Blair forced back on top-up fees

Submitted by AWL on 7 December, 2002 - 1:23

By Amina Saddiq

Several things happened on 4 December. Twenty thousand students marched through London on the biggest NUS demonstration for years.
Speakers from ongoing industrial disputes and the left wing of the labour movement addressed the marchers as they gathered in Kennington Park. And Tony Blair did a U-turn on top-up fees. Shurely shome coincidence?

Undoubtedly pressure from the cabinet played some role in Blair's promise that the forthcoming review of student funding will not mean "parentsÂ… having to pay upfront thousands of fees". But we must also conclude that 20,000 people on the streets of the capital, shouting for "free education" and cheering themselves hoarse in support of the FBU did have some effect?

Although the Government have yet to retreat entirely on the issue of students paying for their education, Blair's backdown at this point, has a real elementof victory. It shows that militancy gets results.

Student Campaign Forum can be contacted at 57 Helix Road, London SW9 2JR.

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