Here's a fuzzy picture of Alexander Clayman, the organiser of this evening's sixth formers' march. He is the one with the megaphone, addressing some of the crowd of about 200 Barnet sixth formers outside the Arts Depot, North Finchley, before they marched to Finchley and Golders Green Conservative HQ to hand in a petition against tuition fee rises. (Thank you to the person who took and shared the pic!)
It was a great demo, a real achievement for a group of young people who only had a small amount of help and advice from a small number of adults. It was a privilege to help steward it.
There was a fair amount of snide comment before the demo from some quarters. These were the insulting suggestions made:
(1) Alex was merely put up to it by the local Labour Party. To which I say: Alex is a member of the LP but all that tells me is that he is interested in politics and he isn't a Conservative, neither of which is a crime. To disparage Alex is to disparage all the angry young people who responded to his initiative!There is a national day of protest against the tuition fee rises and education cuts next week on Wednesday 24 November. There will be some sort of demonstration in central London; Trafalgar Square is given as a focus at noon. We might be about to see our own student uprising in Britain! Well, you never know... Some more lively protesting on tonight's model would be a good step in that direction.
(2) The young people were going to stage a riot and smash up Finchley and Golders Green Tory party HQ. To which I say: they were never going to do that; the organiser was clear he didn't want any trouble and the young people didn't need to do that to make their political point.
(3) The young people were the dupes of the trades council. To which I say: we were approached to help organise some stewards and we were proud to do that. If we couldn't do that to help our young people, who are being dumped on massively, we wouldn't be worth much.
Find out more about student protest at the website of the National Campaign Against Fees and Cuts.