Anger at NUS leader as march turns into a damp squib
Photo report by Peter Arkell & Paul Feldman
The Labour-led National Union of Students has managed to demoralise a movement that two years ago shook the government with an unprecedented show of anger over the decision to triple university fees.
This time, instead of 50,000 students taking to London’s streets, the NUS yesterday mobilised 3-4,000 in a march away from the centre of the city to a rally in south London.
nger against the NUS president Liam Burns spilled over and he was pelted with eggs and fruit at the rally. Some students stormed the stage and Burns was forced to depart. The official slogan of the march was the dispiriting and meaningless “Educate, employ, empower”.
Militant students joining the march demanded action and a campaign for free education. But Burns and his Labour friends have no such plan. Burns claimed that the NUS had heavily "shaped the narrative of the coalition agreement”, which is news to university students and those deprived of the education maintenance allowance.
Michael Chessum organiser for National Campaign Against Fees and Cuts, said of the low turnout: “What I think this is indicative of is that really we've been led up a blind alley by an NUS leadership that has called a demonstration under 'educate, employ, empower', which isn't really a very serious political alternative slogan... If you march people to Kennington with a political slogan that's difficult to get people behind, you will end up with low numbers."
22 November 2012