Friday, 10 December 2010

A Tale of Three Protests

The Student
Cool placard, sprayed with a Banksy style Dave ‘n’ Nick entitled “liars”. Fun day up in London, day out of college.  Excitement rising, so many of us – stuff the establishment –education is our right – fight fight fight! Barricades down, police lines broken – so this is why the ‘rents go on about the 80’s. Lost my Jack Wills gloves. Lost my girl in the crowd. Kettled for hours. Weird people around – students? Fires. Really cold tho. What the hell is going on? I really want to get out of here. Tube station closed. Walked for miles. Freezing on train. Thank goodness for home…..
The Royal
Early evening. A palace somewhere in London. The tinkle of ice cubes in a very stiff G & T can be heard above the hum of the wardrobe mechanism. “I’ll lay out outfit 27 ma’am”. “Fine. Remind me – which one is that?” “The teal green satin ma’am”. “Do you know, I’m quite looking forward to tonight. I know Charles hates all that lowbrow stuff but I quite like Michael MacIntyre and Take That. Not sure about the rapper though, absolutely no idea what they’re going on about”. Peals of rather horsey laughter. Some time later, in the royal car gliding through Picadilly on the way to the theatre. “Not looking forward to this at all – all those b***y celebrity types stealing one’s limelight. They all blame me for Diana y’know”. The rustle of The Racing Post is heard. “Shush, Charles, I’m sorting through the runners for the 3.30 at Chepstow tomorrow.” Lots of crackling on the protection officer’s radio.  “Is there a problem Stevens?” “No sir, just sorting out the route through the protesters.”
Crash. Splat. “Charles!”
The Book Club
I’d quite forgotten how glorious English pubs are. I went to one last night. One minute you’re in the dark and the cold; the door opens and you’re greeted by an enveloping rush of warmth, laughter and the smell of something good cooking. Chewing the cud with the book club for three hours, we decided that we would be out protesting against uni fee increases if we were young. We are part of the hard pressed middle. Not rich enough to pay our children’s way through uni; not poor enough to qualify for loans. Just hard working and aspirational enough to want our children to have the sort of opportunities we got for free. Perhaps we should close some of the poorer performing uni’s and make the ones that are left, free.


  1. The problem why the country can't afford free university education any more is because somewhere along the line between the 80s and now, politicians decided that almost everyone should be entitled to a university education whether appropriate or not. You can't get 90% of people to be above average - it don't work!

    When you and I were uni age and we got grants (depending on parents income) instead of loans, and no tuition fees, the country could afford it as only about 10% (guessing) of pupils went on to uni.

    The rest went on to perfectly respectable careers as bankers, tradesmen or whatever. Now they don't do that any more, we have to import most of our plumbers and builders from Poland!

  2. I like what you've done there :) Really sums a lot of it up.

  3. Mum I love you! I'm waiting for the next blog soon, they do make me laugh, especially the Student Protest paragraph! see you soon! xxx