Even Voldemort wouldn’t approve…. Student Protests.

Published On December 11, 2010 | By Richard Bruton | Animation, Comics

On the student protests this week – from Tom Humberstone:

“In an attempt to follow up on my vague notions of documenting the student protests using the work of Denys Wortman as inspiration – here’s a quick drawing I did based on some reference provided by Dan Hancox. Thanks to Dan for allowing me to use it.”

And whilst we are talking about the student protests…. here’s Warren Ellis on the journalism of Laurie Penny – right in the middle of it all on Friday night::

“She’s actually covering these events two or three times over, and the first time is realtime, on Twitter, from right in the middle of it all. Down to broadcasting, in certain instances, individual police ID numbers. As deep in the story/stories as you can get. She’s silent right now: I’m presuming her phone ran out of charge, as predicted, and hoping she’s not still in the kettle, which, others on Twitter are reporting, is still active at 1230am. There are children in there. This is how we treat our children when they question us, now: by cowing them, in the dark and the cold.”

And the media seems to be condemning the students out of hand. The protests may have had their agitators and troublemakers. And of course it’s not okay to go around threatening, scaring and physically abusing pensioners travelling in their car – no matter how Royal or otherwise they might be. But just look at the footage – look at the majority of the peaceful, yet rowdy protesters – these are our children. In a few years time it could be my child. Is this really how we want them treated?

And don’t tell me that the parents are at fault for allowing their children to protest – what other course of action do these future indentured workers, owing at least £18,000 to the state before they even think about having a roof over their heads or food to eat at university have?

Education is something we used to believe was worth investing in. Education used to be something we were rightly proud of. Now we penalise our children for wanting to learn, now we punish them and send them spiralling into terrible debt for their adult lives.

And when they complain, when they protest – we coral them, “kettle” them, unlawfully imprison them and the official line appears to be one of – if they don’t like it, why did they come out on the streets. Welcome to the UK Dec 2010. Merry Fucking Christmas.

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About The Author

Richard Bruton
- Started in comics retail aged 16 at Nostalgia & Comics, Birmingham. Now located in Yorkshire, he's written for the Forbidden Planet International Blog since 2007. Specialising in UK Comics and All-Ages comics, Richard's day job in a primary school allowed him to build the best children's graphic novel library in the country.

One Response to Even Voldemort wouldn’t approve…. Student Protests.

  1. Simon M says:

    While accepting that there were a violent minority present at the protests who were intent on causing harm to both person and property, the fact that the protesting crowds have been so angry should come as no surprise.

    The Coalition have been keen to show how the new fee rises would mean that, in real terms, students would be better off – for example, not paying loans back until their wages hit the twenty grand mark – the maths do not, as they say, add up.

    First, there is the concept not of student debt, but of deficit. If, like many students, you do not earn the minimum wage required to pay back the loan, where does the money actually come from? A series of ‘virtual loans’, the money for which could, potentially, never be made material if a graduate never earns above £25 grand or so – so how, given the State will not fund Universities, do they pay the Universities back?

    Secondly, what the media, and the coalition, fail to point out is the massive cuts being made to University funding. While the State currently subsidises the teaching costs of Universities to the tune of £4 billion (roughly), they will now cut that cost to around £660 million. That is a cut of 82%. The real terms also mean that there is a 100% cut in funding to Social Sciences, Humanities and the Arts. This results in a number of cuts – from support staff, to administrators and beyond. People have already, and will continue to, lose jobs from this.

    The outcome is a situation where, even if Universities charge the highest bracket of fees, they cannot improve the service they offer because the added fees will only just make up for the cuts made by the Government. The result is a removal of state responsibility towards Higher Education, the Arts, Social Sciences, and the Humanities. What occurs instead is a system whereby prospective students have to pay more money to receive a ‘product’ from Universities, the quality of which is already diminished.

    The fact is simple: the State no longer is willing to promote Higher Education, as the single most important generator of economic, professional, emotional, and personal knowledge. Instead, they refuse to honour the commitment of a Government to its young people, and shift the costs to individuals and families who are unable to pay.

    I say all of this as an academic, as a member of staff at a University, as a recently completed Postgraduate student, and as a taxpayer. None of this adds up, and there is no surprise that students are angry – I am angry. If, for example, the Government tell us that our children will have to contribute to their own education (something I begrudgingly accept), then the Government should meet that added contribution with more funding, not less.

    To shift the responsibility to fund Higher Education from State to individual is a disgusting and damaging move, designed entirely to absolve the State of responsibility to support its population. It’s not about fees, it’s about a country that no longer values the potential of its young people unless they are rich, socially connected and the recipients of benevolence. This is not democratic, not socially sustainable and, ultimately, divisive.