Thursday, 29 January 2009

George Galloway solidarity message

George Galloway provided a message of solidarity to the staff, students and campus unions at London Metropolitan University.

To the staff, students and campus unions at London Metropolitan University

28 January 2009

Congratulations on your protest today, which has my wholehearted support. I am sorry that I cannot be with you today.

I am at a prearranged series of events in Edinburgh raising material aid for the people of Gaza and campaigning for the post of Lord Rector, at the behest of large numbers of students. Among the issues I am campaigning on are student finance and ending the chaos that surrounds university funding, which itself is all too inadequate.

I am both angered and shocked that London Met plans to cut £18 million from the teaching budget and that the HEFCE is clawing back £38 million from the university.

UCU general secretary Sally Hunt and your local union officers have written to me explaining that other universities in a similar position have responded in a more restrained way than London Met. I have written to the university governors today asking them at the very least to do likewise.

But there is an obvious parallel here. The government boasts of its "fiscal stimulus" and "counter-cyclical" actions in the face of the deepening economic recession. However late, limited and hobbled by deference to the banks and big business those measures are, the principle of state action to stave off economic collapse is sound. Why then for banks and not for jobs?

What logic is there in piling on the public debt by handing money to the City while cutting public spending or allowing it to be cut in vital areas such as education?

These cuts would be crushing anywhere, but speaking as the MP covering the Tower Hamlets site of London Met they will be devastating. Large numbers of local students study at the university. It makes a vital contribution to the community in the borough helping to raise young people's expectations in one of the most deprived areas in Britain.

I am confident that any attempt to push through cuts and job losses on anything like this scale will be met with strong opposition not only from campus staff and unions, but from the wider community in east London. Neither will we tolerate any attempt to play off one part of the university against another. We oppose cuts in north London as strongly as in east London, and in Parliament Jeremy Corbyn and I will work as one to back your campaign.
In solidarity,

George Galloway MP
Thanks to everyone who has sent their solidarity messages and who came to our demo yesterday. Keep them coming and keep the pressure up.

Email us your messages of support and solidarity, and let us know if you DON'T want them made public as we will continue to post them online as they come in, to help show we're not alone.