Claire, who went on the London demo was also in Leeds for yesterday’s magnificent student protests.
The follow up to the national demo happened yesterday with students up and down the country taking to the streets of the towns where they study. The scene in Leeds was thousands of university students, college students and school children marching together to show the government that we will not be silent on this issue which will so effect our future generations education.
It was amazing to see so many kids out on the street and you could feel the energy coming from them and the anger at decisions being made in our name. The police were out in force with a bigger police presence on Leeds University campus than there was in the whole of Whitehall at the London demo. There was obviously a national police consensus that they were going to put on a show of force and not be embarrassed like they were two weeks ago.
In Leeds, there was no confrontation with police but the story in London was different with the police using the unjust technique of ‘kettling’ to pen in demonstrators, of which many will have been children. Kettling, to me is not an effective or just technique; in fact, it is wholly unfair and highly unnecessary. All it does is create more anger and frustration, this time, directed not only at policy, but at the police themselves… and there’s where the media get their story.
Kettling is a good technique if only for grabbing the ‘oxygen’ of media attention Michael Gove wants us to be starved of. If he really wants us to be ‘starved’ of said oxygen, the police need to be told to back off. If he fails to do so it is obvious that the media attention he relishes and desires is the images of protesters reacting against unjust police techniques; then he can attempt to belittle our campaign against huge public support. It won’t work Michael, the public are behind us in the vast majority and you will not take that away with your attempted manipulation.
A new generation are beginning to become politicised and are learning very young what the Tories stand for and they don’t like it. Michael Gove, David Cameron and Nick Clegg are becoming a symbol, not of economic recovery as they would like, but instead, the face of future struggle of the British public. A new generation growing up asking why we are being made to pay for the mistakes of irresponsible and unpunished bankers is not happy and will not rest.
Someone in the crowd yesterday told me that the students are inspiring the general public to take a stand for themselves. We need to all stand together on this, Gove and Co’s attempts at breaking us are weak and will not fool us into believing their excuses and lies. The general public will all stand together and prepare for this battle and show them that they cannot play with our futures and expect us to take it lying down.