Laurie Taylor Column

February 27, 2004

My word, I never thought the old Association of University Teachers could get this many people on a demo. There must be a hundred of us. I suppose the news about the fat-cat vice-chancellors helped the cause.

Played right into our hands. Are you all right? You seem to be dragging your feet a little.

It's this banner. It's a tad on the heavy side.

What does yours say? The last line is rather squashed.

It says: "DEMOCRACY RULES? NATFHE TURNOUT 32 PER CENT. RESULT? NO STRIKE ACTION. AUT TURNOUT 55 PER CENT. RESULT? 67 PER CENT FOR STRIKE ACTION."

And then it says "DEMOCRACY RULES" again.

That's quite a bannerful. Mind you, I'm stuck with something pretty similar. I've got: "DEMOCRACY RULES? AMICUS TURNOUT 17 PER CENT. RESULT? VOTE TO ACCEPT PROPOSALS." Then, like yours, it says: "DEMOCRACY RULES" again.

It's a pity one couldn't have had a banner with a more positive message. A straightforward statement of what the strike is about.

You wouldn't want that. That would really play havoc with your arms. Look, there's one over there. "AUT ON STRIKE. WHY? THE FRAMEWORK AGREEMENT WILL INCREASE PAY BY 6.44 PER CENT OVER THE FIRST TWO YEARS. WHAT HAPPENS THEN? IT REDUCES IT BY £6,300 OVER EIGHT YEARS."

That is a lot to carry.

Remember the time when we had simple solid slogans.

Those were the days.

Should we do one now? For old times' sake?

Oh, all right then. Go on.

All together now.

MAGGIE, MAGGIE, MAGGIE. OUT, OUT, OUT.

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