Protest under the ConDem coalition, as under New Labour, is tolerated on the one condition that it doesn’t threaten or embarrass the state. Take a look at the photo above of the police’s response to today’s third student protest. Then read this:
So we have evidence that a decision was taken to kettle children and young people marching, without any evidence of violent intent, before the march even took place. We now appear to have evidence of high numbers of Met riot police offers, armed to enforce the will of the state. Resist the ideological attack on your futures? Get beaten, pepper sprayed, and charged at by horses.
And given no reports of any violence by demonstrators, even with the agreed route completely blocked by TSG officers, a new #baitvan appears to have been strategically placed:
Having upset protesters through their entirely unnecessary intimidatory behaviour, they will of course now want to generate justification for the intimidation. Just like last week. And just like last week (as Barnaby Raine quite rightly pointed out in his speech I blogged yesterday), the media are letting them get away with it:
Olly Zanetti argues of the student protests:
justifying education cuts by claiming the state can’t afford it is an illusion too. State finances aren’t great, but recent government actions show it’s hardly scrabbling for pennies in the gutter; the government wants to cut bank taxes by £1.4bn; they’ve let Vodafone off around £6bn of tax; and were quick to rustle up €3.8bn to go directly to Ireland’s failed banks.
Higher education is a good thing and it must be available (and feel accessible) to everyone who’ll benefit, not just those who can afford it. Time at university is about opening eyes to different ways of thinking; it’s about learning how to deal with complex ideas and to persevere when they get difficult; and it’s about education simply for the joy of it. All this costs money, but it’s a worthy investment and one a civilised society should be happy to prioritise, even in the tough times. Applying market economics to such a thing and seeing it as a commodity that simply enables its buyer to tick the box marked ‘educated to degree level’ when applying for a job, is an insult to both lecturers’ and students’ time and skills.
The ideological battle continues.
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