13 December 2010

Shades of 1968

I went to university in 1968 when there was revolution in the air. I have to confess that I was a well-behaved little lad, studying far too hard to participate in demonstrations. But my sympathies have always belonged to the protestors; and we learned to distrust the police who seldom missed an opportunity to harass students (whether they were protesting or not).

And so it is today. I cannot deny that that the demonstrating students over the past month include a minority intent on a rumble but the overwhelming majority are respectable citizens of the future. Which is why this sort of thing is unconscionable:

Kettling is illegal elsewhere and it certainly should be here. I speak as someone who was kettled in Parliament Square and Westminster Bridge last Thursday, one of several thousand people held for nine hours at zero degrees without food, water, heat, toilets.

The widely reproduced photograph of a youth urinating against the plinth of Winston Churchill's statue during the protest over tuition fees provides a disrespectful image, but kettling represents disrespect on a premeditated, industrial scale: degrading conditions of confinement enforcing the shame of performing one's natural functions in public. Put in the same position, where exactly would the Chief Constable have urinated?

And now the Home Secretary is contemplating the introduction of water cannons. Does she not realise that she is proposing to put the boot into middle class children whose parents will never forgive either the Tories or the police? It is bad enough for the Tories to assault the working classes and the so-called revolutionaries but beating up children is not really a good idea.


Richard T said...

Well if you listen to the Metropolitan Commissioner, those showing the Kronprinz what life, outwith his cocoon of over privilege, might be like were lucky not to have been shot. How long before the EngLish Ministry of Terror waits to soften folk up for the Tasers to be deployed? Declaration of interest - I'm about the same vintage as you - I went to Uni in 1966.

Laura n'Order said...

'Intent on a rumble'? Typical lefty down-playing of some pretty vicious assaults.

Richard T said...

By whom? The polis doing their usual job of taking out the fears of authority on the body of the people?

Laura n'Order said...

By thuggish anarchists and north London gangs using genuine student protest as an excuse for violence. No protest vilece, no couter police violence. Simples.