Joe's Crow Country
PUBLISHED: 09:39 18 November 2010
It's fair to say that in the end, they went just that bit too far.
The following day’s headlines covering the student riots in London last week gave focus to the rioting, the arrests, and the fire extinguisher dropped from the roof. Although it was stringently covered, the whole thing ended up going as well as the coalition government could have hoped for.
Instead of the crux of the story being something along the lines of: “Student protests expose government’s blatantly unfair higher education policy,” it was: “Someone nearly dies, some people get arrested. What were they protesting about again?”
I love a protest. They can be exciting, constructive, and under the right circumstances, make a difference, but what I am saying is, the student’s violent and unorganised manor attracted the headlines, whereas the reason for the protest was swept under the carpet.
But then where do you draw the line? I don’t believe that peaceful protest would have done any good at all. Actions need to be eye-catching and some damage needs to be caused to strike fear into the protested-against.
They did well to force their way into the building and occupy it. Though a few windows were smashed and some minor damage to security was caused, this is a vital part of any protest.
This is where they should have stayed though. Get in, make your presence heard, and stay there until you are physically forced out – that would be my three point plan of protest.
I have no objection to getting on the roof either. But once you’re there, don’t go throwing heavy items off the top that you would be lucky not to kill someone with.
Get on the roof and refuse to come down – Strangeways style (though without the death and millions of pounds worth of damage, preferably).
Local protester and all-round believer in standing up for rights Terry Hutt, who although in his 70s attended the protests, told me that it was ruined by a select few.
He said that one man turned up with a huge chain wrapped round his wrist, and others had weapons that could only be used for causing damage. It was these few that ruined what should have been a stand against government plans that favour the rich and treat the rest unjustly.
Myself, and many of my friends who were fortunate enough to go to university would never get the chance under the new costs. If only the incredible numbers at the protests would have held back just that little bit, and some sort of impact might have been had.