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#1 Edited by Sweep (9023 posts) -

As many of you will be aware, today was the second wave of student protests over government budget cuts to the British education system. The cuts plan to raise university fees from £3000 to £9000 a year, as well as removing the weekly EMA [Educational maintenance allowance] that low income families receive, and removing all funding for many university subjects such as the arts. Many students are particularly annoyed with the deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg who promised that, if elected, he would remove tuition fees completely. His party is the smaller half of the current government coalition and since forming this coalition his plans for the education system seem to have been ignored. Many people are unhappy about this.

You can read all about it here: 
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-11829102   
http://www.guardian.co.uk/education/2010/nov/24/student-protests-school-children-streets   
 
         

As the news reports roll in you can see that the protests literally spanned the entire country and the, well, results have varied. The general protest was a walk-out, where thousands of students, lecturers and teachers from around the country all simply dropped what they were doing and took to the streets. In London, for example, thousands of students showed up in Whitehall and clashed with riot police, then opted to smash up a police van. Or maybe it was the other way around? I forget.

Other student groups have occupied public and government buildings. Earlier today I took part in a march on Bournemouth town center with about 500 other students and we sat in the middle of a busy street in the middle of town obstructing traffic for a couple of hours, for example.  

I figured that there will be a decent amount of British students using giantbomb, at least some of you must have taken part in some form of protest?

 Even if you didn't directly take part, if there is anything from today that you would like to share, feel free to post it here.
   
  • Friendly neighbourhood moderator Mracoon has taken part in an organised sit-in, occupying a building and refusing to leave (for 31 hours, as I write this) as a form of peaceful protest. He was thoughtful enough to provide a live video feed, I know he would appreciate it if you dropped by to show him some love and support.  
  • Really nice article here (From the Guardian) about kids as young as 14 taking part in the protests.
  • An article written about the Bournemouth march I took part in in the local newspaper.
  • Video of kids smashing up police van.
  • BBC picture feed of protests from around the country.
 
 
  
  
 

Politics!

Moderator
#2 Posted by Red12b (9086 posts) -

I wish I could join,

 

being in proves difficult

 

thank Christ we haven't had to slash and burn...yet

 

   

#3 Posted by Joeybagad0nutz (1438 posts) -

Wish I was over there. And damn was that Harry Potter going against that police officer?
#4 Posted by Snail (8675 posts) -

My opinion when it comes to these subjects can boil down to a rather short but nonetheless valid sentence, I believe:
 

How will smashing vans fix anything?


Seriously, the guy in the last picture describes that one of those adolescent stereotypes that I simply cannot avoid to hate: poorly dressed, foolishly idealistic, most likely pseudo-intellectual, idiotically vandalizing government/private property believing that will make a difference? There he stands, all full of himself, making a show for everyone, fighting for his rights in the most immature way possible. Despicable. I respect Mracoon for the sit-in you mentioned: it demonstrates how unhappy the group of people that took part in the protest are, without hurting or destroying anything.
 
But honestly, we've seen the violent sort of riots happen over and over. Basically people who have not met life yet and have not met disillusionment and cynicism, shouting out with all the energy of their youth for some cause. The cause is valid, but what on earth are they doing to fix it? Drawing graffiti that read "REVoLuTIon"? Grow up.
#5 Posted by ryanwho (12082 posts) -

Anarchy kids are fucking stupid and kind of deflate any legitimacy in a protest. 

#6 Posted by mracoon (4984 posts) -

Thanks for the plug. The camera's off now because people are sleeping but I'll turn it back on in the morning. It's surprising the amount of people who are willing to watch people sitting down for hours on end. It's been a lot of fun though and it's great to see occupations happening at universities right across the UK.

Moderator
#7 Posted by owl_of_minerva (1455 posts) -

Anarchy and vandalism is preferable to apathetically taking it in the ass. I've noticed a few petitions filtering down from Britain regarding arts faculties getting shut, such as Middlesex's well-respected continental philosophy program, which is bullshit. Hope the struggle against corporate restructuring has some success.

#8 Posted by Meteora (5789 posts) -

The tuition fee increase is just absurd. They need to stand up against this.

#9 Posted by Inkerman (1455 posts) -

While not in Britain (I will be soon), I do keep up with the politics there, and many of the cuts seem to have been mismanaged. I understand that cuts need to be made (but I don't see why the Government can't simply confiscate some of banks' profits after they bailed them out), but they're being cut in the wrong places, for example I think the ditching of the Ark Royal and the Harrier jets was a disgrace, on top of this education thing.

#10 Posted by ryanwho (12082 posts) -
@owl_of_minerva said:
" Anarchy and vandalism is preferable to apathetically taking it in the ass. I've noticed a few petitions filtering down from Britain regarding arts faculties getting shut, such as Middlesex's well-respected continental philosophy program, which is bullshit. Hope the struggle against corporate restructuring has some success. "
That's fine and all, but anarchy boy is posing for the camera like a catwalk model. Im not sure what statement is being made other than "look at me, people with cameras! I'm what a protest is supposed to look like." Very superficial.
#11 Edited by Emilio (3380 posts) -
@Sweep:
 
Physical violent protest should be the last and final resort, never the first or second or third. 
Violence to the physical will not change things for the better. There needs to be violence by word and by thought. 
  
I'm glad those humans are standing up for something. I mean, by your words, you are saying they are trying to triple tuition and make it difficult for low income families to go to school. They are trying, intentionally or not, to keep as many people as possible from being educated. 
 
I just hope the young ones do not resort to "fake" anarchy and vandalism. If they want this, they must do it widespread, and they must be ready to be jailed for the crime, and they must be ready to be physically injured. Otherwise, keep on with the peace and make your voices heard every day, all day, until it is burnt in the minds of everyone who can see and hear what is going on.
#12 Posted by owl_of_minerva (1455 posts) -
@ryanwho:  Oh I don't disagee in that instance, people will want their fifteen minutes of fame, whether it contributes anything to their cause or not. More a response to the general "oh let's be all limpwristed and liberal about it when tuition fees are set to triple and quality of education set to degrade."
#13 Posted by HitmanAgent47 (8576 posts) -

They are trying to dumb down the U.K and it's important to get more intellegent ppl there. If you are in the U.K, here is a cause that's worth protesting. I'm sure you wouldn't want your education system to be at the level of the united states. Well united states at least has decent universities.

#14 Posted by HandsomeDead (11863 posts) -

It's hilarious how, last year, lectures were only ever half full, essays were always handed in late and now the fees are going up, everyone's complaining. As expected, British students only care because they've got to pay more for their three year holiday now and these Topman cunts acting out V For Vendetta just make the whole thing look like an embarrassment.

#15 Posted by OREOphosphate (46 posts) -

I hate that there will be a rise in university fees....But i hate smelly protesters or "Anarchy kids" more! also nice to see this being discussed on this site. 

#16 Posted by Claude (16255 posts) -

Good thing you guys don't live in the U.S. You would burn this place down.

#17 Posted by ryanwho (12082 posts) -
@Claude said:
" Good thing you guys don't live in the U.S. You would burn this place down. "
I don't want to speak out of turn but I think the states actually have more tuition assistance programs than the UK.
#18 Posted by TaliciaDragonsong (8609 posts) -
#19 Posted by Claude (16255 posts) -
@ryanwho said:
" @Claude said:
" Good thing you guys don't live in the U.S. You would burn this place down. "
I don't want to speak out of turn but I think the states actually have more tuition assistance programs than the UK. "
Sorry, I was talking about public schools. My bad.
#20 Posted by JonathanMoore (1858 posts) -

For real, UK Rules.

#21 Edited by Hamz (6846 posts) -

When I was in school EMA was a complete joke. It was so easy to doctor the application forms and the money was never used as intended. We used it primarily to buy booze, cigarettes and weed at the weekend and generally fund our social lives as teenagers.  
 
I'm not surprised to see it being scrapped. It's probably half the reason the so called 'under age drinking problem' exists in the UK!

#22 Posted by Claude (16255 posts) -
@Hamz said:
" When I was in school EMA was a complete joke. It was so easy to doctor the application forms and the money was never used as intended. We used it primarily to buy booze and weed at the weekend and generally fund our social lives as teenagers.   I'm not surprised to see it being scrapped. It's probably half the reason the so called 'under age drinking problem' exists in the UK! "
I can't find the facts. But I remember commenting on some threads about the good monies to be had. It could be used to buy video games as well. Right?
#23 Posted by ZombiePie (5789 posts) -
@ryanwho:  Even without tuition assistance (I'm Middle Class) 15 credits in a State college in California is still under $3,000 per semester. I live off campus (rent an apartment) so that also saves me money. I have no idea how much my fifth year to get my credentials will cost me.
 
Anyways from what I have heard is that most of the protests have been peaceful and to those students more power to you.
Moderator
#24 Posted by supermike6 (3656 posts) -

So by breaking shit (that'll cause more government money to be used in repairs) they hope that the government will want to give them more money. 
 
Makes sense to me.

#25 Posted by Jasta (2217 posts) -

Its still free in Scotland, sucks to be England. 

#26 Posted by iam3green (14390 posts) -

well good for them. i wish i was there. it sounds like fun to protest in a peaceful way. i never been in one.

#27 Posted by JammyJesus (771 posts) -

Yeah, sorry about that.

#28 Edited by Mars_Cleric (1595 posts) -

yes show them how intelligent and reasonable you are by smashing cars and fighting 
that way they're sure to help fund your education 
 
also here in Aus I'm pretty sure Labor was coming to the unis saying they'll eliminate fees but they've been in power for a while now and still I'm 14 grand in debt 
never trust a polly
#29 Posted by keyhunter (3207 posts) -

Sucks for you people!
The government pays me to go to school. And my tuition is tax deduct-able. 

#30 Posted by GlenTennis (3146 posts) -

I wonder if they are checking into FourSquare while they riot like during the SF "riots" after the Giants won the World Series. Seriously America forgot how to stage protests.

#31 Posted by Detrian (1126 posts) -

Wow people really don't understand how protests put pressure on the goverment? Really? Reeeeaally?
 
I don't know what's worse, that or the people dismissing the protest because the people dress "funny".

#32 Posted by Arker101 (1472 posts) -
 Good luck to the peaceful protesters. 
 
@Snail
said:
"My opinion when it comes to these subjects can boil down to a rather short but nonetheless valid sentence, I believe:
 

How will smashing vans fix anything?

Seriously, the guy in the last picture describes that one of those adolescent stereotypes that I simply cannot avoid to hate: poorly dressed, foolishly idealistic, most likely pseudo-intellectual, idiotically vandalizing government/private property believing that will make a difference? There he stands, all full of himself, making a show for everyone, fighting for his rights in the most immature way possible. Despicable. I respect Mracoon for the sit-in you mentioned: it demonstrates how unhappy the group of people that took part in the protest are, without hurting or destroying anything.  But honestly, we've seen the violent sort of riots happen over and over. Basically people who have not met life yet and have not met disillusionment and cynicism, shouting out with all the energy of their youth for some cause. The cause is valid, but what on earth are they doing to fix it? Drawing graffiti that read "REVoLuTIon"? Grow up. "

I whole heartedly agree.
#33 Posted by jonnyboy (2920 posts) -

That's gotta be the only Red phone box left in the UK, and look what those soap-dodging cunts did to it.
 
 
Where am I gonna get my tart-cards now?

#34 Posted by Ineedaname (4319 posts) -

=D I was totally part of the Liverpool one.
 
Win.

#35 Posted by mikevanpwn (401 posts) -

Yeah!  Go UK!  Protest because the government can no longer afford all the programs you think you're entitled to!

#36 Posted by HandsomeDead (11863 posts) -
@Ineedaname said:
" =D I was totally part of the Liverpool one.  Win. "
I can't imagine it looked any different to Concert Square on a friday night.
#37 Posted by Ineedaname (4319 posts) -
@HandsomeDead said:
" @Ineedaname said:
" =D I was totally part of the Liverpool one.  Win. "
I can't imagine it looked any different to Concert Square on a friday night. "
The women had more clothes than normal on.
It was fairly cold.
#38 Posted by RandomHero666 (3185 posts) -

I am behind this, more people need to stand up against the wankers.
 
Sweep I want to see you on the news some day..

#39 Posted by yinstarrunner (1247 posts) -

Aaaaand that's what happens when the people of a country are dependent on their government's social programs.  When cuts need to be made, people go apeshit.
 
Just a generalized statement, as I know nothing about the UK's education system or their politics as a whole.

#40 Edited by Zimbo (875 posts) -

To put this into perspective for the Americans. After doing an average three year degree you will most likely be $42,570 in debt. 

Great way to start out your career isn't it. After all, us students are just rolling in the money.

#41 Edited by kitsune_conundrum (1202 posts) -

I understand yearly fee raises but 3000-9000 pounds no less? A bit extreme. What were they thinking? 
 
Also, protesters need to learn to wear helmets. Even bicycle helmets would be good.

#42 Posted by Jazz (2328 posts) -

ergh. 
I wonder how much it cost to clean up after them, pay the police to deal with it and fix that van. 

#43 Posted by MisterChief (833 posts) -
@yinstarrunner said:
" Aaaaand that's what happens when the people of a country are dependent on their government's social programs.  When cuts need to be made, people go apeshit.  Just a generalized statement, as I know nothing about the UK's education system or their politics as a whole. "
I live in New Zealand and our student loans are all interest free. That along with our free health care just make me want to get out of this Socialist hell hole and move to the democratic paradise that is America.
#44 Posted by BraveToaster (12588 posts) -

All the Topmen need that extra money so they can buy the Kinect and Dance Central.

#45 Posted by thegoldencat7 (1501 posts) -

Wish there'd been a walkout at York University. Actually no, scratch that, its far too cold.
#46 Posted by Godot (208 posts) -
@yinstarrunner said:
" Aaaaand that's what happens when the people of a country are dependent on their government's social programs.  When cuts need to be made, people go apeshit.  Just a generalized statement, as I know nothing about the UK's education system or their politics as a whole. "
An ill-informed statement on the internet? Well I never.
#47 Posted by WalkerTR77 (1396 posts) -
@HandsomeDead said:
" It's hilarious how, last year, lectures were only ever half full, essays were always handed in late and now the fees are going up, everyone's complaining. As expected, British students only care because they've got to pay more for their three year holiday now and these Topman cunts acting out V For Vendetta just make the whole thing look like an embarrassment. "
 
I'm really glad to be Scottish, studying in Scotland. I wouldn't be going to Uni if it cost nine grand a year on top of everything else.
#48 Posted by mzuckerm (351 posts) -

God forbid the people using a service actually have to pay for it themselves.  Is there really nothing better to protest? 
 
Where I went to law school (in the U.S.), it was not uncommon for people to come out with six figures of debt.  That's not a good thing, but it's made it rather hard for me to get worked up about this.

#49 Edited by Sweep (9023 posts) -
@CaLe said:

" Doesn't this just mean that many students will be taking out 3 times the loan amount to pay for their courses? Then paying it off slowly after they get a job. "

Technically yes, a lot of people seem slightly confused about the whole thing. It's more to do with the complete lack of funding and removal of government support from a lot of the education system (for example art colleges will receive a 100% drop in funding, my own university will receive a 93% drop). The increase in tuition fees would still be covered by government student loans, though the interest rate, amount, and time it would take to repay - have all been increased as a result of these cuts. 
 

As for the violence

it's hard to pinpoint. When you have a crowd of 2000 people protesting peacefully, what's to stop 20 random dickheads who have nothing to do with the protest from jumping into the crowd and smashing something up? I know our protest certainly had a dozen members of the Socialist Workers Party who are the kind of left wing dickheads who hate the government so much they will try to jump on any protest bandwagon they can find.  
You can't have that many people who all feel exactly the same way, some people are angry and they want to express that anger. In contrast to the stories of violence, after the police van was smashed up it was actually surrounded by a ring of teenage girls who refused to let anyone else deface it. 
 
  
Moderator
#50 Posted by DragonBloodthirsty (470 posts) -
@Snail said:
" My opinion when it comes to these subjects can boil down to a rather short but nonetheless valid sentence, I believe:
 

How will smashing vans fix anything?

Seriously, the guy in the last picture describes that one of those adolescent stereotypes that I simply cannot avoid to hate: poorly dressed, foolishly idealistic, most likely pseudo-intellectual, idiotically vandalizing government/private property believing that will make a difference? There he stands, all full of himself, making a show for everyone, fighting for his rights in the most immature way possible. Despicable. I respect Mracoon for the sit-in you mentioned: it demonstrates how unhappy the group of people that took part in the protest are, without hurting or destroying anything.  But honestly, we've seen the violent sort of riots happen over and over. Basically people who have not met life yet and have not met disillusionment and cynicism, shouting out with all the energy of their youth for some cause. The cause is valid, but what on earth are they doing to fix it? Drawing graffiti that read "REVoLuTIon"? Grow up. "

As an American, I'm gonna say that while a little smashing doesn't help anything, an awful lot of smashing makes all the difference.  We called it the "Boston Tea Party" and it was part of a bigger movement that had lasting impact.  I can't in good conscience encourage that kind of activity, but I'm not surprised it's happening.

Perhaps, if the youth are desperate enough to smash random vehicles, the problems are finally big enough that they need addressing?  It sounds like there was money promised for votes during the election , and you can't expect the electorate who voted for you to take it lying down if you ignore them.  The difference between "Free" and "Three times what it used to cost" is pretty big.  You should be glad he's not smashing faces.