In your face

2nd February 2001 at 00:00
Last week's launch of the Centre for Political Songs at Glasgow Caledonian University prompted thoughts of some legendary teachers' campaigns.

The Caley archives are collecting chants as well as bona fide songs, so there is still time to preserve teachers' protestations of the past for posterity. From the Houghton campaign of 1974-75 we could have the famous West of Scotland Action Group (WOSTAG) slogan, inspired by the flat-rate egalitarian ethos of the Rank and File leftists, "What do we want, pound;15 When do we want it? Now!"

This certainly scanned better than the chant of 10 years later, "What do we want? An independent review When do we want it? Now !" That did the trick one the less. Or maybe the unions' success owed something to the other stirring slogan of the day directed at the then Scottish Secretary, "Younger, Younger,Younger, Out, Out, Out" - a ditty which Jack McConnell, the Education Minister, may well recognise from his time as an Educational Institute of Scotland member in the eighties.

Could the post-McCrone protesters beat all that? Perhaps in these more genteel times, other approaches are called for. We doubt any teacher campaigners past or present can match the indelicacy of the one Janey Buchan, former MEP and driving force behind the new centre, brought back from Chicago: "Doing my best to piss off the religious right."


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