Sunday, 4 December 2011

Westbourne anti-cuts candidate opposes attacks on youth and encourages students to vote

Pip Tindall, the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition’s (TUSC) candidate in the Wesbourne by-election has slated the decision to call a snap election in the week before Christmas. Pip pointed out that the ‘blatantly undemocratic timing seems designed to disenfranchise students’, 13% of the city’s population, and the highest concentration in the UK. Pip declared that ‘this shows the political establishment are running scared in the face of student opposition to cuts and fees’.

TUSC has pledged that this will not stop education being a key issue in the by-election, called less than a month after students joined lecturers, teachers and support staff across the city on pickets and demonstrations on November 30th. Amongst those backing Pip’s candidacy in a personal capacity are Dave Hill, a University and College Union activist and TUSC candidate in Brighton Kemptown at the general election, Phil Clarke, the Secretary of Lewes, Wealden and Eastbourne branch of the National Union of Teachers, and many student and trade union activists from the city’s schools, colleges and Universities.

Labour are now shamelessly attacking the Greens in Westbourne for taking a principled stance against the break-up of state education, rather than allowing the Co-op owned 'Primary Academy' Labour are pushing for. This shows Labour's total abandonment of the principle of publicly owned and run comprehensive education. New state schools are needed across the UK, but we must fight for these to be publicly owned and democratically run, to give all children a fair start in life and teachers and support staff the decent pay and conditions they deserve for doing such vital jobs. Why are the Labour Party pushing these deeply damaging Academies when every teaching union in the UK officially opposes them?

Jack Poole, an anti-cuts activist at Brighton University said:

"I urge all students who can’t stay in Brighton and vote to register for a postal vote before December 7th. The Tories and Liberals want to avoid making education an issue in this election.

Labour are no better - the Browne report which recommended £9,000 fees was appointed by the last Labour government, who privatised schools through PFI and ‘Academies’.

The Green administration in Brighton has passively accepted swingeing cuts to central government’s direct funding for schools and is proposing cuts to children's services of £2.78 million over the next year.

The Welsh Assembly and Tower Hamlets Council have both found the money to preserve the Educational Maintenance Allowance (EMA). Why is the Green Party which claims ‘protect the most vulnerable’ not consulting us on that, as well as cuts?"

Students wanting to register for a postal vote should contact Electoral Services, 2nd Floor Brighton Town Hall, Email: , Phone: (01273) 291999 to request a form which must be returned by 5.00 pm 7th December.