Friday, 10 December 2010

A Sad Day for UK Students

As most people in the UK probably did I watched the mess that was the "student protest" yesterday with a feeling of pride, for the fact that young people are finally standing up for what they believe in, and tremendous sadness and frustration, due to the unnecessary violence. A peaceful protest was hijacked by a mob of anarchists and losers, with too many students and other young people quickly joining in. And as ever the media are not interested in painting a balanced picture of what went on and instead resort to sensationalist headlines and images, practically ignoring the genuine students and protesters that were there for real reasons and not just to cause trouble. It has also meant they are not talking about the shameful actions of the Liberal Democrats who voted in favour of the rise in tuition fees, despite their election promises. They're also not talking about what this means for the future of the government coalition, as they only barely won this vote, and does not bode well for when even harder decisions have to be made in the near future.

Who wants to play "spot the losers?" - hint: they're the ones with the face masks.
Due to a bout of bronchitis I've been stuck at home for nearly two weeks so watched the events as they unfolded yesterday, all the while knowing it was for naught, as the government had already made their decision and were bound to win the vote. I watched a peaceful march, with a scattering of anarchists and troublemakers among them (you can always spot them due to the scarves covering their faces with hoods drawn up over their heads) and was angry to see some police officers violently pushing students and photographers to the ground as they walked through the crowd early in the day, for no reason at all. But despite this, and my own lack of trust in the police generally, I don't think the university unions claiming police brutality have a leg to stand on. If they want to see real police brutality look at what was done to the miners in the '80s, or what went on in the '60s and '70s. That was police brutality. This wasn't. In many ways the police were in a no win situation - if they'd done less they would have been accused of incompetence and if they had done more they would have been criticised for going too far.  But they do bear a small amount of responsibility in my view for winding up an already frustrated crowd. It's not called "Kettling" for nothing - eventually the built up steam has to escape.

The primary responsibility though is on the shoulders of those who committed these pathetic acts of violence. How defacing statues and spraying graffiti, mainly made up of swear words and peace signs (peace signs? Seriously? How much more cliched can you get), helps the cause I don't know and rather reveals people with a lack of intelligence and forethought, intent on trouble making and nothing else. Losers in other words. I suspect that many decent, genuine protesters left long before the smashing of Top Shop's window and the attack on Prince Charles' car took place, and by that point this was no longer a protest, just a mob intent on destruction.

Well, you have to stay warm somehow.
Now that the vote has gone through I predict there will be at least one more big protest, but they shouldn't bother. It will only be over run by these knuckle dragging idiots again. Instead every person who was considering going to University next year should do one thing - don't apply. Don't go to University. Defer it for a year if you really want to go but don't go next year. If applications plummet the government will have to answer for it and will have to reconsider their decision. If you really want to protest against the fees then do so in a practical way - don't go to University.

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