Students bring out a violent streak in me. When I see NUS spokespeople on TV talking simplistically about tuition fees, even though I basically agree with the sentiments they express so unattractively, I want to punch them. But I also like watching them chuck stuff at the police, smash windows and jump up and down on vans. I'm not so keen on the fire extinguisher hurling – I lose my appetite for the scuffle if I think someone might get killed – but a bit of a ruck with some bobbies dressed as X-wing pilots seems entirely appropriate.
It's the peaceful protesting that winds me up: the super-keen "political" students who've nosed their way into being interviewed to show how clever they are. They seem unrealistic and unaccountable and you can smell the self-interest and grubby ambition lurking beneath the veneer of unworkable ideals. Like pre-election Lib Dems.
My inner Victorian thinks they should be seen and not heard. But I don't mind seeing them piss through the letterbox of Nick Clegg's constituency office.
A few short clips of jerkily televised vandalism make the government look like it's failing to govern. The fact that more damage gets done to public property every day by people turning round quickly while holding something hot is irrelevant. A photo of broken glass is a thousand times more politically threatening than a kid with an unwise haircut whining about his allowance.At least the protests are being taken over by independent organisations rather than the NUS, which is just a kindergarten for obedient New Labour MPs (almost every President since the 1950s has become one).
Hats off to one of Mitchell's commenters for this line too:
You can say what you like about this government, but it took Margaret Thatcher 3 years to achieve riots and a royal wedding. David Cameron and Nick Clegg have achieved it in 6 months.