Richie Venton’s speech At Save Our Schools Unity demo, Glasgow

“This brilliant display of strength from the four corners of the city shows that Glasgow is united against every single one of the 25 closures.

“When we decided to hold this Unity March on St Valentine’s Day it was to make a point. Eighty years ago today, in Chicago, a group of gangsters dressed up as policemen walked into a warehouse and massacred another group of gangsters. Eighty years later, a gang of 46 Labour councillors, dressed as public representatives, walked into the city chambers and decided on a modern-day massacre of our communities and kids’ future.

“This march has a clear message – they will not succeed!

“There is no excuse for the closures. They say it’s because of buildings falling apart. Well some of them are – because Labour has failed to invest in them for years. We say invest in them, keep schools local and within safe walking distance for young kids.

“They say it’s because there are too few kids. For one thing, that’s a lie. The school population is set to rise again. And for another, we throw back at the council the example of Eton College – attended by the likes of Tory leader David Cameron. That’s a school attended by the cream of society – rich, thick and full of clots! The kids of the pampered rich have no class sizes of over eleven. Well we won’t make such a radical demand – even though what’s good enough for the rich is good enough for the rest of us. But I believe twenty’s plenty in any class – to improve education, and save jobs, and save schools from closure.

“This is only the start, not the end of our battle. When the council call their sham consultation meetings, don’t be fobbed off with unelected council officials. Demand that every local councillor – including Labour councillors – turns up and justify their butchery. Turn out in your hundreds and give them a roasting!

“And we have a message for Steven Purcell and his Labour council. We’re coming to get you! The city-wide Save Our Schools campaign has agreed to descend on Purcell’s constituency and expose him for his actions in the eyes of the people who elected him.

“Stand firm, proud of yourselves, and united. And make no mistake, we can win! It’s been done before. Some of us were involved in a previous Save Our Schools campaign in the mid-1990s, when demos and school occupations forced the council to back off and save most of the schools from closure. We are determined to win. United we will win!”