By Daphne Liddle
VIOLENT protest against the cuts came to the streets of London last Wednesday as angry students broke into the headquarters of the Tory party in Millbank and set placards on fire outside, saying this was the only way they could force the Con-Dem government to take their protest seriously.
Around 40,000 students, lecturers and their supporters had filled the streets of London on Wednesday as they protested at the Con-Dem government’s plans to raise the cap on university tuition fees from just over £3,000 to £9,000 – and a list of other less well publicised cuts to adult education.
The march started in Whitehall near Horse Guards, went past Parliament for a rally on Millbank near the Tate Britain museum. Some marchers carried on to the Tory Party headquarters and succeeded in breaking in through the glass-fronted atrium.
Reporters from the bourgeois media pressed the organisers to condemn the violence, which they did but said they understood the anger.
Students came from colleges and universities across England to protest against the tripling of university fees, cuts to university and college funding and plans to scrap the educational maintenance allowance (EMA).
This means-tested benefit is paid to students between 16 and 18 from low income families to encourage them to stay in education and is paid as a maximum of £30 to the students. No child benefit is paid to any families in respect of children over 16. EMA allows the children of low income families to stay in education to take their A levels and seek entrance to higher education.
Many of the slogans and speeches on the march targeted the Liberal Democrats in the coalition because the Lib-Dem leaders had promised emphatically before May’s general election they would not under any circumstances support the raising of tuition fees.
Some students plan to try to use the mechanism for recalling Liberal Democrats contained in planned changes to the voting system, if they vote in favour of the rise in tuition fees.
Aaron Porter, president of the National Union of Students (NUS), warned the Liberal Democrats they would lose the support of a generation of young people if they continued to back the tuition fee hike.
He also said: "We are taking to the streets in unprecedented numbers to tell politicians that enough is enough. We will not tolerate the previous generation passing on its debts to the next, nor will we pick up the bill to access a college and university education that was funded for them."
"This Government is abdicating its responsibility to fund the education and skills provision we desperately need just as every other country is investing in its future. We cannot and will not accept that miserable vision for our future.
"We will fight back against attempts to dismantle the funded education system we desperately need for economic recovery, social mobility and cultural enrichment. The Government's short-sighted and self-defeating cuts to colleges and universities must be resisted and that resistance begins now."
Sally Hunt, general secretary of the University and College Union, said the union had hired hundreds of coaches from across the country, describing the protest as "a very significant event".
UCU general secretary, Sally Hunt, said: “The past few weeks have really brought home just how angry staff, students and the general public are with the Government’s plans for education. They can see past the spin and they don’t accept the need for such punitive measures.
Slashing taxes for big businesses whilst telling the public we’re all in this together exposes the Government’s true agenda.”