Tonight

I was near the river this afternoon, at Bankside. That’s when I heard that traffic was all snarled up due to the student demo. I didn’t think too much about it.

On the way home, on foot, I saw a number of emergency vehicles, blue lights flashing, but that’s not unusual.

The helicopters were up, but that’s not unusual either when there’s a demo. We are routinely surveilled in London.

Cat was angling for some lap attention so I took the opportunity to sit down and watch Channel 4 News.

Scenes of determined violence around Parliament Square were juxtaposed surreally with the quiet calm of Central Lobby in the Palace of Westminster. I’ve not seen anything like this since the poll tax riots.

I have sympathies with the students’ protest. I was one of those who would not have been able to contemplate a university education had the current proposals been in force. I admire their determination to demonstrate where most of us grumble about the cuts, but offer no resistance. I like the idea of a peaceful sit-in at the National Gallery. Headline grabbing without the bloodshed.

But.

This aggression and violence on streets a couple of miles from my home appalls me. It reminds me of the infiltration by Militant into so many protests of the past. Infiltration that ignored the legitimate grievances in a coldly parasitic exploitation of massed protest.

The helicopters I can see and hear from my windows now have a much more sinister significance for me.

 

 

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6 thoughts on “Tonight

  1. Yes, I share your unease, Isobel, but demonstrations these days seem to be hi-jacked by renta-mob.

    It is seemingly impossible to have a “peaceful” demonstration these days.

    PS. How is Cat?

    I did read your post and I hope it was not serious.

  2. I don’t think it is hand in hand Pseu, More a cynical exploitation by certain parties of the legitimate demo, for their own, much more radical agenda, which then causes us to tar the students with the same brush, and makes the very word, student, a suspect one.

  3. I was in London on the day of the G8 riots last year (?) and walked down the street where all of the ambulances were parked. It was an unnerving experience as you could hear the riots from where we were. I’m glad I was with a group of people.

    I have vague sympathy for students but I think that my apathy is linked to the growth in the number of fairly useless degrees (how many tourism or media study graduates should be funded?).

  4. I totally agree with the student right to protest against a fee increase which will deny so many students the chance of university education. Certainly if my two were in the relevant age bracket, we couldn’t afford it.

    It’s the high-jacking of legitimate peaceful protest by the anarchists that is the problem. Let’s face it, the anarchists haven’t had much opportunity for action over the Labour Government’s tenure so now they are going for it big-time.

    Rather than raise fees, I would have preferred to see the conversion of the under-performing “new” universities to centres for top class vocational training. Better practical training than a third class degree from a poor uni.

  5. ‘Rather than raise fees, I would have preferred to see the conversion of the under-performing “new” universities to centres for top class vocational training. Better practical training than a third class degree from a poor uni.’

    Absolutely!

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