Thursday, 11 November 2010

Education, Education, Protestation

No sooner have the Prime Minister and the Secretary of State for Education gone off on 'a jolly boys' trip to China than all hell breaks lose.

The festering sore of the changes to University educational funding has finally gone septic and people have finally taken to the streets. The mob have been to Millbank and, under the passive, watchful gaze of the Metropolitan police, have smashed the place up.

Politicians and the media have been sanctimoniously telling us that this is whipped up by 'organised anarchist groups' (surely a contradiction in terms) and that students who feel strongly about things such as this should demonstrate non-violently and quietly, unobtrusively and politely.

I assume they are trying to provoke more direct-action from students because there is nothing more likely to wind students up than this kind of patronising approach.

When the top team do return home and have finished handing out their gifts of silk Chinese pajamas, they need to give this some serious focus. This could be just the first instance of serious civil unrest. The violence was not an isolated aberration. There is a simmering undercurrent of deep unrest which will continue to boil over into direct, violent action.

This is not political demonstration, this is anti-government protest. 

The cycle is simple. The Conservative/Lib Dem government announces a change to something, the discredited Labour opposes it.. Where do people focus their energy? Into supporting the opposition to the government, who, one beautiful day will form a government and change things? 

Clearly not. There is no political outlet for people's frustrations. Two of the main parties are in government and the other major party was basically responsible for the problems that the current changes are a response to, and is therefore complicit in everything that the current government are doing.

So what do people do? How do they protest without a sense of complete futility?

Do they form another political movement with a set of aims and objectives, and then through meticulous organisation across the nation, form a new political force that can win an election and become the government?

Er no - far too complicated, not immediate enough, no instantaneous gratification.

But smashing a window or hurling a stone or fighting the police - that really registers a protest and provides immediate gratification.

Expect more of this. Right now it's the only outlet for people's growing frustrations.


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