Billy Bragg joins Glasgow student occupation after gig

From the BBC

Billy Bragg had been performing at the Arches in Glasgow before he went to meet the students

Singer and activist Billy Bragg joined a student occupation at Glasgow University in protest over plans to cut or merge courses.

Mr Bragg headed to The Hetherington Research Club after a performance at The Arches in Glasgow on Friday.

He said on his website he took the students some beer and they chatted and debated until after midnight.

The university is currently seeking ways to address a funding deficit of £20m over the next three years.

Critics have accused management of trying to reshape the institution into a smaller money-making enterprise at the expense of academic quality.

The university has said it needed to respond to “unprecedented financial pressures”.

Mr Bragg told the BBC Scotland news website that the students at Glasgow University were not just campaigning about cuts but also about the “programme of trying to introduce the free market into education to the detriment of people who want to study humanities”.

“By making higher education only about things like business, we’re stifling those creative urges that have saved the economy in the past,” he said.

He told the students that he had been doing this type of resistance in the 1980’s.

He said this generation, by standing up for what matters, was showing the potential that people like him had waited a long time for.

Red Clydeside

One of the student occupiers said about 80 or 90 people had been at the club during Mr Bragg’s visit.

He said the singer turned up at about 2230 GMT and chatted for almost two hours to the students.

“He sang a song, chatted about his perspective and where he was coming from,” he said.

“It was mostly a friendly chat, but he wasn’t given an easy time of it – he had to give a robust analysis of his political stance.”

Mr Bragg who revised the words of the British version of The Internationale, an “anthem” of socialism, said he often stood up and sang the song at similar events.

“Usually people just listen to it, but last night when I stood on a table to sing it all these people sang along. They actually knew all the words,” he said.

“That was a new experience for me, so something’s changed.

“It reminded me of the great radical tradition in Glasgow. It plugged into the old Red Clydeside days. It gave me such a buzz.”

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Fund-raising for Wyndford Play Park

One of the many protests back in early 2009

As a result of the Wyndford occupations in April 2009 campaigners managed to save one of the building, and the grounds of the schools, to be used as a community centre (The Maryhill Hub). It wasn’t the result people were looking for but it’s shown that occupation and other direct action is sometimes needed to get the government to listen and take you seriously.

Campaigners in the area went on to form the Wyndford & District Community Council, and now another £75,000 of funding is available to complete the play park outside. It’s nowhere near enough to make a good job of things so they’ve decided to do further fund-raising. The current funds would see most of the area being tarmacked.

They’ll be approaching a whole range of different companies and funds for support. If you would like to help in any way, or you know of a group of company that might be interested in helping please let them know.

WyndfordCC@gmail.com or you can call on 07552 189 082

If you’d like to make a donation you can send a cheque to

Maryhill Hub,  , 186 Wyndford Road, Glasgow, G20 8HF (payable to Wyndford & District Community Council – or get in touch at the details above).

The audit of the bank account is always open for public viewing.

What they’re trying to have installed:

    • Toddler play frames and swings
    • Child play frames and swings
    • Road Park for cycling
    • Community garden
    • Allotment gardens(at the rear of the building)
    • Skate and BMX area

    The grounds of the Hub as they are just now.

    Last two photos by Frank Martin. Feel free to use and share.

    You must do better

    From the Evening Times

    Education bosses have promised to continue to support a failing Glasgow primary school criticised by inspectors.

    Glasgow City Council spent £6.6million setting up Miller Primary, Castlemilk, three years ago.

    Despite repeated criticism, teachers and administrators have failed to make improvements to bring the school up to standard.

    A new report, based on an inspection carried out last November, contains further criticism.

    It says that while attainment in writing has been boosted slightly, attendance is below average, pupils’ attainment in reading and maths is poor, and the school lacks direction.

    Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Education praised Glasgow City Council for giving “considerable support” to the school, but said this support is not being used effectively.

    The curriculum was criticised and the inspectors said the school still lacked a sense of direction while the head teacher was criticised for not providing clear leadership to staff.

    Miller Primary was first put under the microscope by experts in 2009 and rated “unsatisfactory” and “weak”.

    Inspectors said they would revisit the school to ensure improvements were being made, but these have not been forthcoming.

    Glasgow education bosses said today they would continue to monitor Miller Primary.

    And in a letter to head teacher Linda Sommerville, seen by the Evening Times, head of education Maureen McKenna said she would be keeping a close eye on the school.

    The letter said: “As you know, I am disappointed by this report. I had expected more progress by this stage. I will be closely monitoring your progress.”

    The school’s first report, released in January 2009, gave Miller four “weak” ratings and one “unsatisfactory” rating – the lowest possible.

    Inspectors were so concerned they arranged a follow-up inspection, but the results of that investigation showed Miller had failed to improve.

    The school, which is a merger between Tormusk and Windlaw primaries, is on the same campus as Castlemilk Family Learning Centre.

     

    Register your hard won right to vote

    A women is arrested in Dundee, 1910, for demanding the right to vote.

    To vote in the Scottish elections on May 5th 2011 you must be 18 years old and a registered voter.

    Registering to vote is the first part of the process of exercising your democratic rights.

    If you filled out the form that was delivered between August and November by your local Electoral Registration Office you should be registered to vote.

    If this was not done by you or other household member on your behalf you can still register to vote for the May 5th election. You can use the About My Vote website to register online.

    Some people may have worries about going on the voters roll, possibly they have concerns about being harassed by debt collectors or other people who they don’t want to find out where they live.

    There are two versions of the electoral register – the full version and the edited version. The full register is used only for elections, preventing and detecting crime and checking applications for credit. The edited register is available for general sale and can be used by other organisations for commercial activities such as marketing.
    You can choose on your registration form whether or not to appear on the edited register.

    You have two votes, one for a constituency MSP and another, often referred to as the “second vote”, to vote for a list, or regional, MSP.

    Two ballot papers are issued, one for the constituency and one for the list vote, you use a single cross to mark your choice, one on each ballot.

    How the right to vote was won

    Your right to vote in the United Kingdom has been hard earned through militant campaigns to give the people the right to choose their political representatives.

    It was only in 1928 that all women finally won the right to vote after a titanic battle with the British state in which many forms of direct action were pioneered; chaining themselves to railings, setting fire to mailbox contents and smashing windows.

    One suffragette, Emily Davison, died after she stepped out in front of the King’s horse, Anmer, at the Epsom Derby of 1913. Many of her fellow suffragettes were imprisoned and went on hunger strikes, during which they were restrained and forcibly fed.

    Chartists

    Mass meeting of Chartists on Kennington Common in 1848

    Previously it had been the world’s first working class organisation, the Chartists, who had fought for the extension of the franchise from landowners and property holders to the working man.

    In a period of historical turmoil between 1838 and 1850, England, Scotland and Wales were convulsed by uprisings of workers, agricultural labourers and the liberal middle classes demanding the right to vote.

    The Chartists linked their demands for universal suffrage to the economic demands of the working class. Chartists were in the leadership of a series of strikes that swept 14 English and 8 Scottish counties, principally in the Midlands, Lancashire, Cheshire, Yorkshire, and the Strathclyde region of Scotland. Typically strikers resolved to cease work until wages were increased and ‘until the People’s charter becomes the Law of the Land’.

     

    Glasgow Uni Occupied

    Glasgow University has gone into occupation once again.

    The Hetherington Research Club was closed last year by university management. The former postgrad students’ union was a well loved building that was originally gifted for the use of students. However, despite a strong campaign and finance plan to save it, management have indicated they have no intention of allowing it to be used for students again, and have left us no choice but to occupy the building.

    As in last year’s occupation, we are occupying against fees and cuts, and demanding free education. But we also want to see the Hetherington returned to student use.

    Please come down and support the occupation, and tell everyone you know! The building is on University Gardens, near to where it meets University Avenue. There will be people here 24 hours from now on.

    2010 in review

    The stats helper monkeys at WordPress.com mulled over how this blog did in 2010, and here’s a high level summary of its overall blog health:

    Healthy blog!

    The Blog-Health-o-Meter™ reads This blog is on fire!.

    Crunchy numbers

    Featured image

    A Boeing 747-400 passenger jet can hold 416 passengers. This blog was viewed about 11,000 times in 2010. That’s about 26 full 747s.

     

    In 2010, there were 43 new posts, growing the total archive of this blog to 103 posts. There were 8 pictures uploaded, taking up a total of 299kb.

    The busiest day of the year was January 15th with 152 views. The most popular post that day was Parents occupy school in Lanarkshire.

    Where did they come from?

    The top referring sites in 2010 were facebook.com, twitter.com, eastdunbartonshiressp.blogspot.com, mail.yahoo.com, and en.wordpress.com.

    Some visitors came searching, mostly for scottish parliament, parliament, the scottish parliament, gartsherrie primary school, and save our schools.

    Attractions in 2010

    These are the posts and pages that got the most views in 2010.

    1

    Parents occupy school in Lanarkshire January 2010
    3 comments

    2

    Scottish Parliament petition June 2009

    3

    St Matthew’s Primary – Wishaw January 2010
    2 comments

    4

    Occupation – Gartsherrie Primary School in Coatbridge June 2010
    1 comment

    5

    Labour Councillors April 2009

    New Group Begins to Fight the Cuts

    Click image for link

    Glasgow Against Education Cuts is a new group that aims to bring together students and staff from all Glasgow’s schools, colleges and universities who are opposed to cuts.

    We aim to meet at least every couple of weeks in order to plan joint action and mobilise for mass demonstrations and direct action. We also want to start educating ourselves about why the cuts are taking place, how we can stop them, and how we can develop an alternative model of education.

    The group has been set up after the inspirational national day of action against cuts and fees on November 24th. In Glasgow, this saw students walk out of university, to be joined by college students and spontaneously organised school strikes from across the city.

    Now we want to bring all these groups together to begin developing a real alternative. Over the next two weeks we’ll be travelling around Glasgow to try and get as many people involved in our next meeting as possible. Look forward to seeing posters and flyers in your place of education. We need your help to spread the word any way you can – invite every student or staff member you know. We’ll have materials uploaded here soon which you can download and print off for use where you are. Let us know how you get on in the comments!

    Although the group is focused primarily on education for now, we stand in solidarity with everyone affected by the cuts, and welcome participation from anyone who’s interested – you don’t have to be a student or staff member to come along, and we’d very much welcome communication and support from everyone fighting back against the government.

    In the meantime, we want you to let us know what you think the group should be doing. How can we resist the cuts to our education? How can we develop our own alternative models of education? What skills can you offer to help? How can you help build Glasgow Against Education Cuts?

    NEXT MEETING: MONDAY DECEMBER 13TH, 5.30pm, CENTRE FOR CONTEMPORARY ARTS, 350 SAUCHIEHALL STREET

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