Solidarity 423, 10 November 2016

Fight the HE Bill!


Ruairidh Anderson

The National Campaign Against Fees and Cuts, a free education activist network, writes that the HE reforms “are forcing marketisation on the university sector”, which will lead to universities “raising tuition fees, and allowing private providers further access to education provision.”

In brief “(the reforms) constitute a wide-ranging assault on the principles of free, liberated, critical education.” The main mechanism through which this will be achieved is through a Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF).

New education union

A National Education Union (NEU) is likely to be formed by a merger of the National Union of Teachers (NUT) and Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL). This merger is a step forwards for school workers organising.

Industrial news in brief

On 8 November, the Dockworkers’ Union started industrial action, including a ban on overtime, at the Gothenburg terminal which handles 60% of Sweden’s container trade. It has also called for a blockade on traffic redirected from Gothenburg.

Momentum members call for democratic structures


Gerry Bates

After the 5 November meeting of Momentum’s National Committee was cancelled by Momentum’s Steering Committee (SC), a number of delegates and members decided to meet informally on the same day.

The discussion at this meeting in Birmingham was focussed on proposals to improve Momentum democracy and functioning. Eighteen NC members attended, along with a number of observers. Three members of Momentum Youth and Students also attended, after being mandated to do so by their Steering Committee.

Cutting the NHS to the bone


Gemma Short, Charlie Bell and Romesh Amaradeva

The NHS Bill 16/17 (formerly the NHS reinstatement bill) was due to have its second reading in Parliament on Friday 4 November.

NHS campaigners gathered outside Parliament to support the bill. The bill did not get discussed on that date and the second reading has now been rescheduled to 24 February 2017. The bill was presented to Parliament on 13 July by Labour MPs Rachel Maskell and Margaret Greenwood. The bill would restore the NHS as an accountable public service by reversing 25 years of privatisation and marketisation.

Stumbling to the left


Martin Thomas

I was broken from the instinctive middle-class Toryism handed down from my parents by reading Marx — Capital, and two paperback books of selections — when I was 14.

Democracy is more than clicks online


Gerry Bates

There’s an argument about decision-making procedures going on in the Labour left group Momentum. What is it about?

Whether decisions, on policy or on who gets on committees, should be taken by votes in meetings, following discussion — or online.

What does Solidarity prefer?

Votes in meetings, following discussion.

What’s the advantage of that?

Residents plan Heathrow campaign


Simon Nelson

Four Tory Councils are set to take legal action against the expansion of Heathrow Airport. Hillingdon, Richmond, Wandsworth and Windsor and Maidenhead will be joined by Greenpeace in seeking a judicial review of the decision to go ahead with a third runway.

Court action is likely to delay any final decision actually being implemented. For the residents of the area and those who will be most directly affected the words of David Cameron, “No ifs, No buts. No third runway” now ring very hollow.

A vicious circle in schools


Gerry Bates

Between half-term of summer 2016 and Xmas 2016, over half the maths teachers in the London secondary school where I teach will have quit.

The maths department is more stable than most. Our science department, for example, went through almost a Year Zero in 2015, with almost a complete turnover of staff. And our school is probably more stable than most in low-income areas of London.

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