Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Student protests, if linked with unions, could lead to fall of the Government

This could well be significant day. Big student protests all over the country, both on the streets and  sit-ins in several universities. Mainly non-violent.
Too big for the media  to ignore, so they will have to distort instead.

The police abandoned an old police van (outdated markings) in the middle of the crowd, which was duly vandalised. It has been termed the #baitvan on Twitter - bait for the vandalisers, who gave the police an excuse to form a kettle, and also gave an excuse for servile media to diss the demos. More here.

It is alleged that officer U2128 repeatedly kicked a 15 year old girl. Hopefully pictures and/or video evidence will surface to bear this out. [Update: no they have not. I traced the U2128 story back to @: RT @Officer U2128 kicking 15yr old girl caught on camera. Chant of "your going on YouTube" #demo2010". This was RTd many many times, accounting for much of the
 #demo2010 activity.

I searched for @Adam_S953 and got "does not exist".
@santi_girl had had exchanges with @AdamS953 who it seems did originate the story, without having any evidence. @AdamS953 is at the moment unobtainable on Twitter. His unremarkable blog is here.

seems to have protected tweets.

This does certainly show the desirability of checking sources. End of Update]

Some questions:
How much will the police operation cost?
How much will need to be set aside to police future policing operations?
How much will this extra expenditure cut into Osborne's budget cuts?
Did they think of this?
Have they thought how many more demos will occur, and of what magnitude, once the Unions get their act together and start demonstrations too?

Historically, Government tend to fall when students and workers get on the streets. Especially if the police harbour a sympathy for the protesters - which they surely will, since their own jobs are on the line.

Politically, there is massive  pressure on LibDem MPs to abstain, take a sickie or vote No on tuition fees. This raises the possibility of a Government defeat - which would be followed by a No Confidence motion, which the Government would probably win, but a precedent will have been set.

There is a real possibility of an early general election. The Green Party should be ready for that event, but more, we should be leading negotiations with progressives in other parties to see if we can elect a cross-party majority of MPs who can put forward a fully costed alternative to Osborne's insane butchery. The programme would focus on cancellation of large white elephant projects like Trident, closing tax avoidance loopholes and tax havens, and a clamp cown on tax evaders.

When I last put this forward, one influential Green objector simply asserted that the Coalition will run its full term. OK, it may. Alternatively, it may not. If it does not, and if it collapses as rapidly as a Samoan scrum, we need to be ready.

Moreover, even the fact that negotiations are taking place on an anti-cuts Alternative Coalition would put the fear of god into the Cleggeron. Which would be nice.

So this is big, and could be the start of something really big, politically.

Fair play and big respect for the students.


Jesse said...

Was on the demo in manchester and I have to say the 'day' police were, on the whole, incredibly hospitable. I saw smiles and laughs at the placards, and when asked several bobbies were supported the students.

However the 'tactical' units drafted in to deal with sit downs and road blocks later on were much more aggressive. Mounted police charged the crowd at one point.

DocRichard said...

Thanks for the info DonkDonkDonk (that name is almost as bad as Mabinogogiblog).

It's great that the coppers were friendly, and classic that the tacticals were aggressive.

Gandhi laid down in front of horses, because apparently horses hate trampling over bodies as it makes them go all wobbly. I need to research whether horses can be/have been trained to overcome their squeamishness.

Good luck. Stay nice to the coppers, and keep out of trouble. Remember, there is always the chance that the anarchist whipping up frenzy is an agent provocateur.

Thanks to you and all demonstrators for protesting. It is very important work.

Anonymous said...

But a lot of rank and file trade unionists hate students. Students grow up to become bosses. In the fact the increase of graduates has destroyed the social mobility of workers, who used to be able to work their way up in many industries (the police and fire services are the last examples)– they understood the industry and understood the workers. Now we have snotty nosed kids with a MA in philosophy telling us all how to do our jobs. These students are not marching against injustice, but for their own self interest.

DocRichard said...

Hi Anonymous

It goes without saying that if we allow our differences override our common needs, things will carry on as before, with idiots running the show according to ideologies unrelated to reality.

We are all different - each a unique individuals. The neo-liberals base their ideology on individualism. It is ironic if unionists do not have a view of society that includes school children and students. Of course, everyone has mixed motives, but it is up to us to stress the main point: all our demonstrations are rooted in rejection of the flawed economic analysis put forward by Osborne.

Thanks for commenting.


Anonymous said...

Doc, have you ever considered the environmental costs of ‘going to University’ ?

We seem to be operating in exactly the same way as when some of our venerable intuitions were founded. A young man I know changed his mind (much to his parents delight) didn’t go to Uni, stayed on the family farm – studied for a History BA with the OU, which he completed in four years. A lot of arts and humanities subjects could be delivered by distance learning, at a fraction of the cost, and removing the requirement for students to complicate housing provision. Some subjects granted need to be at the Uni, but a lot could be delivered wholly or partly by distance learning with new technology. What is the carbon footprint of our medieval education system.

Jesse said...

@ Anonymous above...

Why do you think the environmental cost of university should be much different from that of just living and working? The vast majority of us walk/cycle/bus it in to uni... hardly anyone drives a car regularly. Most of us don't have much money, so we have to be economical with heating, electricity and buying things.

Why should a university building be any more or less carbon efficient than say... an office block, or a supermarket, which is where people would otherwise be working... Having said that i'd love to see some evidence/data on the environmental impact of universities... but lets not make unfounded assertions.

There are a million other things to think about such as... How would you suggest students meet like minded people if we were all to learn from home? Especially those living on farms, which is by far the small minority.

What about access to important resources like books, computers and equipment which most students need to complete their degrees? How would you have mass student political movements if everyone lived at home isolated from their peers? Perhaps not everyone has the motivation to work from home and needs support from tutors?

Anonymous said...

DDD, not all uni courses could be delivered by distance learning I agree. However if we are to continue the "academicisation" of professions such as nursing, accountancy and, journalism (btw the best headteacher my kids had was a Cert Ed – not a graduate); we simply can’t afford to send everyone to uni for three years. Look at the range of courses the OU and Trinity St David offers. New technology, surely means for a lot of students there is no need to leave home for six months over three terms, taking up housing that could house the homeless. (I understand students at one uni objected to rough sleepers using their halls in the Christmas holidays).

I started work at 17, I have 22 years of pension contributions at 39 and I have (apparently) level 4 qualifications which means (so I’m told) I’m ‘graduate level’. My cousin at 29 has just finished her Ph.D – having only ever worked in Tesco – her entire life so far has been in academia.

DocRichard said...

Thanks DDD.
Anonymous, OU is great in certain circumstances, but the social aspect of attending Uni is important - not just for getting legless with other students, but in discussing ideas - and acting together politically.

Like all big institutions, the carbon footprint could be lowered, by reducing heating, conserving energy &c. But those reforms can be brought in without abolishing universities totally. Not that you are saying that of course.

I am grateful and gratified that you have taken the trouble to comment on my humble blog which has 1636 posts.

Just sayin.

DocRichard said...

PS I recently saw one of those depressing studies that showed that home working does not save much power, indeed they said costs more, because the home heating is kept on all day. :(