Sunday, October 29, 2006
The demo took a curiously circuitous route through Bloomsbury, then Holborn, then the Aldwych and down to the Victoria Embankment. I couldn't be bothered with all that, and simply decided to walk on the other side of street - much faster. Here are some views from Hungerford Bridge:
You can watch video files of the demo at my Youtube account. More are being added as you read. As a part-time student myself, I have a direct interest in such matters. Sure, I already have to pay fees up-front, but the introduction of top-up fees into the higher education system has actually increased the amount that institutions like Birkbeck have to charge if they are to compete effectively, and the government's allowances for poorer students only covers a part of that gap. The problem is with the marketisation of education in itself. Capitalist competition is irrational enough, but competition among educational institutions is insanity. It forces a duplication of resources and costs, places too much emphasis on good advertising, drains resources from less popular and advantageously placed institutions, and when fees are involved it raises the cost for students. The Labourite leadership have, of course, done as little to resist this trend as possible. The NUS leadership has long been a training ground for future Labour MPs, and the union is in its way perhaps the least democratic and accountable of all the unions in this country.
Update: Morbo has gorged the demo in his mighty alien mandibles.