International students must stand with their staff (Picture: Guy Smallman)

University bosses are trying to turn international students against lecturers implementing a union‑led marking boycott. The boycott means that papers are unmarked and grades cannot be awarded. 

Some students are dependent on these grades to get new or renewed visas. Edinburgh University is telling international students that they will have to return to their home country to apply for a postgraduate visa. 

Students are angry enough at the fact that their future plans are being disrupted. But now some international students are now being advised that on top of that, they will also have to pay for a costly plane ticket back home to proceed with their education. 

Even more confusing is that the university’s advice is contrary to Home Office guidance. As someone who has been through the process of applying for a student visa, I can say that the entire process is a confusing bureaucratic mess.

This would not be a problem if universities simply paid their staff what they deserve. But instead they would rather cause unnecessary disruption to students and point the finger at striking workers when criticised.

International students, in particular, have been placed in a difficult position due to the nature of Britain’s immigration laws. 

UKVI (United Kingdom Visas and Immigration) requires universities to monitor the attendance and engagement of international students. Students’ visas could potentially be revoked if their attendance is deemed unsatisfactory. 

This undermines the ability of international students to show solidarity with their lecturers by forcing them to cross picket lines.

The case of Edinburgh University’s visa advice only continues that same dynamic. It shows how universities are pitting the interests of international students against those of striking staff. 

This apparent binary must be rejected because it is entirely an invention of the racist system of borders and the neoliberal university, which students and staff should unite to oppose. 

Naufal Ubaidi 

Manchester

Don’t trust council over their airport plans

Newham Council recently rejected London City Airport’s (LCY) plan to increase the number of flights it handles, part of its proposals to expand passenger numbers to nine million.

The east London airport is already Britain’s top choice for private jet travellers, with over 50,000 flights a year. 

Private jets emit up to 20 times more carbon than commercial flights.  The CEO of Netjets, one company using the LCY Private Jet centre, boasts a massive increase in fleet size to over 175 by the end of 2023.

The council made the right decision, but experience shows no one should think this will stop these plans.  

The council similarly passed motions opposing the Silvertown Tunnel, the largest British road project since the M25, bringing up to 30 percent more traffic into a borough with Britain’s worst air pollution. 

But the council’s opposition remained on paper only. Newham climate activists fought a well-supported, strong campaign against it, but the tunnel is due for completion in 2025.

If we are to stop airport expansion, we can’t rely on council motions. Residents and climate activists will have to continue to fight it.

Miriam Scharf

East London

We must fight for right to wild camp 

A new poll has found that more than 60 percent of people in England want a “right to roam” similar to what is in place in Scotland. 

This comes not long after a High Court ruling made wild camping on Dartmoor illegal.  Thankfully the Dartmoor National Park Authority has been able to appeal this decision. 

It’s already really difficult to access places such as Dartmoor.  The transport is expensive, and so is the accommodation. 

This makes the decision to ban wild camping on Dartmoor—the last place in England and Wales where you could do it—even more devastating. 

We need to fight for the decision to be appealed, but we can’t just fight in the courts.  Taking to the streets and occupying the land is the only way to win. 

Molly Docherty

Birmingham

Tory Osborne lucky it was confetti

While the world just had its hottest week on record,  the mainstream media and assorted liberal commentators wish us to dab our eyes for the sake of George Osborne and his wife. 

What trauma did he face? Well someone, who could have been a climate protester, covered him in Just Stop Oil-coloured orange confetti at his wedding. 

Those outraged for Osborne forget he was directly responsible for over 330,000 excess deaths in Britain. As chancellor of the Tory-led coalition from 2010 to 2016, Osborne was the main arbitrator of economic austerity, cutting billions of pounds from public spending. 

The recent Covid inquiry has shed light on claims that the cuts made to health and social care services weakened the NHS before the outbreak of the pandemic. 

Osborne also demonstrated a shameless lack of leadership in the face of climate disruption as chancellor. He once stated that he didn’t want Britain to be at the forefront of tackling the climate crisis. 

Less than a year after his departure from parliament in 2016, Osborne became the highest-paid sitting MP ever earning £13,500 a day from his salary with investment company BlackRock.

He should count himself very lucky it was only confetti thrown at him.

Matthew Taylor

North London 

Sexism and the City

It’s no surprise that sexism is running rampant in Britain’s business centre, the City of London.  Yet a parliamentary committee is now renewing an inquiry to find that out. 

It’s good there’s an inquiry, but it will likely tell what we know—that men who prop up the system have sexist ideas

Claire Pinn 

York

Banksy doesn’t profit

Your article (Socialist Worker, 4  July) about Banksy’s Glasgow museum exhibition presumes that Banksy profits from auction sales. They are actually always secondary market, others selling his work—not him. 

He also presents no work in galleries or museums (except for Glasgow) and has yet to have anything available on the retail market since 2008.

Carol Diehl 

Via Email

War on drugs fails

The current “war on drugs” has been a total failure, cost untold millions and destroyed lives, careers and livelihoods. The cowardice of government and opposition is ridiculous. 

As always this country insists on ignoring successful approaches in other countries to the detriment of the people. 

It is sadly no surprise that Labour reacted in the way that they did, as they are little different to the Tories now.

Mark Miley 

On Facebook

Rage against uni bosses 

It was great to see videos of students at the University of Edinburgh chanting, “Pay our staff,” at their graduation ceremony. 

Although, of course, a university manager decided to play the organ to drown them out. 

Every student that won’t receive a degree or receive a fake degree should rage against the university bosses. 

Charlotte Mobley

Exeter

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