Thursday, 11 November 2010

All I want is a free education

Owing to the lateness of the hour, I can't write a long report of the student demonstration today (Wednesday). I went along to take pictures. I didn't manage to meet up with Middlesex University students - I wonder what they made of the mayhem at the end! I met one of their lecturers, though, who told me that there were about 50 Middlesex students and a dozen staff, which I would consider a good turnout.

On the violence front, I think there were a few unnecessarily violent acts - and some purely moronic, such as someone chucking a fire extinguisher off the roof of Millbank Tower. But, and it's a big but, I would not condemn the students for what they did. What, honestly, do people expect when students have been lied to by the Lib Dems, who told them they would get rid of tuition fees? And forced by the government to accept - if not for them, for their younger brothers and sisters, and for all our children - prohibitively high fees just to get an education?

The whole economy depends on having educated people, doesn't it? If we are going to start using the argument about personal benefit, why don't we start charging school children to go to school? After all, they'll benefit from it personally.

The police miscalculated today. Even I could have told them that the route to Tate Britain, passing Millbank Tower, was a recipe for trouble. That is where the Conservative Party (and Labour) have their offices. (If the students had found out where Lib Dem HQ is, just around the corner, I doubt it would still be standing now. I think they would have dismantled it brick by brick.)

In the evening, as a group of us peered at the debris and the rows of riot police protecting the lobby of Millbank Tower, a couple of lads passed me. "All I want is a free education," one of them said to his friend, with real sorrow in his voice. I don't believe he is asking for too much.


LesDennis said...

yeah I agree. I was at the demonstration and the part that got 'violent'. It was not as bad as it looks on tv, the atmosphere was ecstatic and jubilant. Yeah the fire extinguisher throwing was daft, but this is the reaction from the crowd down below:

vickim57 said...

Thanks for sharing this.

This was pretty much my recollection as well. I only saw one large object - the fire extinguisher - thrown and a piece of wood.

When the fire extinguisher was dropped, a big booing went up from the crowd and nothing else large was thrown after that - just bits of paper. Lesson learned. It was all quite democratic and sensible in that regard!

Mrs Angry said...

The fire extinguisher incident was not just moronic, it could easily have killed someone, but it also played right into the hands of the right wing press. It's great to see students protesting about the tuition fees, but they must learn to act responsibly, no matter how angry they feel. Otherwise it stops being a protest and becomes a day out for a minority of thugs who just enjoy violenceand hijack the event. I guess everyone is kind of out of practice!

LesDennis said...

yes the fire extinguisher was a VERY horrible and dangerous move. But so was the police beating people with batons when they were already lying on the floor.

Occupation of a building such as the Millbank Tower is a legitimate form of protest. Windows were broken to get into the building.

The 'minority of thugs' were actually at least 2 thousand people at the Millbank Tower, which by the way, was occupied AFTER the main march had finished.

I am 19 years old in my second year of university and I actually felt a bit old, as the majority of people around the tower were college students, who'd never been on a protest before and were merely reacting how anyone would when their entire future is being destroyed while millionaires and corporations get off scot free.

'Mrs Angry' needs to rethink her position and realise the true act of violence is that of the government and their cuts.

I say we stand in solidarity with those at the occupation (who by the way are now being witch hunted by the Telegraph).