Keep calm and protest peacefully…

9 Nov

In light of the recent riots earlier this year, many people appear to be anxious about the possible consequences of the student protests happening today in London concerning, the scheduled rise in tuition fees and the possible ‘privatisation’ of Universities. But after the outcome of last year’s student fees protests resulting in violent clashes and the riots of recent, is it any wonder that the public and police are concerned?

This protest comes at a controversial time in London, predominantly due to ‘The Occupy London’ protests at St Pauls Cathedral, which conveniently is where today’s protest rally is headed. Tensions are high and people are angry which is essentially why a heavy police presence is anticipated.

However, what remains different in this particular situation to that of previous protest rallies is that a tactic available for the police this year is ‘the authority to deploy baton rounds in extreme circumstances’ (that is plastic bullets in layman’s terms), so we can all rest assured that there will be no riots tonight surely? I somehow do not think so.

Implementing the use of such violent means of control will only provoke a violent situation to become worse and to me will only lead to more unsettlement amongst people. Next thing you know we’ll be having protests against the police, then who will be controlling those riots?

At what point then, do we say enough is enough?

At what point did sitting down and discussing a dilemma become unfashionable?

At what point did peaceful protest begin to mean the opposite?

Ultimately this protest is about students. Future university students.  Many of whom will not even be present at today’s rallies. Those present at today’s rallies will be current students, those who this rise will more than likely not affect.

It is also important to note that no one is forcing these ‘future’ students to attend university, we now live in a society where there are other, more accessible means of higher education for the masses paired with the fact that this imminent rise in tuition fees will barely be noticeable to most, even when it does come to re-paying the student loan.

As a student myself, with a younger brother who I one day hope will attend university I am baffled by the stupidity of these protests. Surely if these ‘students’ were serious about their education and their university they would:  a) be serious about their degree and put their efforts into their work rather than a protest that shall change nothing except make a hole in our budget after all the police wages have been deducted and;  b) not entertain a possibility of squandering their own institutions reputation by behaving so irresponsibly.

For me there is an underlying issue here, these protests are not about university fees or privatisation but an excuse to communicate dissatisfaction with the current government which is ultimately what led to the August riots.  After all the National Union of Students has stated that whilst they support today’s protest but they did not organise them.

The confused society we live in has its priorities mightily wrong. We’re in the midst of a global recession and unemployment is at a high, much of the public is struggling financially and then we have these students who take it upon themselves to drain public resources by staging a protest regarding a rise in fees. University students who obviously aren’t intelligent enough to see a link between a fall in the economy and a change to try and drive some money back into it.

Personally, whilst the rise in tuition fees has not directly affected me, they will affect me should I go on to undertake postgraduate study, I’m not happy about it but I am intelligent enough to understand that it is the way the economy works. I just hope that in raising the tuitions fees, it shall be enough to not only eradicate ‘Mickey Mouse courses’  such as ‘Leisure Centre Management’ and ‘Casino Management’ but also to dwindle out the applicants who have nothing better to do with their free periods than complain and incite hostility because they are not getting their own way…

Here’s a link to the BBC’s student finance calculator…find out if it really is that bad.

One Response to “Keep calm and protest peacefully…”

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