Just spotted this. Despite angry bloke with megaphone trying to recruit me every time I went though the door to the university library, I didn't go to any of the protests. I had exams. I don't agree with the rise in fees, and Nick Clegg is a bloody traitor... What he did was absolutely disgusting. You expect politicians to bend the truth a little, but to go from 'abolish tuition fees' to 'make tuition fees fucking gigantic' it pushing it a little. But the media screw up my opinions of everything else so I have no idea what I think any more.
So. Balanced (if confused) opinion from a student, I suppose.
Luke, there's no point in arguing that it wasn't a minority, because it obviously was. No matter how many people you see in those shots of the flames and pepper spray and whatever else, logically speaking they cannot possibly all have been starting fires. Of course it was a minority; there were tens of thousands of people there.
Most people there were just marching and waving banners and chanting a bit. And yes, like you said, they did go off course, but all that means is that the people at the front (or some of them) went off course and the others followed them, because it's a march, and being part of the crowd is sort of the point. Wandering around on your own with a placard is unlikely to have much of an effect. I don't think everyone who didn't stay on the planned route is automatically out to cause trouble. And actually, as I understand it, the planned route was changed at the last minute, which is also a bit shit.
Some people are idiots. Chucking stuff at Charles and Camilla's car was ridiculous: no matter how you frame it, they're an elderly couple, with no power whatsoever over education, trying to go out for the night. And setting fires and chucking bricks isn't exactly smart. Then again neither is pepper spraying people for no apparent reason or charging schoolkids with horses. As someone who spends most of her time in university, I can reliably say that there is a tiny minority of militant vegetarians, and people whose sole purpose seems to be always having something to shout about, trying to sign you up to a new cause every week. But mostly it's full of people with heads down working hard for what they want and what they love. I resent the 'bloody students' comment, Murcott
That's it I suppose. As you were.