Wednesday, 10 November 2010

A NUS Protest Backfired

Featured on Liberal Democrat VoiceIt was not what they had planned but it will forever be remembered for it.

The almost riotous scenes at No.30 Millbank will make the headlines tomorrow and is what will remain in the public mind when the NUS Higher Education march of November 2010 is remembered in years to come.

Tens of thousands of students, many of whom were from Aberystwyth and Lampeter, and many of those were Liberal Democrat students, travelled in good faith today to legitimately demonstrate against Government plans to increase the tuition fees cap up to £9,000.

The Militant Tendency
But despite their peaceful protests, the efforts of a few have again stolen the headlines. To me, the sight on the evening news tonight of militants causing criminal damage in the name of student activism, sickened me.

I've been on NUS protests myself so I can speak from personal experience. In 2004, we were bused direct from NUS conference in Blackpool, to London to campaign against the 3rd Reading of Labour's Higher Education Bill (the reading followed the 2nd Reading which was passed by just 5 votes if memory serves me correctly). This of course was a Labour Government inacting the concept of tuition fees in the first place which is why, 6 years on, there's a lot of rightful indignation now at what is Labour's own indignation at the current proposals. For it was Labour who opened the floodgates for what is currently being investigated by the new government.

But less of the politics.

In 2004, we had a good natured demonstration. I don't recall any odious elements that destroyed the overall vision of the day on that occasion, but unfortunately that can not be said of this occasion.

The militants who did what they did were not speaking for the majority who were there protesting today. I expect many of the small but divisive group weren't even students - they were just there to cause trouble. The problem is that they may well have tainted the views and thoughts of ordinary Britons towards students on this issue when that shouldn't have been the case.

Shame on the militant few who have wrecked what should've been a peaceful protest.


  1. Bet you hoped I was gone, eh ? Unhappily no such luck.

    "The problem is that they may well have tainted the views and thoughts of ordinary Britons towards students on this issue..."
    You think ? As I explained earlier I tend towards the strict utilitarian view in most cases. It just makes things easier in the end.

    "If it were done when 'tis done, then 'twere well. It were done quickly." Since the State is bankrupt(pretty darn close), and without the disastrous no interest rate policy it now has to sustain would be going down by the bow as we speak, the possibility that more State assets would be going to education is between slim and none. With slim on his death bed. What is ---- is.
    Therefore an 'unsuccessful' protest today and I think this can fairly be called 'successful', objectively makes passage of the Coalition Policy easier and races everyone past a political pressure point with more of the high ground than they had just yesterday.

    Bad for the students I agree. And they surely got sandbagged by radicals but these are supposed to be 'elite' students. Common sense would indicate that you 'edit' your march for 'content' considering you are trying to appeal for public support and all. Not to be considered judgmental, but this was POORLY planned and horribly executed. Bad tactics.

    Bad for students, but good for the Coalition, and arguably therefore good for the country as well. Clean cuts are better if cutting there is to be.

  2. Not at all - good to hear from you again!

    The great shame for me is that the majority have wanted to put their views across in a peaceful way but have been usurped by a vocal minority who probably aren't even students.

  3. "The great shame for me is that the majority have wanted to put their views across in a peaceful way but have been usurped by a vocal minority who probably aren't even students."


    Yes I agree, sort of, but I did take a close look at some of those riot photos as I'm sure you have as well. I didn't see many signs of 'not approving' on too many faces and there were a LOT of faces, if you know what I mean. So the 'innocent bystander' thingy maybe not quite as applicable as one might wish it to be. 'Direct Action' is not a game to be played at by anyone. It's a serious thing and not something to be tolerated except in a sort of revolutionary context. This is not that context.

    That aside, I feel strongly that the 'motives' of the protest are highly 'selfish'(just a description not a pejorative in this example),and as I said, not at all affordable. Therefore it's as well this happened right at the beginning and defined the terms of engagement to the Coalition's great advantage.

    In Canada we once had a Government that got defined by a very poorly chosen turn of phrase uttered in a fit of honesty, by one of its members, to wit -- 'We are entitled to our entitlements'.
    You can well imagine how that declaration was received by the sheeple, who got it into their silly heads that the attitude underlying that assertion,needed a rapid and serious correcting. Can't understand why.
    But the thing is, the student protests, and the preemptive whining of the State Unions, remind me of that phrase quite a lot. I don't think it will sell any better on your side of the pond than it did here, but you never know.
    Looks like a warm winter this year in the UK this year no matter the outside temperatures. Still, omelets and eggs, and all that, and privileges that have become re-defined by those getting them as 'rights' are almost never given up voluntarily, no matter how great the need to do so has become.

  4. It's an interesting time to be sure and the big vote in Parliament on this issue in the near future will be very closely scutinised. My gut instinct is that the goverment will win the vote, but by no more than 10 votes.

    You're right in saying that there were many there yesterday that seemed to be happy to go along with the riotous atmosphere, but they were only a drop in the ocean of some 50,000 protestors that had travelled to London in total.