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The right to Protest

JamesGarfield 9 915 4 United Kingdom
10 Dec 2010 11:33AM
Rather than keep the conversation going in the grumpy group as ironically they were getting grumpy about it Wink I thought it was time to start another thread.

So yesterday we saw yet another demonstration by the students against the governments plans to increase further education fees. I know a lot of people have different feelings about this but as an opener I thought i'd share my take on it.


I fail to see how a political party can make a pledge as they did on tuition fees to get votes which has helped put them in power albeit in a coalition and then can go back on that pledge. Now I know that some will say that the it's all part of the cuts due to the deficit etc etc but do you really believe that the Conservatives and LibDems really had no idea how bad things were? Governments continually lie to us, we went to war with Iraq because they had WMD but they were never found, 1000's upon 1000's lost their lives, we protested but weren't listened too. We went to war in Afghanistan to stop the Taliban and destroy the poppy plantations, none of that has been achieved and we are now talking about pulling out, so why were we there? What was the point, why did so many of our troops lose their lives for what appears to be nothing?

The Police

I watched the protests for most of the afternoon on Sky news. I watched to Police hitting the protestors with batons purely because the volume of people had pushed the people at the front hard up against the barriers. There was no attempt to get over or move the barriers by the protestors at that point but the police continued to lash out at people, hitting their hands and arms. This ultimately had the effect of turning atmosphere of the protest to violence so yes I do think the actions of the Police played a massive part in turning the crowd violent. I watched them charge into the crowd on horseback and lash out randomly, remember every action gets an equal reaction. Just think back to the G20 protests and the footage that came from those showing Police beating people up and take a moment to remember Ian Tomlinson RIP who died at the hands of the police who hadn't even been part of the protests.


Personally for me these protests are about the bigger picture, it's not just about student fees it's about the current state of the country and the failure of the British governments and by that I mean all parties to keep to their promises. A lot of innocent people have lost a lot due to this recession because some idiot in the City or on Wall Street played poker with everyones money & I am angry about it. We must not lose sight of the fact that we bailed out the banks with public money and we are now being expected to pay again with our jobs, increased taxes and education.

I'm angry, B****y angry about things & I truly hope we see more protests, I hope we see strikes, I'm fed up with being spoon fed lies by successive governments who's policies are to tax the working man to an inch of his life to keep him down yet they let companies like Vodafone off a 6BILLION tax bill. It's about time people in this country got angry and made their feelings known I know it's not the British way but someone once said that if you tolerate this then your children will be next.

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edsephiroth 11 169 9 United Kingdom
10 Dec 2010 12:13PM
Couldn't agree more - although it seems the country is becoming increasingly polarised - on the one had you have this mass of tabloid-reading (and I include the Daily Mail in that) dullards who really believe they have the finger on the pulse who do and will continue to ignore (because even if they are intelligent peopple, they're not actually particuarly thoughful or insightful people) stories about banks being bailed out to the tune of billions while their directors walk away with armfuls of our cash, MP's sucking the country dry for expenses, wars being fought for oil, and the highest earners in the county avoiding trillions of pounds in taxes through loopholes and offshore bank accounts to focus on what they're told to focus on - the same drivel as usual that the reason the country's on the slide is because of greedy students, greedy dole-scroungers, greedy single mother, greedy foreigners and greedy unionists. And on the other side of that polarisation you have the people who are actually paying attention to whats happening and, probably most importantly, are NOT getting their version of the world from right-wing newspapers and media. Since the retards who do swallow every line they are fed (again, despite in some cases being reasonably intelligent people) represent such a large portion of the country, politicians have got used to the idea (for years now) that you can say whatever you want, DO something completely different, and then point the finger at some other scapegoat and the tabloid-reading masses will quickly forget, and until very recently they've been absolutely right about that. Well there are swelling ranks of people now who are sick of being constantly ripped off and treated like fools - and unfortunately, peaceful protests are COMPLETELY IGNORED, thats why this is happening, and will continue to happen increasingly.
miyaguchi 8 136 United Kingdom
10 Dec 2010 12:28PM

Quote:This ultimately had the effect of turning atmosphere of the protest to violence

What do you expect the Police to do, stand idly by whilst metal barriers, glass bottles, and fire extinguishers come raining down on them?

The police cannot do right, under policing as in the first protest and get criticised, over policing as in the second and third demonstrations and get criticised. They cannot win.

If this were happening in any other country in the world there would be a lot more than the baton charges. Peaceful demonstrations all well and good but if the mob are intent on causing damage then the police should get stuck in. Bring on the water cannons, bring on the CS gas, bring on the rubber bullets, if the 'student' scumbags want trouble bring it on.
mattw 14 5.2k 10 United Kingdom
10 Dec 2010 12:29PM
The cut backs will always be painful, but I do think education is the wrong area to cut back - and it also very bad to saddle young people with so much debt before they even start work.

The credit crunch was caused by spiralling personal debt and poorly regulated banks. Yet here we are in 2010, and we are increasing personal debt and doing nothing at all about baking regulation....

If we as a country wish to get ourselves out of the financial mire, then we should increase spending on education rather then cut it back.

The new proposals are not about cutting back in the short term to reduce the financial deficit, but changing the way higher education is run for the long term.

As for the Lib Dems.... they are the smaller partner in the collation, so they cannot have everything they want - however that is one hell of a concession they have made. They really needed to say 'We have made this concession, and this is what we have got for it'. But right now, what have they for making this concession?
Carabosse 15 41.1k 270 England
10 Dec 2010 12:31PM

Quote:Governments continually lie to us

So we should surely be used to it by now? Wink

To believe anything a political puppet says may be a touch naive. Let's remember that's all politicians are, viz. puppets. They exist to give us the illusion that we have some say in how the country is run. We don't.

It is run by unelected vested interests to whom all politicians, of whatever party, have to bend the knee - whatever they may spout when out of office. Some of us have seen this at close quarters and at first hand.
strawman 14 22.1k 16 United Kingdom
10 Dec 2010 12:54PM
I think protest has its correct place and is healthy as at least it shows someone cares. Violent protest, no, but there needs to be a way for ordinary people to get a voice. And I can understand why people are getting angry. I am against this policy change mainly because it does not tackle the problem of education costs, and in the short term increases the burden on the Tax payer, i.e there is a fair chance it increases the cost as it all goes on increased loans and who provides the loan, none other than the UK government.

And when will that money get re-paid, about 10 to 15 years time . At best they have moved the budget from one area to another, at worst they have opened the way for education costs to rise and so through the loans the government gets a hit in the 10 year window, the students a longer term hit. And they have done nothing about the situations where degrees are taken that do not result in well paid jobs, in fact they have increased the quantity of people who will not trigger re-payment costing us more.

So my problem with the education reform is that it does not address the economic issues and does not help poor old UK PLC.

One thing that irritates me about all sides is they are not willing to just sit down and spell out exactly what the situation is. To my understanding the UK government in 09-10 raised about 500 billion in Taxes and spent about 670 billion, i.e the debt is rising @ 170 billion per year. Interest alone over 27B and it is set to nearly double. Education was @ 66B so even cutting it out entirely would still leave us in trouble.

So the problem as I see it is we in the UK need to pay more taxes/cut government spending significantly just to stand still. So add 85B to tax and cut 85 from spending to stand still. So anyone for a 17% increase in total taxes and a 12% reduction in state spending. So in my world there would be

1 Education a removal of state funding from a number of University places and an increase in Distance/web based training (lets use technology to improve home study). Target uni funding to UK PLC financially viable areas. Cut the costs, not vital areas. In short focus efforts.
2 An increase to retirement age with retirement age rising from 65 by a year every 2 years till it is 70
3 Means tested state pension
4 Increased taxing, base @ 20%, then 25%, then 35%, then 45%. also the ability for people to share tax allowance as long as they surrender
5 Removal of child allowance, it would instead be covered by welfare for un-employed and tax allowance for employed.
6 Removal of state subsidy for under 5 childcare/preschool
7 Caps on rent support for those un-employed.
8 No state subsidy/benefits for children who's parents became pregnant while on benefits.
9 Improved tax relief for savings.
10 Re-start council house building, but it is aimed at those who are one benefits as the current rent scheme favours landlords. Once you are in work etc then you move back to either paying the full commercial rent or move out.

And they said I was a soft leftie. Wink

The problem is if we do not get the debt under control then we will spiral into even harsher cuts as one day the loans will need re-paying and we will all suffer. I want an NHS that is free for all, so I need to pay for it. I want a welfare system that protects those that have been unlucky and I want a system that helps people put their life back together again whether it is recovering from illness or facing financial hardship such as unemployment, but I want it to favour those who are trying and help them rather than encouraging people to opt out and live off benefits.

But I fear that politicians are not grasping or communicating the financial imbalance.
strawman 14 22.1k 16 United Kingdom
10 Dec 2010 1:03PM
Oh and I forgot,

11 Kill off devolution either have one government, or separate countries, or save money and take away those hot air houses and get the same taxes and everything else in the country. The benefits anomalies between the regions is neither fair nor reasonable. If the SNP want an independent country go for it, just take a look at Ireland and offset the UK government subsidies against the oil revenue before you mention the oil again. Its life swings and roundabouts.
peted01 9 75 United Kingdom
10 Dec 2010 1:12PM
I have photographed at loads of protests EDL/UAF, G20 Student protests and I for one stand by the police, in the main they are good natured, calm and do a difficult job. They only get nasty when somebody is hitting them, spitting in their face etc etc, I for one would not have the patience that I have witnessed they have. It is all a game between a small minority of trouble makers and the police of who dominates the situation. Even last sunday as a tog at a student protest some so called 'students' tried to hassle me and tried to dominate me, I just told them to f..k off which they did, the real students are an ok bunch and not there for trouble.

I also believe in free speech, but not violence.

I also spent 15 years in the military and have done my bit.

Do I trust ANY politician, no of course not, no matter which party they represent. Why are people sooo surprised that Clegg and otheres reanged on the deal.
brian1208 Plus
15 11.4k 12 United Kingdom
10 Dec 2010 1:25PM
Politician are not to be trusted - true

Political protests are the right of every member of this country - true


Riotous behaviour is against the law and the infiltration of peaceful, law abiding protest by those who carry it out must never be tolerated or excused

"They made me do it" as an excuse for unlawful and violent behaviour should not become the accepted norm (as appears to be the case here and in the country as a whole)
cameracat 14 8.6k 61 Norfolk Island
10 Dec 2010 1:28PM

Quote:The Police

I watched the protests for most of the afternoon on Sky news.

Whilst its easy to be judgmental from the comfort of your armchair, All nice and safe feet up watching it all unfold on a telly.....Smile

Its a whole different matter when your on the " Front Line " trying to (A) Maintain law & Order, (B) Prevent yourself or one of your colleagues from becoming yet another casualty.

Lets not forget that among the genuine student protesters, There was a more sinister group out to cause as much trouble as possible, There have been reports of these individual actually harming each other, Just so they can blame it on " Police Brutality " ......!!!!!!


Bottom line, Cuts need to be made in all areas, If everyone who thinks they are a special case won their argument, NO cuts would ever be made.

In the current climate its a case of " Put Up or Shut Up " Be thankful you don't live in China........Tongue
Big Bri 17 16.4k United Kingdom
10 Dec 2010 1:38PM
As one reporter said on the radio this morning, "If they were students, they were mature ones judging by their age, and not very good ones, judging by their spelling". I'm all for free protest, but a riot is a riot. I hope anyone found guilty of a crime related to the "protest" is banned from Uni...

Anyway, I don't get this idea that everyone is entitled to a free education up to university level. Why ? We don't have enough jobs for everyone who already has a degree. Years of Labour government telling people they should "better themselves" and go to University undervalues those jobs that don't need a degree. Pretty soon, we'll have a nation of graduates sitting at home unemployed living off a tiny benefit paid from the taxes of all the foreign workers we get to come and do all the jobs we think are too menial.

I got a grant to go to University, and every year I pay more in tax than my entire grant, so I think I've paid back my dues to the country. If everyone could do the same, fine, let the state pay for their education, but they can't. There aren't enough jobs. It's just left wing "political correctness" that thinks everyone should be entitled to a degree, even if that degree is useless.

rant over.
JamesGarfield 9 915 4 United Kingdom
10 Dec 2010 1:48PM

Quote:Whilst its easy to be judgmental from the comfort of your armchair, All nice and safe feet up watching it all unfold on a telly.....

Its a whole different matter when your on the " Front Line " trying to (A) Maintain law & Order, (B) Prevent yourself or one of your colleagues from becoming yet another casualty.

Well I know what I saw.
simont 14 2.3k 4 England
10 Dec 2010 1:48PM
At least the horses had a good time charging the 'students'Smile

Should have used water cannons on them as well Smile
Big Bri 17 16.4k United Kingdom
10 Dec 2010 1:49PM

Quote:Well I know what I saw.

Indeed - but there may be a lot more you didn't see
JamesGarfield 9 915 4 United Kingdom
10 Dec 2010 1:53PM
Well i don't think I can comment on what i didn't see lol

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