Wednesday, 10 November 2010

They think it's all over… it is now.

The BBC live stream is a good way to follow the student protests, for good or ill.

The demonstration has certainly monopolised the coverage, which is great. However - rolling news is desperate for material, so it's not too difficult. Students are good at this stuff: Twitter and iPhones mean there's an avalanche of material flowing in.

However: I suspect that the coverage would have ended hours ago if the demonstration had remained entirely peaceful. Both sides know this. Unfortunately, the media have form in egging on the behaviour of a minority and then running it as representative (as they are now). On the other side, some protestors will be only too aware that polite protest doesn't get the attention of the press, while others are ready for any opportunity to sell sectarian papers, chant slogans and smash a few windows.

I wish I'd been there - the issue is more important than a couple of seminars - but I also have a responsibility to the students who for whatever reason, chose to come to class. Had I been there, I'd not have supported violence in this context (it's not the Miner's Strike) and the hijacking of the protest by splinter groups, but I certainly support the occupation of Tory HQ. Compared with other countries (and the UK in the 1960s and 1970s) this is mild stuff.

If you need a reminder that the vast majority of students on the march were peaceful and determined to make their point clearly, he's a video of their reaction to one of the provocateurs chucking a fire extinguisher off the roof of Tory HQ: a round of boos and the chant 'stop throwing shit'. Good on them.

Let's hope this march is the first in a massive series of resistance actions from all sectors of society in the coming years.

That's certainly true in some students' minds. Sky News has such a bad reputation now (think Kay Burley - and here -  and Adam Boulton) that their live broadcasts are fair game, as the Guardian reports:

Sky News ran into difficulty about 5 minutes ago when they attempted to go live to one of their reporters on the ground. She appeared to lose her temper as students standing around her began to pitch in with comments like 'ladies and gentlemen the insurrection has started.
"They just want to shout people down," said said, turning to them and telling them (as well as the studio) that the vast majority of people at the protest didn't support what has happened.
Sky cut the link, with an anchor saying, not entirely convincingly : "I'm not sure what was happening there."

No comments: