The government’s drive to wreck education continues. In Doncaster, the council has a hit list of seven schools that it wants to close, but the local community has other ideas.

If anything epitomised just how unfair and insane our economic system is, it was the announcement that the state-owned Royal Bank Of Scotland had made a £1.1 billion pound loss while giving its top bankers £1 billion in bonuses.

If anyone is responsible for the growing chasm between the rich and poor then you need not look beyond the bankers except, perhaps, the politicians who defend, support and encourage them.

Take David Cameron, for example. Cameron is an Old Etonian and an Oxford-educated multimillionaire. He and his cabinet of multimillionaires pursue policies designed to cut the public services that multimillionaires never use. These toffs neither care nor know anything about how their cuts will impact on ordinary people.

And Cameron’s privileged, private education makes him the least qualified to decide policy on state education. He claims to care passionately about the education of the disadvantaged poor, but these pious words were followed up by a whacking hike in tuition fees and the abolition of Education Maintenance Allowance – policies that hit the poor hardest. Clearly, Cameron is no stranger to hypocrisy.

How do Cameron’s education policies affect us in Doncaster? In a word – closures.

There is a hit list of seven schools which the council wants to close. First on the list is Cantley Sycamore Primary School – a school rated as ‘good’ by Ofsted -, which being closed as part of Mayor Peter Davis’s and the government’s cost-cutting agenda. The council claims that falling pupil numbers means that the school is no longer viable. Cocking a snoop to the local community, the council is unwilling to accept transfers from other nearby primaries to Sycamore School, which would simultaneously equalise school numbers in the area and reduce class sizes.

The mayor’s decision has met with opposition from the majority of parents, who have formed an action committee to save their school. Buoyed by the recent success of library campaigners, who have prevented the immediate closure of fourteen libraries, children, parents and staff from Sycamore School led an angry and vocal demonstration against the cuts through Doncaster. Townspeople and shoppers greeted them enthusiastically, recognising that the destruction of mining and manufacturing has left youngsters with little chance of employment. The only thing that offers a way out of poverty and despair is education in good schools like Sycamore. With youth unemployment already at 20% – the highest since the 1920s – we don’t want these kids to become part of a lost generation.

Moreover, Cameron’s idea of the ‘big society’ insults our intelligence. In the absence of state-funded provision, the people of Doncaster do not have the resources to run public services. Unlike the leafy suburbs of the Home Counties, there are no merchant bankers, retired generals or wealthy philanthropists who can access a spare couple of millions from their bank accounts. The gap left by the withdrawal of public services will not be filled. Doncaster will become a ghost town.

If the Government wants to make cuts we can suggest a few areas. Firstly, cut the £75 billion Trident nuclear refurbishment programme or save £5 billion on a pointless war in Afghanistan by withdrawing the troops. Or, equally effective, pursue the £40 billion that’s lost in tax evasion every year.

With the news that the economy shrunk in the last quarter, it has become obvious that the government’s mantra of ‘there is no alternative to the cuts’ is nonsense. Cutting jobs and services will only deepen the crisis, creating the very real possibility of a full-blown depression. We need investment in public services, not only to meet people’s needs but also to produce growth so that income is generated to pay off the debts.

Of course, the government will not listen to sensible economic arguments. Just like the people in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya, we will have to make them listen through our actions. In Doncaster we stopped library closures through militant, determined action, and we can do the same with Sycamore Primary and other schools on the hit list.

It is a favourite trick of governments to attack us one section at a time, in order to divide and weaken us. It is timely, then, that the Trades Union Congress has called a demonstration on 26th March – the protest that will see hundreds of thousands of people from different industries, services and campaigns join forces to stop the Con-Dem government. Brendan Barber, the TUC General Secretary, has called for poll tax-style resistance to the cuts. We should take him at his word and build the biggest possible demonstration, so that we can turn the tide on the government and consign Cameron, like Thatcher before him, to the dustbin of history.

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