On the 6th of March around 10,000 teachers, students, parents and political activists took part in a demonstration organised by the main Scottish teaching trade union, the EIS, against proposed cuts to education funding by both the Scottish government and local councils.
Several Socialist Appeal supporters joined the demonstration, the slogan of which was “Why must our children pay?” This in itself is notable as it represents a further questioning of the capitalist system as the union asked: why should school students and teachers around the country be asked to pay the price for “the bail-out of failed financial institutions?”
Of course the SNP Scottish Government has blamed the measures on “Westminister cuts” to the Scottish budget and hence their own cuts to council budgets which have led to cuts in education at a local level. The reason behind the education cuts in Scotland is the recession which was caused by the failure of the banks and big business and hence the capitalist system. The SNP is a pro-capitalist party and consequently supported the bail out of both HBOS and the Royal Bank in 2008, complaining that not enough money was available for Scottish finance! The nationalists are now attempting to shirk the responsibility of there being 2500 fewer teachers in Scottish classrooms than there were two years ago and its failure in implementing election promises of smaller class sizes that were promised in their 2007 election manifesto. This march showed what the potential power of the labour movement can do. Given there are only fifty-three thousand teachers in Scotland, this mobilisation demonstrates the potential for further action, which will be necessary to fight the cuts to come. This action comes alongside a wave of student occupations of universities in England. It’s clear that there is a mood across Britain amongst both workers and students to fight the cuts in education.