25 January 2011
On Thursday 9 December 2010, MPs were asked to approve a motion tabled by Vince Cable, the business secretary, allowing universities to increase tuition fees to up to £9,000 from September 2012. Under the Higher Education Act, this could be done with a simple vote. This huge public spending reform was seen as, in effect, privatising arts and humanities teaching at university (because they will lose all government subsidy) and affecting anyone planning to go to university in the future. The coalition government wons by 323 votes to 302.
In London, the ULU/National Campaign Against Fees and Cuts marched from Bloomsbury, past Parliament Square, to join the NUS rally on Victoria Embankment. Following weeks of mass protest, the 9 December saw a clash between protesters and police. In the aftermath, Prime Minister David Cameron, blamed a “mob” who had behaved in an “absolutely feral way” while protesters and student groups, insisted the policing had been heavy-handed and disproportionate.
In response to concerns surrounding some of the actions at demonstrations in the winter term of 2010/11, and in particular those in and around Parliament Square on the day of the tuition fees debates, CAPPE held an informal debate on ‘The Politics of State and Student Violence.’