Alfie – Student demonstrations: what goes around……!

10 Dec

“Starting out with Berkeley Free Speech, and later on at People’s Park
The winds of change fanned into flames Student demonstration’s spark”.

For those not of either a certain age or a certain musical taste, those are the opening lines from the song “Student Demonstration Time” by The Beach Boys  from the second of their “eco-friendly, non-surfy” albums, “Surf’s Up”. The song features a lot of police sirens as background and I was inevitably reminded of it when watching the news last night.

And, while news commentators and government spokesmen inevitably used terms such as “disgusting”, “irresponsible”and “appalling” of both the initial protest and the subsequent riot, I could not but think “We’ve been here before”!

In the 60s and early 70s when the demos and riots mentioned in that song were taking place I was either at school or in a Civil Service job that I was terrified of being sacked from and not, it has to said, much interested in anything outside of beer, darts and the possibility of getting my leg over!

Looking back on it now, however, I feel I may have let down those of my own generation who were, in their own way, trying to forge a better society.

And, as anyone who did metalwork at school will recall, “forging” is a violent activity involving much heat,  hammering and drenching in water – a lot like your average riot in other words!

I can sympathise with demos protesting at University Fees  – having put two daughters through University at great cost to my (already taxed) net income as opposed to OUT OF those taxes as was the case when most of the bloody politicians who steam-rollered the changes  through were there!

The student protests/riots of the 60s and 70s were (almost but not entirely) about the USA’s involvement in South-East Asia but one of the principles behind them is the same.

While Governments push through Uni fee increases, tax increases and involvement in foreign wars WITHOUT ASKING protests will continue – it now needs extending to we potential pensioners who’ve had our implied contract on Retirement Dates broken without so much as a “by your leave”!

And the thought that followed “We’ve been here before” that I mentioned above was, sadly, “And nothing much changed”!

Finally, a question.  When commenting on these riots, or indeed those that accompany the G8 or G20 meetings around the world, “The Authorities” are often heard to blame them on “Organised  Anarchist Groups”!

Correct me if I’m wrong but surely, if it’s ORGANISED it ain’t ANARCHY!

How does that work?



One Response to “Alfie – Student demonstrations: what goes around……!”

  1. Vincent December 12, 2010 at 6:25 am #

    ALL eduction should be free – but what I want to know, is why haven’t millions of WRINKLIES taken to the streets to protest at Pinky and Perky’s declared intent to rip off impending PENSIONERS for FIVE GRAND, in a couple of years time?

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