The Britain of today is a far cry from the Britain of the yester years. If Sir Winston Churchill walked the streets of London today he would find a warm unhealthy pile of urine mixed with graffiti on his statue. No, it’s not the Germans who sneaked in over night. It is the University students who have run amok. The crème de la crème of the country have brilliantly thought that this act of anarchy can bring some sense to those who see it wise to tweak their tuition fees. But that’s not all:
In a grotesque insult to those who championed the very freedoms which allowed them to stage their protest, a baying rabble of masked and hooded troublemakers turned a student demonstration into anarchy yesterday. The physical victims of their violence, inevitably, were the police.
They defiled a statue of Winston Churchill by urinating on it, ripped flags from the Cenotaph – the nation’s sacred memorial to those who died in the name of liberty – then lit fires and sprayed slogans on the ground in the shadow of the Houses of Parliament.
But the casualties of a day when so few were allowed to hijack a legitimate protest were respect and common decency. From the bottles of urine they hurled aloft, to the scaffolding poles and increasingly dangerous missiles they threw, democracy was held in contempt.
Windows were smashed at the Supreme Court building. Even the Christmas tree in Trafalgar Square – a symbol of peace and goodwill – became a focus for senseless vandalism.
There have always been easier and simpler ways to get messages across. In the heat of an argument these methods are usually lost. The patience of respect and the voice of reason are subdued by the surge of juvenile delinquency. There is no such thing as a peaceful student protest. It is a Tiananmen Square myth- remember about 3,000 people were estimated to have died in that infamous protest. A Students protests is just a riot in disguise and as soon as the interface between the police and the students is breached with just one look across the divide, the ugly mask always drops with deep repercussions.
Maybe it’s time to think out of the box. Involve veterans, war heroes, public sector union leaders, sympathetic members of parliament, concerned parents, teachers, lawyers and doctors. Even members of the Royal family have gone through the education system before. They can lend a photograph opportunity or two to a student leader as a show of sympathy. The student leaders can then make a good presentation in thirty seconds with less of pictures with yobs urinating on Sir Winston Churchill’s statue or paint balling a Royal car or police men coughing out smudges of paint and blood from punctured lungs. A 30 second television plea sponsored by a generous daughter of Sir Richard Branson featured on three or four main news stations could turn the tide and opinion.
If public opinion and sympathy is what you need to influence, then you must engage in meaningful social interaction and dialogue. Protests are monologues that have not worked in favour of students. The students have everything to lose and the government always has the upper hand (plus a few trigger happy policemen). Who knows how many members of parliament would have changed their vote if they rightly understood the burden of increasing costs of living and insurmountable mountain of student loan debt? The flip side of education always beckons. The distant drum beat of gang culture always lurks in the horizon for most inner city ethnic minority youth. Its not surprising that even middle class youngsters are being absorbed by far destructive vices like a gangrene into the fabric of British society. For those whom education was a reasonable way out of the conundrum, there seems to be fewer options. Could we have spiralled into that animalistic state that Darwin’s once described, where its now a race for survival for the fittest?
Would Sir Winston Churchill support these riotous and belligerent students then? I really dont know. But I know there was once a Britain that turned to God in prayer in times like these. But of course the Britain of yester year is different from the Britain today. This could be one of many signs of perilous times to come.
How I wish some body would go back and read the sweet words inscribed in the second stanza of God save the Queen, the British National Anthem. Oh How I wish it were a student and he would with a loud voice bellow those sweet words:
O Lord, our God, arise,
Scatter her enemies,
And make them fall.
Confound their politics,
Frustrate their knavish tricks,
On Thee our hopes we fix,
God save us all.