“Nick Clegg is the biggest joke in British politics.”
– David Cameron, before the election.
As students take to the streets for a second round of marching, London is bracing itself for more direct action. Thousands and thousands are marching as I type this, across London in what they are calling “Day X”. It is another chance for the voice to be heard, over the subject of tuition fees. Students have balls. As I said in a previous blog, we need to not worry about what Middle England thinks.
The BBC is reporting how awful direct action is. How they think students stayed home because it got violent last time. 0.26% of the protesters last time got violent. I personally wish more direct action would take place. But nonetheless, hardly any of it got violent. The BBC is becoming the voice of Middle England, and no one else.
The police have blocked Parliament Square. I have no idea why.
The protests are happening across the Country. London is getting violent at the moment, Cambridge has a large scale protest taking place with them invading their Senate House, Bristol’s protest is massive. 2000 people have circled Sheffied Town Hall. I wandered through Leicester earlier, and spotted a couple of hundred people protesting. Liberal Democrat HQ in London is ringed by police, and the street cut off. A show of solidarity from our Scottish friends, as they are doing a sit down protest outside Lib Dem HQ in Edinburgh.
It is a Winter of awakening.
I hope they break the police line and burn Lib Dem HQ to the ground.
The great John Pilger:
“There is no other way now. Direct action. Civil disobedience. Unerring. Read Shelley and do it. Born of the “never again” spirit of 1945, social democracy has surrendered to an extreme political cult of money worship. This reached its apogee when £1trn of public money was handed unconditionally to corrupt banks by a Labour government whose leader, Gordon Brown, had previously described “financiers” as the nation’s “great example” and his personal “inspiration”.
This is not to say parliamentary politics is meaningless. It has one meaning now: the replacement of democracy with a business plan for every human activity, every dream, every decency, every hope, every child born.”
– John Pilger
Back in April, Nick Clegg, and the Liberal Democrat Party won the votes of thousands of students, including my own, with his solemn pledge to abandon tuition fees altogether. They got into Coalition, and have instead chosen to raise the tuition fee cap from around £3,300 to £9000. That is a massive increase. I certainly wouldn’t have considered coming to University had that been the case.
Yesterday, a Nick Clegg who seems to have lost all credibility and support, said this:
“Examine our proposals before taking to the streets. Listen and look before you march and shout,”
I am not sure the man could be more patronising if he tried. We have examined the proposal. In fact, I sat last night and read through it, again and again, trying to see what i’ve missed, what is it that is good for us students, what have we got from this? I came up with this list; The tripling of tuition fees, to £9000 a year, also came with the policy of pay-nothing-back until you earn over £21,000 a year, compared to the £15,000 limit in place now. Most Universities will rise tuition fees to around £6000, with top Universities charging up to £9000. This is meaningless. I don’t care if i’m paying back £1 a year, the fact that I would leave university with well over £40,000 of debt, when you include living costs, before i’d even reached my 21st birthday, is ludicrous. If I have three children, and they want to go to University, that is going to amount £110,000+ worth of debt that my children end up with. Couple this, with the fact that England’s University budget has been cut by £449m, the teaching budget cut by £215mn, and Educational Maintenence Allowance (which I relied on to get me through college) scrapped, this does not represent a progressive plan for students.
Clegg talks as if we should be thanking him for tripling fees as opposed to scrapping them. As if we don’t understand the proposal. We understand perfectly well, we’re just not despicable Tories. Clegg is. There is nothing positive or progressive in the plans. Absolutely nothing.
The Universities Minister David Willetts said the proposals represent a:
“‘good deal for universities and for students”
Firstly, this isn’t a “deal”. We didn’t agree to this. Students and Universities are having this forced on them, by a Government that does not have a mandate to do it.
Interesting comments from Willetts. This from a man who went to University when it was free. This from a man who claimed £2,191 in Parliamentary expenses, for, amongst other jobs around the house that contribute in no way to his duties as an MP; paying workmen to change 25 lightbulbs in his house. Another £1,400 on plumbing work. Not to mention the £143,764 Mr Willetts claimed of taxpayers money he claimed on his second home allowance.
The BBC present it all one way. The real story is not the smashing of a few windows but the smashing of the welfare state. We will continue, until they change their policy, or we bring the Government down.
– Simon Hardy, student leader, interview on BBC News.
What would represent an even greater deal for students, would be if the Government hadn’t just allowed Vodaphone to get away with not paying the £4.8bn they allegedly avoided paying in tax. Allowing them to get away with such widespread abuse, whilst punishing the youngest and the most vulnerable, ie; placing the burden of the debt on the shoulders of the poor, and of 18 year olds, is going to cause mayhem.
I encourage the future generation to disregard anything the older generation has to say on who has the right to go to university. They got it wrong on the economy over the past thirty years, on housing over the past thirty years, on the climate over the past thirty years, on every-fucking-thing they touched.
To hear them lecture us on who deserves to go to uni, and who can come to Britain, is laughable. You had your chance, you failed. Fuck off.
Especially the Conservative lot. In love with free market Tories like Thatcher and Cameron, yet absolutely anti-free market in practice, more so than me. They want government to decide who deserves to go to University, they want government to decide what degrees are worthwhile, they want government to decide what migrant workers can come in. They want to tell government exactly whom companies should be employing, based on their place of birth. They want government to interfere with the market when it suits them. And then they expect us to take them seriously?
They appear to think that the only objective to education, is to earn money and nothing else. It is a deliberate attempt to rid us of conscientious people. Thatcher once told a girl in around 1988, that her degree in “Ancient Norse Literature” …was… “What a luxury“. Thatcher saw no value in a study of another culture and history, because there was no immediate economic value. We need people like that girl, people need to know about these things, their knowledge enriches culture. “What a luxury” suggests if there is little direct economic value, there is no value. That is the view of the older generation. We do not want a market based education system.
And again, if the past thirty – forty years had been amazing, then i might be inclined to agree with them. In fact, we’ve got a fucked climate that no one seems to give two shits about, the rise of the far right and xenophobic racism, wage stagnation on a level never seen before, illegal wars, no houses, and the biggest financial crash in living memory. They started the fire, and now they’re telling us how to put the fire out, and it appears to be with a bit more fuel. Forgive me for thinking they deserve no credibility whatsoever.
If the economy is to go on being as it was; i.e based entirely on easy credit, and money that doesn’t actually exist yet, and speculating that it might do in the future (which in turn causes crashes like subprime) then yes, we should follow the demands of the older generation. The generation that caused all the problems in the first place. If we want change, and a new way of doing things, then we should stick two fingers up to them, and tell them to stop fucking lecturing us on what a young person should do with their life. We need critical thinkers and a massive range of experts in as many fields as possible, so we don’t all become like the older generation. It is worth a try, because the old way didn’t work, it failed us all miserably.
Clegg today told the BBC he “massively regrets” having to break his pledge on tuition fees. If these new proposals are so great, why does he regret it? Apparently us students should be mightily happy.
Fight the cuts.
Fight the coalition.
Sit ins throughout Universities.
Close off the streets.
Break police lines.
Direct Action across the Country.