Thursday, 9 December 2010

Ifs and buts and education cuts

I was ashamed and shocked.
First we sent our children out to fight our battles - and then we stood and watched as police horses were set on them.
On Thursday evening I visited Parliament Square and Top Shop on Oxford Street. The protestors were so young. And so brave.
It's all very well making statements in support of students - and against the increases to the cost of education.
But where were the trades unionists and trade union leaders when it really mattered.
We should be standing between the horses and the students - not watching it on telly.

Red Pepper magazine reports from a student occupation
Red Pepper magazine on student demonstrations


  1. You're wrong, Miles. I was there, with my trade union colleagues I was scared and angry. There were hundreds of trades unionists. The police wouldn't let them with their UCU banners into Parliament Square. Some had travelled from Wales and Yorkshire but they weren't allowed to go to the Mother of Parliaments to lobby their MPS.
    The riot police kettled us on the embankment, with the rebel MPs on an opentop bus and union leaders making speeches. We were about three hundred maybe, totally well behaved. But they prevented our candle-lit vigil, giving us plastic glow-sticks instead on 'health and safety' grounds. At one point the MPs stopped the speeches and made us all huddle on one side of the road as a large group of riot police ran down the embankment with batons held high , visors down and shields up. Why? Nothing was happening. One of the speakers commented that she hadn't seen that sort of thing since the miners' strike.
    Afterwards I went to my evening class, and when I came out onto Regent Street the whole West End had been shut down by riot police. Tube stations were closed, buses weren't running.
    Throughout the day police totally outnumbered protestors, and all the grown-up, non-violent demonstrators were forcibly kept away from the small group of trouble-makers so they had no chance to make their point non-violently or to restrain or reason with the hotheads. I felt physically sick as I walked through the West End, seeing police vans lurking in every side street and knowing they we are once again under the jackboot of a police state.
    The next morning - sickness again! Huge headlines about the broken windows, small paragraphs or no mention of the broken heads and broken promises. Where are the journalists when we need them?

  2. Very interesting. Where WERE the journalists? What's going on? If so many trades unionists were there, why were they totally invisible in the media? I didn't hear about them on Twitter either.
    Anonymous, email me if you want to as I'm a freelance journalist. If you contact me at we can talk off-blog.
    Also - thanks for being there.