his leisure time, he and his friends in the exclusive Octagon dining club sampled such delicacies as turtle and sherry soup.
Young people march for a future: Youth Fight for Jobs and Socialist Students on the 29 January London demonstration against education cuts, photo Senan (Click to enlarge)
The education working and middle class students can access today is a far cry from that of the ministers who now preside over brutal attacks on it.
Students who made it to university this year are in some ways the lucky ones. With the cap on student places, many thousands found that they were turned away.
And, as of next year, as if the £20,000 we're currently paying wasn't enough, sky-high fees will mean a three year degree lands the average student in more than £50,000 debt.
You might be forgiven for thinking paying through the nose for education would guarantee high quality.
But with cuts and privatisation on the government's agenda, that would be a mistake. For us, it's overcrowded lectures, overworked lecturers and a mountain of debt.
To top it all off, finishing a degree means becoming one of 83 who are applying for every graduate vacancy!
But education should not be a luxury. If £800 billion can be found to bail out super rich bankers (who get to keep their fat cat bonuses) they should be able to find money for our future! We didn't cause the economic crisis, so why should we be expected to pay for it?
Last year the student movement shook this coalition of millionaires. But that was only the beginning of the fightback that we need.
In the past mass movements of young people and workers have reversed attacks and won enormous improvements in the lives of ordinary people.
This year we need to be prepared to struggle and to win. A united movement of students and workers can save education and give us a decent future.
As a first step, join the demonstration in London on 5 November to mark the end of the Jarrow march.
In The Socialist 14 September 2011:
Socialist Party features
Socialist Party youth and students
Stop attacks on pensions
Socialist Party workplace news
International socialist news and analysis
Socialist Party news and analysis
Socialist Party review
Socialist Party reports and campaigns