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Behind the Certain!


Revolting youths!

— Filed under: Politics & Government
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Image by Rob Fenwick via Flickr

The recent peaceful demonstrations planned by the NUS in response to the Lib Dems U-Turn on tuition fees have all turned sour resulting in a blame game between the students and the Police. The NUS and it seems the mass media have blamed a mixture of heavy handedness on the part of the Police and the hijacking of non-student youths with various mixed agendas.

I feel, as opposed to the notion of these hijackers being organised anarchists and the like the whole affair is the resultant “spilling over”, of tensions between generations.

For so long the youths (yoofs) of our society have been marginalised and pilloried by a succession of reactionary governments and mainstream media resulting in a socio-political shift in the collective consciousness of the country which instead of encouraging and nurturing our future generations, serves only to demonise, alienate and disenfranchise them resulting in an unprecedented lack of trust between “them” and “us”.

Throughout the late 1990’s and definitely over the last decade the young members of our society have been universally vilified and portrayed as a lazy, violent, stupid, image-obsessed, hood-clad, drug-dealing, drug addled, alcoholic bunch of knife wielding, gun toting, pit-bull owning thugs. It’s gone on for so long and to such an extent that people actually fear for their safety if they see a young person in the street, let alone a group of them.

I think what we are seeing is the hijacking of peaceful, planned demonstrations by those who feel an injustice across the board. It is no co-incidence that the student/youth vote was comparatively through the roof this time found and that increase placed the Lib Dems in the position of determining the outcome of the election. Nick Clegg was fully aware of who put him in this position and he showed them such disdain and utter contempt that he u-turned on the one policy which brought this all about.

I feel the young men and women who have taken to inciting violence may not even have voted and are using the students’ plight as a vehicle to highlight something more deeply troubling ingrained within our society.

It’s about time someone started kicking off about these Muppets who are supposedly looking after our interests and I must admit I am quite shocked and gladdened that it is our young who have picked up the gauntlet. It’s a pity it’s taken the notion of their pockets being effected to wake them up when there are so many atrocities taking place around the world but it’s a start I suppose. Hopefully it will politicise numbers of them who may not have been on that track at first and they could realise their power and spread their energy on other concerns in time.

What this will definitely do however is put a knife in the Lib Dem balloon and burst it forever. I don’t see them existing after this term (or maybe even earlier).

As for ousting this un-democratic government before the end of their term the answer is simple. The one person who can change it is ironically the head of the least house of power. That is our monarch. I suggest anyone who is unhappy with the result of the last election, which I’m guessing is anyone who is non-Tory, should write to the Queen. Bombard her with letters and e-mails. The one good thing about having a mother-hen looking over the government is that she still has the power to insist that the presiding leader of parliament requests the parliament to be dissolved and force a general election. If certain speculative stories are to be believed she came close to doing so under the reign of Thatcher and Blair alike.

This action would cause a constitutional crisis; however I fear we are in one as it is considering not one person voted for the government we now have. The Tory voters expected to win and the Lib Dem voters (most of whom were students and young first time voters) expected if a hung parliament was declared to form a coalition with Labour as noises had been made regarding this on more than one occasion long before the last election.

If we bear in mind the fact that the Queen is not far from ending her reign whether due to age or stepping down to allow Charles to takeover this action could leave her a powerful legacy and could bolster public support for the monarchy which from the last half of the 20th Century until now has taken rather a battering. Also Charles, having done so much for the youth of our country through various charities and the Princes Trust could ride on his steed and aid his subjects too.

If it was tied in with the royal wedding next year it would be the perfect marketing ploy. In fact I’m surprised Max Clifford hasn’t been on the old dog and bone to Her Maj already. 

Kuncen's picture

I've been wondering when one

I've been wondering when one of you dudes was gonna take up this story.  :)  So do you think the folks who hijacked the protests were even students at all?

I don't know much about UK politics, but in general it's hard to imagine the queen making such a dramatic (and possibly disastrous) move at the end of a much-beloved reign. Just wouldn't make sense for her to risk her legacy, but what do I know.


Hewy's picture

I picked up the gauntlet!

Mr Shaw, who usually tackles UK current affairs issues on this wondrous site is a busy, busy, bee at the moment so I’ve stepped up to the plate. No doubt he’ll pop on and chip on this one and then once life’s little foibles have been sorted he’ll be back stronger than ever.

My take on the “student” protests is that they have turned into “Youth” protests and rightly so. I think there is a legitimate core of peaceful protestors with no direct action pretentions whatsoever, but I do feel the original out and out dispute over the increase in student fees may just be the straw that broke the camel’s back. Indeed if you watch the footage of the demonstration days they start off peacefully with good intentions with the odd interview conducted by bored TV “man on the street”  met with the kids are usually, if you look beyond the initial and understandable nervousness of being thrust in front of a number of cameras, quiet coherent and concise. As the media pushes the expectant levels of violence as a hook to keep you viewing tensions begin to mount. By mid afternoon you tend to see ‘kettling’ methods being applied by police, possibly with the intention of suppressing any expected violence but actually achieving the opposite. The increasingly boisterous clans of GAP clothed, Skinny Latte quaffing protestors become restless as the movements of the protests are either corralled or re-directed away from pre-determined and agreed upon routes. At this point the crowds tend to swell in number and factions move to different parts of the city and start kicking up a stink by damaging buildings and defacing property, thinking it will make people sit up and listen.

 By tea time the now fevered TV front-line operatives are hyping up tensions even more and sticking to the “On the whole the demonstrations have been peaceful but there seems to have been an infiltration of people hell bent on causing a disturbance”, line. As the schools empty and darkness falls things tend to turn their nastiest. The nastiest being not that nasty at all until some, spat on, screamed at, verbally abused but trained to accept this Bobby on the Beat get’s the hump and clips one of these little buggers and then all hell breaks loose. Missiles, projectiles, or whatever you want to call them begin to fly and then the riot squad and the mounted police are despatched, again possibly with intentions of bringing this to an end as quickly and as safely as possible. This is where a sea change usually occurs in attitudes on both sides, and who is there good reader, to capture it in all its ingloriousness? That’s right, our friend, the now freezing cold and frankly hoping to God something makes this day worthwhile TV Superhero. Only this time, no matter which unfortunate he grabs from this ever growing throng, there are no answers to the question he’s mantra’d since 11 that morning. No-one knows why they are there. Not a coherent sentence at all from the centre of activities. Only the seasoned veterans from the Thatcher era displays of displeasure come up trumps as they have taken to the periphery. The placard wielding, paid up students who have long since set off from the scene of the crime to await the re-establishment of a semblance ordered public transport. The public transport they threw into chaos in the first place.

By the time the six o’clock news appears with updates on the day’s disturbances the footage is that of weapon wielding, yob- yoofs!

I think that surge of youths around teatime is a direct result of school kids hijacking the day to kick off. And they have every right to. For too long we have victimised the young men and women of this country. 

Winston Smith's picture

WTO riots

A lot of your description of the development from peaceful to violent reminds me of the WTO protests in Seattle that overwhelmed the city in 1999 and shocked many around the world.  I was by chance in the middle of it, and it was one of the most significant moments of my life... I'll never forget it!  As you mentioned, the police tried to put in measures that were designed to keep things safe, but achieved the opposite.  In many cases the measures felt quite Gestapo-like, and were heavily resented. Then the mostly-adult-and-university-student crowd was joined in the evening by high-school and younger "yoofs", and some angry anarchists from Oregon, and it all went downhill from there.

Hewy's picture


I can just remember that Seattle clash on TV dude. It seems the police's idea of keeping things "safe" means keeping "property" safe at the expense of a few heads and limbs. At the end of the day though with the amount of money flying around companies (even now) could take care of a few smashed windows here and there. Protests are only kettled once structural damage takes place, and if that takes place as a result of people being pushed by the establishment so far that they need to break something in order to get noticed then I think it's a price worth paying.

Like the head of the NUS said when the first protest stormed the Tory HQ, althought they did not condone violence the only reason that the press gave them any coverage is because violence took place. Which is the smartest thing they've said about the whole affair to be honest. The fact that they feel they have to smash things up in my eyes is sadder than the plight of someone having to replace some glass in a window pane.

Direct action may be ugly but its ugly on both sides. In a perfect world people shouldn't feel the need to tear up cities if you ask me and have to be "made safe".

Bernard's picture

Boggles the mind

"I feel, as opposed to the notion of these hijackers being organised anarchists and the like the whole affair is the resultant “spilling over”, of tensions between generations."

After long analysis, I was able to determine what I believe to be your intended meaning in this sentence. The clarity is obfuscated by misplaced commas. I am, however, completely unable to understand the following sentence:

"It is no co-incidence that the student/youth vote was comparatively through the roof this time found and that increase placed the Lib Dems in the position of determining the outcome of the election."

Hewy's picture

Tell them what they could have won Bob!

Got it. Technically precise analysis of what I was saying.

Not as lyrical as me though. Like I said. I like to waffle on. Consider it a jazz riff!

Winston Smith's picture


Your "yoofs" comment makes me think of a clip from the classic "My Cousin Vinnie"...  here's the link:

Hewy's picture

Classic Joe!

Herman Munsters finest hour!