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Sunday, 14 November 2010

Full Support for Student Attack on Tory Party HQ

Student Demonstration Shows the Way - Equal Access to Higher Education Irrespective of Means
Isn’t it strange? Papers like the Sun which have gloried in the bloody wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, who have never mentioned, still less condemned, British torture camps and the murder of civilians, have suddenly woken up to how terrible violence is when it comes to a few smashed windows in Millbank Tower! It is said that hypocrisy is the tribute that vice pays to virtue but I can see precious little virtue.

And when someone threw an empty fire extinguisher down onto police lines – a stupid and idiotic action to be sure – the press were besides themselves. Presumably if they had dropped a few bombs instead, along the lines of the film on Wiki leaks which showed US aircraft firing on civilians, then they would have been heroes! But then again not, if the British state is the target.

The reality is that the so-called violence, as if the attacks on the Welfare State and Education isn’t a form of violence which will, for example lead to increased suicides, drug addiction and a spiral of hunger and homelessness, isn’t a form of violence. Because of course violence isn’t the objection but the fear that where the students lead today, others will follow in their wake. Hence the spluttered outrage of all the tax dodgers and upper-class criminals.

It was a Tory Government under Harold MacMillan in 1962 that legislated for the expansion of higher education in the wake of the Robbins Report. The Robbins Principle as it became known, encapsulated the idea that higher education should be accessible to all, irrespective of means. http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/cabinetpapers/themes/robbins-committee-open-university.htm The government of the day accepted it and the 1964 Labour government under Harold Wilson implemented it, expanding higher education and creating new universities like Sussex and Essex.

Now we are ruled by Liberal free-market philistines who have completely cut all funding for teaching in the Humanities. The only purpose of education is to oil the wheels of capitalist production. The intrinsic virtue of learning and education in itself has been thrown out the door. The values of the bankers have been imposed on universities. The only good is in making money, not in constructing a civilisation. Yet people don’t visit Florence and Rome to marvel at money makers but the Renaissance and the values of an older society that produced beauty. Cameron and Clegg know only one artifact of beauty – money.

Graduates will be weighed down by enormous debt as fees balloon. Educational Maintenance Allowance for 16-19 year olds has been scrapped. The country’s welfare state and education system is being destroyed in order to bail out the bankers.

That is why I’m proud of my daughter Ellie and her friend, both graduates of Christ’s Hospital, who took part in the demonstration and occupation of Tory Party HQ. They aren’t the anarchists of the foaming tabloid writers. Quite the contrary. Hedonists would be a better description! But young as they are they know right from wrong. We are ruled by a government which, in the words of Oscar Wilde, knows the price of everything and the value of nothing.

And if resistance is in the air then that to me is demonstrated by one of sons, Tom 13, who is also at Christ’s Hospital. Never particularly political he came back for leave weekend wanting to go on the anti-cuts demonstration in Brighton! Only his mother not waking him prevented that but, at the risk of self-indulgence, I take pride in the fact that our younger generation is waking up to the need to change society and that means not accepting the idea that ‘there is no alternative’.

7 comments:

peterbrown07 said...

At last... an analysis of student "violence" which is in the wider context of the assault upon University education... the hypocrisy of the media "outrage" has been clearly exposed.
Violence can be counter-productive and it is therefore important that
,as with other national campaigns, we need leadership and ideas which offer creative and effective ways of demonstrating and opposing "the enemy", whether we are targetting the Coalition or Zionist Israel.
Good work Tony! Peter Brown www.actionforgaza.com/

Anonymous said...

You talk of hypocrisy on the same page you tell us that you send your children to a private school??

Where is your working class solidarity? I never dreamed of sending my kids to a private school and am asking what's so special about your kids?

You go on and on about the Millibands and privileged others but it sounds you're not outraged but just plain envious. Is it wrong to presume that if you got the chance you'd have your mug as deep in the trough as the rest of them? Maybe you do already.

So enlighten us Tony, explain that you're not just another hypocrite posing as a socialist whilst grabbing all he can. Maybe we'll believe you.

Tony Greenstein said...

Actually it's my wife who sent the kids to private school not me! But it would be more honest if you were to give a name so I didn't suspect you as a Zionist pretending to be a leftist.

But the school they go/went to admits most of its kids by ability not the depth of their parents' pockets so, yes, there is a difference.

The Milibands went to a comprehensive but one of the elite state ones in Hampstead. It hasn't stopped them from being right-wing scum though so your argument is a bit flat somehow.

And whilst my daughter and her friend went to public school they are also facing prison on a charge of affray. What have you done Mr Anonymous?

Anonymous said...

So you have to use your wife to justify sending your kids to a private school. If you'll excuse me that rings sort of hollow when you've been praising the place to the hilt and even posted pictures of it if i remember correctly (and that strangely seem to have disappeared since my post). There was no mention either of the obviously endless conversations you must have had with your wife when trying to convince her that your kids needed a state education rather than that of the privileged classes.

But it is nice to see your daughter's gaining some sort of class consciousness, but don't make too much of a martyr out of her. We all know that the risk she is facing is that of getting the equivalent of a hundred lines from the head for her and her friends' efforts especially after you have written to the magistrate telling him or her of how she suffered as a child, of the humiliation of not being able to pay the private school fees and of having no Mercedes or even a lowly BMW to collect her at the end of term. If the poor girl is fined i'll for one be happy to put a few quid in your collecting tin so that you don't go short of the odd pint or two.

But you still haven't told us, after all the praise you've been giving now for days about your toffs' school, what's wrong with the local comp? It was good enough for my kids and for millions of other people's kids. Why wasn't it good enough for yours? Have you really managed to convince yourself that a comprehensive school can be described as belonging to one of the, “elite state ones”, and thus justifying your sending yours to a 'public' school? That whiff of hypocrisy ....................

I'm beginning to wonder whether the old Stalinist inversion of truth has not rubbed off on you, where uncomfortable reality just gets airbrushed or 'reinterpreted'. I also wonder why you feel the need to 'moderate' posts, but of course in the world of Stalin truth always needs 'moderating'. Let's be fair to Stalin though, odious and evil man that he was he at least had the courage of his convictions ( even when the Germans captured his son who had been in the front line fighting alongside his countrymen resisting the fascists, Stalin didn't misuse his position to ransom him).

So Tony, whether you personally pay for it or not, educating your children at a school for the elite is an overt act of identification with capitalism with its segregated system of education, as well as of taking an unfair advantage over the millions of children of workers in this country.

The 'public' school system needs to be at the very least ignored by socialists, not to have this social apartheid reinforced by those like yourself who say in public that they are socialists but who like HH think that their own kids are too good to be educated in the state system. That is how the elite system weakens the socialist movement, by taking the brightest children to reinforce itself, weaken the state education system, and perpetuate the inequalities into the future. But you know all this.

As far as your defence that you don't pay for your children's education, the apparatchiks in the USSR also didn't pay either for all the benefits they managed to accrue for themselves and their families, for their dachas, their cars and their luxury shops only for them. Their abuses of the socialist system killed any identification with socialism throughout Russia and eastern europe something from which the movement may never recover.

The very concept of the 'public' school is a betrayal of the working class and sending your children to one only gives ammunition to the enemies of workers who accuse all socialists of just practising the politics of envy.

But of course, we must remember that you say it's not you who sent your children to 'public' school, it's your wife............

So you want my name,

you may call me Ivan D.

Tony Greenstein said...

Ivan the Terrible?

I don't, for understandable reasons, go into private conversations with my wife, from whom I'm separated! Nor do most people.

I'm opposed to private education as a principle, viz. the ability of those whose children are rich to purchase an education not available to those who live in poverty.

However, given her mum is on Income Support, that is not the case here. Like most of the children at the school, Ellie received a 100% scholarship. I did indeed publish pictures of it (I took the post down for different reasons) not least to demonstrate that facilities like this should be available for al children and to contrast the private school sector with public education.

However I have to reiterate that Christ's Hospital is quite unique.

The purpose of the article, on which the sectarian (or is it Zionist sectarian) Ivan concentrates is to show how, despite such a ruling class education, Ellie and her friend from CH, were in the forefront of those demonstrating for a free education and both were part of the invasion of Tory Party HQ.

I suspect that Ivan has never fought for anything more than a good seat in a restaurant whilst castigating others.

Anonymous said...

I hope you will allow me to remain anonymous as I do not share this personal information with everyone. I would like to shed some light on this from my knowledge and personal experience. I went to Christ's Hospital Girl's School in Hertford in the 1960s.

All of us came from financially Poor Families; some from working class backgrounds, and some, including myself were orphaned children of professional fathers.

CH is a "Public School", and most of the pupils parents pay reduced fees in accordance with their means,and charities and city of London livery companies pay the rest. there are a number of routes to admission. One or two CH scholarships are for the descendants of particular families, which is not that egalitarian. Most of the really old Public Schools started out as charities.

CH is elitist. It claims to be no less than the best school in the world. If you do well there and go on to do well in your chosen profession you may have a good chance of a top job. But I have to say that I doubt that any of my contemporaries would be charging the taxpayer to clean his or her moat. It wasnt and isnt so far that kind of school. But that could soon all change as they've decided to admit some children from full fee paying backgrounds.


Life at CH in the 1960s was certainly not pampered. The girls were completely separate fronm the boys. The girls in Hertford, the boys in Horsham. It was cold. We had no pocket money, no personal possesions, and it was very disciplined and regimented. Outside of school time, we cleaned our dorms and peeled spuds, but the education was first class.

There was bullying and intolerance of diversity, but that was common in those days.

But what I and a number of girls shared was a hatred of injustice. I'm not sure but think it was and is still part of the ethos of the school.

Peope I know who went to state schools during this era say they were not taught about the slave trade or the history of the trade unions. But we were taught about this at CH.
Quite how we became so radical I don't know. We were only allowed to read the Telegraph (one day old with the naughty bits cut out). But it was the sixties and the times were changeing and some of us were in the vanguard.

In the 19th century notable radical poets Coleridge, Leigh Hunt, Southey and Lamb all went to CH at around the same time. They called themselves socialists. The other profoundly radical poet in their group, Shelley, went to Eton and Cambridge before he was expelled for writing a pamphlet on Atheism. Leigh Hunt was imprisoned for the radical views published in his journal.

I'm not defending the public school system. Anonymous is misinformed they are all the same. Each Public School has its on character.

After I left I trained as a nurse. During the 1980s I was a school nurse in one of the public schools founded in the victorian era to educate the sons and daughters of Gentlemen.

"Do you make this mess at home?" I asked one child. "Do your parents clean up after you?" "Of course not." She replied smugly. "At home we have Staff" Not at all the same ethos as CH.

I've been a socialist all my life. I lost contact with CH and disowned the school. Most comrades do not know about my background. I don't brag about it. I see that comrades and friends who attended state schools are often better educated, because they have applied themselves better than I.

Tony Greenstein said...

Thanks, it was a very interesting comment on CH in the 1960's. I agree that not all public schools are the same although the system that public schools represent, viz. the perpetuation of an elite, certainly is much the same. However most kids who go to CH aren't from the elite, indeed there is a large percentage now who are Black and come from the inner cities.

Having said that there is a new Australian Head who is much more authoritarian than his predecessor who gives every indication of wanting to, as you say, have more full fee paying students. Partly this is because the recession is also hitting CH as the returns on its investments is down in the recession but partly also I think to bring the school in line with the elitism that rules elsewhere.

CH is however unique and the tragedy is that every child doesn't have the same facilities that it offers.

But yes it produces quite a number of radicals!

You can contact me at the azvsas@googlemail.com address if you want to correspond privately