Saturday, 11 December 2010

Student riots

I went for a walk on Thursday, and therefore missed watching any of the fun in London.

These protests have done the students' cause no end of harm. The general public do not like to see violence, and some of the things done on Thursday evening were fairly sickening, and even managed to knock the X-Factor off the front pages of the tabloids. Yet another defacement of Churchill's statue, the climbing of the Cenotaph and setting the Christmas tree in Trafalgar Square alight are bad enough, without considering the attack on Charles and Camilla's car. The photo of Camilla's face within the car will become the image of the protests, and will permanently detract from the protester's message.

The University of London Union President, Clare Solomon appeared on BBC Breakfast News on Friday morning and totally failed to condemn any of the violence performed by the students. Instead, she concentrated on accusing the police of violence. She displayed a breathtaking blindness when it came to the violent acts committed by the rioters, which was all too obvious on TV. Her position is absolutely untenable. In comparison Aaron Porter, the President of the NUS, has condemned the violence. This shows a significant split within the student body, and is a sign that events have spiralled out of the NUS's control.

What really gets my goat is Labour's - and Ed Miliband's - non-position on this. Labour brought in tuition fees (and in the process suffered a far greater rebellion than the Lib Dem's did on Thursday), and broke their commitments on at least three occasions. For some reason the protesters seem to be forgetting about that. Miliband has failed to say what he would have done instead; indeed he has been at odds with his shadow chancellor over the benefits of a graduate tax. Then, to cap it all, he refused to say what he would do about tuition fees if he came to power. Yet he is getting an easy ride.

It is obvious that these protests have little to do with student funding - it appears more to do with protesting against the coalition government. A number of students (some of whom seem old enough to be parents of students themselves) have been on TV and radio claiming that they not only wanted to prevent the increase in tuition fees, but also the cuts in general. Unfortunately, it seems that many of the protesters will not be happy until they have a Labour government back in.

For this reason, I think we shall see much more of this in the next few years. Time to buy shares in glazing companies, perhaps?


Martin Rye said...

Ed Miliband's was know to be slow to decide in government. He is no different it seems know. I hope the police bring all the rioters to justice. Protesting is lawful. Rioting is not. Come down on them hard and send a message to those who think it is acceptable.

David Cotton said...

I wish the media would grill Labour a little on this. Their non-position is utterly unsustainable.