An estimated 130,000 students and young people took action yesterday across the country against the rise in tuition fees. In protests that united school children, university graduates, parents, and workers, the Day of Action was an incredible success and, with occupations continuing in universities as locally as Plymouth, there is more still to come.
MPs are set to vote on the tuition fee proposals in as little as a few weeks, so it is vital that the next month sees action on a huge scale to counter the education cuts. It appears concessions may already be being made, with Lib Dems expected to have a free vote on the issue. If they use that vote to support the Tories then they stand no chance of re-election; and if they reject tuition fees, it could, hopefully, spark the beginning of the end for the coalition. But it is of course too early to speculate.
We cannot be complacent. Yesterday saw demonstrations in Truro, Falmouth, Plymouth, Exeter and across the South West – traditionally the land of Liberal Democrat and Tory voters. This is encouraging, and it is why we are already organising several demonstrations across Cornwall over the next few weeks.
30th November – 2nd Day of Action
Next Tuesday will mark another day of student action, and Cornwall students will play a part in this. We are organising, alongside Labour activists and trade unionists, a lobby of the County Council from 8am on the 30th to ensure they vote against the crippling budget.
There are also inchoate plans for a possible march, occupation or ‘student strike’ during the day, and Falmouth Fight the Cuts, FXU Labour Students and Truro anti-cuts students will no doubt be organising over the next few days to discuss the options.
Information on the ‘student strike’ idea is provided by the NCAFC on Facebook. At least 15,000 are already planning to take part.
4th December – Petitioning of Sarah Newton MP
Students in Falmouth are currently gathering signatures for a petition which outlines their disgust at the ‘regressive and unfair cuts which the coalition intends to implement’. I will be circulating this over the next week in Truro, and the signatures will then be delivered to Truro and Falmouth Tory MP Sarah Newton.
8th December – Falmouth Fight the Cuts to Occupy Moor
Falmouth Fight the Cuts are planning to protest against the cuts in Cornwall by protesting on the moor in Falmouth. Students from Truro and around the county will be joining them in a demonstration which already has over 300 expected to take part, and that number is growing all the time. The Facebook group for the event can be found here.
An official Truro Alliance Against Fees and Cuts is on its way, and discussions are currently being held about its direction and plans. As can be seen, communities in Cornwall are not staying silent on the issue of the tripling of fees and swingeing cuts to the public sector – and with every Day of Action over the next month, we will be standing together, united against the coalition and the cuts.