by Natalie Bennett
There was a huge meeting — more than 200 people crammed into Camden council chamber — last night to launch Camden United Against the Cuts.
A great deal was said, and anger expressed, and it is hard to do justice to it all, but here’s a few highlights:
National Union of Teachers – The pupil premium is “an utter, utter con”. Money is being taken from deprived inner cities and given to Surrey and Devon. It’s not that they dont need resources, but the money shouldn’t be taken from here. “The branch has instructed me to organise a strike to protest at the vandalism.”
Definitely winning the “drawing the hollow laugh of the night” was a speaker from UCL, who said that students had been given a rapid political education. “Writing to MPs doesnt work, voting Lib Dem doesnt work; you have to break the rules to have an impact.”
Jane, a local parent, said she didn’t want to have to choose between her daughter’s care and her job. “We use Coram Play Scheme – no doubt I’m biased but it is the most fantastic in borough. We have to act now before the February council meeting.”
Green Party member Jane Ennis spoke about the campaign to save Camden’s libraries that was won 15 years ago. “We can do it again.”
Andrea, a council tenant involved in South Hampstead Against the Cuts spoke about the fear over the closure of a local respite care centre, and grave concerns about youth services.
George Binnet in the chair, applauding a powerful contribution from the UKUncut speaker, was being a trifle facetious when he said: “Thanks for that great injection of fighting spirit, and now Cllr Theo Blackwell…”
Ruth from the Unison Retired Members Branch spoke about how she is involved in running health service for asylum seekers, and in that capacity had just received a letter from private health provider offer a day seminar at the cost of £700 per participant. Addressing the councillors present, she said: “If council is paying £700 per delegate, I warn you that the voluntary sector will be watching.”
Upcoming Camden events
Tuesday January 25, Open Camden United organising meeting, 7pm NUT offices, Mabledon Place
Wednesday, January 26, for the EMA day of action, there will be a teach-in at Euston train station from 5pm
Monday 28 February, Lobby of Camden Council, 6pm, Camden Town Hall