Peter Marshall | 22.03.2010 11:54
Start of the march at King's College
On the march
National Campaign against Fees and Cuts
Communist Party of Greece (KKE) banner
Downing St - and a copy of the UCU letter
Brief sit-down in Whitehall at Downing St
Part of the crowd at the rally
Defend Jobs, Defend Education, No Cuts!
Within a hundred yards it became clear that the police order that the march should keep to the pavement was totally impossible, and the marchers moved onto the street, march moved across the junction into the Strand, one large van made a fairly determined although no police were on hand to control traffic. As the effort to mow its way through the march but was eventually stopped by marchers.
At Downing Street the marchers filled Whitehall for several minutes and there was a very short token sit-down before police and stewards persuaded everyone to move to one side of the road, but the crowd was still a little large for the space available and there seemed to be a few dangerous incidents - including a rather uncontrolled police horse - but fortunately no injuries as police appeared keen to get a lane of traffic moving past without due regard for public safety.
Speakers condemned the government - which one reminded us came into power on the mantra 'Education, Education, Education' for now some 12 years later proposing the largest cuts in education funding for a generation or more, which are estimated to lead to the loss of more than 20,000 jobs in Further Education, Higher Education and Adult Education.
These cuts will disproportionately affect the poorer and more disadvantaged in our society, in particular immigrants and young people who are unemployed or lacking in qualifications.
One of those leading the march was Jenny Sutton, branch secretary of the UCU at the College of North East London. A Tottenham resident for 21 years, she is standing for the seat in the 2010 General Election against education minister David Lammy on a platform against cuts in the public sector including education.
She contrasts the cuts of £1.1 billion on education and local hospital cuts in North London of £560 million with the £21 billion that the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have so far cost us, as well as the £500 billion given to the banks, one of which, the 84% publicly owned RBS is now paying out £1.3 billion in bonuses. As she says "The money is there for decent education, health and housing for everybody - where it is spent is a political choice."
There is a different set of pictures on Demotix:
and I will post a larger selection shortly on My London Diary