10 November, 2010

Tuition Fees Protests

So today saw 50,000 students marching through the streets of London at the proposed rise in tuition fees to £6,000 and £9,000. If you were to switch on the news, you'd probably get the impression that this was a mob of rabid students tearing through the capital destroying everything in sight, but thankfully it looks like the majority of the protest was carried out peacefully. The Police sensibly showing restrain for once, but probably underestimating the number of officers needed.

Protesters outside Conservative Party HQ - AP
The breaking into Tory HQ wasn't good, but I was surprised how quickly Aaron Porter (NUS President) and others condemned it. Well not so much surprised - I mean their number one concern is their own reputation, it would seem - but if there had been no word from NUS straight away about the violence, I can't help but feel it would have sent a stronger message to the government. Perhaps a feeling of "crap... this is only going to get worse..." Instead, the 'anarchists' and 'Trotskyites' have been blamed and NUS shuffles off into the corner looking embarrassed at a peaceful protest gone wrong.

I'm certainly no fan of violence and it's a big shame that those on both sides were injured (3 police and 6 protesters, is the latest), but it had happened, and surely it's better to play that to your advantage to shock the government and to get a message across? The breaking of a few windows and desks are a tiny dent in the pocket of the Conservative Party in comparison to the damage of saddling a whole generation of new students with millions of pounds of debt every year...

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