For the benefit of my international readers (since I know that there are at least five of you) let me explain that recently we’ve had a bit of a surprising turn of events here in sleepy old England.
Basically, the students of the land have remembered that as well as watching daytime TV and eating vast amounts of Pot Noodles, they’re supposed to have a reputation for involving themselves in politics, and after our government announced that they were going to be making big cuts in university funding (and allowing the university authorities to raise tuition fees to up to £9000 a year), said students decided to go out and complaing whilst marching about a bit.
It’s been a pretty interesting time actually. A few weeks ago one of my lovely knitting girls, Kate, (who also happens to be one of the more zealous students you’ll meet) took a trip down to London to take part in the first protest. She’s written a wee bit about it on her blog, as well as uploading a video that she made.
Unfortunately, as well as the regular marching and chanting and banner waving, a small number of socialist worker oiks, (as well as a few general trouble-maker types) decided that they wanted a bit more of a riot-style feel to the day, and so they stormed some buildings and broke some windows and did other bad, bad things.
Then last week there were some more protests – so more banners and marching, but also fires and overturned police vans.
I appreciate the fact that they’re concerned about the situation, and that they’re willing to get out and make themselves heard.
But I really don’t appreciate the criminal damage, or the fact that I (as a tax payer), unlike them (who are not) will have to pay for it.
Also though, it’s been fun to compare these protests with the few that I saw from students at Wits last year.
And amused by the comments of my pastor who was speaking at Newcastle CU last week, who essentially mocked the lameness of recent events with his own experiences of student protests against the apartheid government. You can’t really argue with someone who endured tear gas and rubber bullets.
Anyway. Here’s some photos of Newcastle and Durham-style protests in the snow:
In summary: appreciating some of the enthusiasm.