You could hardly have missed it if you even just glanced at the news today, there was a major protest in London against the tripling of tuition fees, with up to 50,000 people marching. Of course, everyone will talk about the 'violence' at Millbank tower, but that misses the bigger point.
I also said before that it's good to admit when you're wrong, and earlier I was a bit too hyped up to see the damage done by a minority of people. I would never ever sympathise with people who choose to hit innocent policemen, or threaten innocent people. I think my natural instinct to protect the right to protest overrode common sense. Marching, sit-in's and blockade's are fine, but I draw the line at any violent behaviour. That said, I think the media coverage was ridiculously over keen to show Millbank rather than the 50,000 other people and that they are partly to blame for how this protest will be remembered.
I've already done to death the reasons why a rise in tuition fees is a ridiculous idea. It will lead to university once again becoming the preserve of the rich, it will mean the richest students pay less than those in the middle, and it ends up costing the government more, so you can't even say its needed to reduce the deficit. We are constantly told that we as a country can't build a future when we're burdened with massive debts, but expect students to do exactly that.
People say that this protest may even end up hurting the student cause, but I think that the next part of the protest, which hasn't been mentioned in the news much yet, will be the key part.
The NUS are now going to pursue a 'decapitation' route (which sounds cool enough already), aiming to take out high-ranking Lib Dems for their U-turn on tuition fees. Imagine how beautiful it would be if the coalition's own 'Right to recall' power was used to bring down Nick Clegg in Sheffield. I might have defended him a couple of months ago but the way he's acted since getting into power have been nothing short of disgusting.
They will use the 'Right to recall' to force a by-election in University seats where they can count on the student vote to punish Lib Dems who broke their pledges, pledges which were a big part of the reason why they got elected in the first place. Nick Clegg himself, before the General Election, lambasted politicians who broke their promises. Now he will reap what he has sown.
For too long people have accused students of not doing enough to get their voices heard like they once did, the peaceful part of today's protest (hijacked at the end by thugs) shows that they won't roll over on this one.