Yesterday it was different; snow lay like a blanket upon the ground, and in this age of climate change you don’t expect to see much of the white stuff falling from the sky these days in
. I knew we had a good dosage because it felt warmer than of late and one look out of the window gave that confirmation. London
The weather conditions were important to me, because I intended to support the second day of action called by the students’ as part of their ongoing campaign against the raising of tuition fees and education cuts, and as I was resolute having supported the previous day of action last week, I was then miffed off to say the very least that the adverse weather conditions prevented me from doing so. My model and mould of transport would have been the ever reliable pushbike into
Central London about 7 miles if that. However this post is not about any excuses that I can think of for none attendance, for if the roads for bikers like me had they been clear and safe for travel I would have been there and without hesitation. I travel all over London on my pushbike, and that reminds me about something which I read the other week that 6,279 cyclists were fined for riding on pavement and 2,201 for jumping red lights in London this year alone. I think the fine on the spot is about £30 or just over which has become a nice little earner for the old bill, over £188.370 up till now.
But what I really wish to raise with you the reader is that role of the police in this particular struggle between the state, it’s executive and the people or in this case the students. Most ordinary people around us all will think that the police exist to protect them or fight the war on crime and just in general protect us all in our communities. In recent weeks, we have seen the police deployed in preventing students from demonstrating freely against government proposals to increase student tuition fees from £3,375 to as much as £9,000 a year, that’s just about trebling costs to students who by and large raise or finance their further education, and as I understand it by taken on some sort of a loan which they then have to payback once they secure employment, now I have read that many a graduate in most recent times have experienced great difficulty, first finding employment and then paying back a loan which can be up to and over £20,000. So a change in costs would then treble, threefold the amount that has to be paid back? And just who would benefit from this extortion and daylight robbery – would you believe the banks.
In the US which we on this side of the great pond (I realise that I’m going a bit of track here) seem to love copying, have slashed admissions, put down and laid off staff, raised tuition fees, and yet, and yet the remuneration for college presidents have continued to soar in recent years. In 2010, 32.6 percent of college faculties had their salaries reduced, with the average pay cut being three percent. In 2008, the tuition of private colleges increased 4.8 percent after accounting for inflation. The average college president cost each student at his college over $100 in tuition. Will this happen here I do wonder?”
Now getting back onto the track; is it any wonder that thousands of students and their many supporters should now be forced to take to the streets, set-up campus occupations and so on, and of which our media has made much of like a twitching net-curtain spreading misinformation and painting the student movement deliberately black, violent and troublesome.
Three consecutive days of action
Three consecutive days of action have seen the boots and weaponry in particular of the metropolitan and city police brought into play. On the last two outings, and what strikes me the most, is the military machine with all the movements and manoeuvres pre-planned. The most famous by now tactical deployment is the kettle, the police kettle first used and so I’m told 11 years ago. ‘Kettling, also known as containment or corralling is a police tactic incessantly used these days for the management of large crowds during demonstrations or protests. It involves the formation of large cordons of police officers who then move to contain a crowd within a limited area. Protesters are left only one choice of exit, determined by the police, or are completely prevented from leaving rendering them prisoners, detainees can and have been denied access to food, water and toilet facilities for long periods of time. I seen the tactic used twice now on last years G20 demonstration and then at last weeks Westminster Kettle witch fortunately for me I managed to get-out of with my pushbike in tacked. But for a few hundred which included school pupils they were held for seven hours before being released and in the freezing cold.
Laurie Penny of The New Statesman: Pop culture and radical politics with a feminist twist; provides the flavour of last week’s kettle when she wrote the following:
“Take a protest, one whose premise is uncomfortable for the administration - say, yesterday's protest, with thousands of teenagers from all over
London walking out of lessons and marching spontaneously on to voice their anger at government cuts to education funding which will prevent thousands from attending college and university. Toss in hundreds of police officers with riot shields, batons, dogs, armoured horses and meat wagons, then block the protesters into an area of open space with no toilets, food or shelter, for hours. If anyone tries to leave, shout at them and hit them with sticks. It doesn't sound like much, but it's effective.” Westminster
The Trafalgar Squire Kettle
I spent the good part of yesterday afternoon glued to this chair and computer following events in Central London and in other parts of the country as they unfolded on twitter, and with many others I dare say, and what an afternoon that was especially in London were the students and the pupils gave the police not only the run-around but breaking and defying at first the police attempts to kettle them in at Trafalgar Squire, although late afternoon they managed it arresting 153 as a revengeful act and all in very cold arctic winter conditions. The BBC News 24 coverage reported the police as saying that they were containing but not kettling, this was clearly an attempt to regain an ounce of some respect from an open mouth public whose children are fighting for their education and for future generations’ to come.
It is an absolute outrage what’s happening to these young people, and the use that the establishment and government are making of the police by setting them on young people, its vile and discussing, time to take the kettle off I think.