I’ll defer to someone who was there or thereabouts: Guido sums it up well, but in offering my opinion, I’ll ask ‘will everyone stop being so po-faced about it’.
Of course the NUS routed the march past Millbank, and of Course the NUS was involved in the violent as well as the non-violent bits of the protest. So I take the Student leadership’s condemnation of the invasion of CCHQ with a pinch of salt. It’s about as credible as those coming from Gerry Adams – and for the same reason, if rather less lycanthropic and scary. The political process must maintain the fiction of non-violence, but you get further with a kind word and a gun, than you do with a just kind word. The NUS knew the green-haired rock-chuckers of Class War and others, the same idiots who attend evey climate camp, G20 summit and protest would tag along yesterday too. The student leaders have a hard-on for the Soixant-huitards, and they need serious rioting to be taken seriously. “There are, like, you-know, some SERIOUSLY angry people, actually.”
Finally, the police, facing cuts of their own, were only too happy to be “overwhelmed” by a bunch of limp-wristed Celia & Tarquins as they gained access to the building where police budget cuts were decided, hence the rather paltry police numbers.
Face it, this was a good result for all concerned: Fighting is fun. The crusties got to kick off, the police got to break some white, middle-class heads for a change, whilst allowing the Conservatives in their HQ to suffer a bit of criminal damage, which can’t hurt when the home office budget is discussed. The Labour party somehow have got away with their policy being essentially identical (and staggeringly hypocritical). Finally the Government gets to say “we don’t give into violence”.
No-one was killed, and apart from the couple of dozen who were arrested, and the Liberal Democrats, everyone goes home for tea and medals feeling very satisfied with themselves following this rather predictable piece of political theatre. Who says violence doesn’t solve anything?