Friday, December 10, 2010

London's Burning (again)

Student protests in London yesterday - again - as the government voted to triple the tuition fee for university students, one of the things Nick Clegg (below) said he wouldn't do. But that was before it was a condition of him having power over the hordes. Not the first campaign pledge ever broken.

But it does seem to have struck a nerve. Young students are on the march for the first time in years, and good for them. Many of them, in the news reports, seemed a little shell-shocked that the police didn't smile and hand out cocoa, but instead beat them up and "kettled" them, a British term for crowding protesters inside fences out in the open for sufficient hours for them to freeze, or their bladders to burst or their insulin to run out, or whatever it otherwise takes to shut them up, and then letting the survivors out when it's too late to take the last tube train home. In the meantime, the Met used their usual tactics, like pulling someone out of a wheelchair and dragging him on the ground for being 'too close to the police horses'. (I read somewhere that some of them had brought olive oil to reduce the police horses' traction. Must have been boy scouts; always prepared. Apparently ball bearings work well during a cavalry charge on an asphalt road. Just sayin'.)

(c) Google

In order to avoid the worst of the beatings and kettlings, the students organized a Google Map update rota that showed, more or less in real time, where the major horses, truncheons and Black Mariahs were, the golfing four on the A308, below, being a team of riot cops. From what I hear this didn't work particularly well, but it's a start and I'm sure the next one will be even better.

(c) Google

Violence begats violence, and a bunch of sixth-formers and pimply first-years who probably never had an anti-establishment thought in their lives are now radicalized, and indeed, some of them chanced upon Chuck and Cam, the Prince of Wales and his wife, heir to the British throne, in an unarmored Rolls-Royce. They paint bombed it and shouted "Off with their heads!" at the prince. I'm almost sorry for poor Charlie. He's nearly a non-combatant in the class war as he's so far up on the top edge (and mentally so far from reality) I'm surprised he still has a corporeal entity that can be transported in a roller. Anyway, the crowd didn't follow through with their threat. The policemen who were supposed to be escorting the roller are thinking about what went wrong right now, and were, according to the news reports, a little cagey about whether they were authorized to fire on the protesters. Now THAT would have made headlines. England's own Bloody Sunday or Kent State.


Mike said...

Yes, our street protests were a sad affair compared to those of the Greeks or the French. Necessitating the playing of the Trump Card: the Royal Family. Cue media explosion.

Elsewhere: I told the students occupying the Jeremy Bentham room at UCL that they'd made a grave tactical error. They should have occupied the Nelson Mandela bar or the Steve Biko bar. Does that date me?

Peromyscus said...

Not as much as it dates them. I mean, Jeremy Bentham? Isn't he dead?

Carol said...

Well,he did found the college. When I was there the Steve Biko bar was on the third floor of the union building, and not that comfy. JB is in the cloisters, a slightly more picturesque surrounding.


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