A blog by Luke Akehurst about politics, elections, and the Labour Party - With subtitles for the Hard of Left. Just for the record: all the views expressed here are entirely personal and do not necessarily represent the positions of any organisations I am a member of.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

The forces behind the riot



Blogger Merseymike said...

All a bit 'reds under the bed for my tastes. I think people are starting to get angry. Seriously angry. And I don't blame them.

9:37 am, November 11, 2010

Anonymous Anonymous said...

What Riot I was there it was peaceful, don't believe the media hype?

I am no Trotskyite but where were Labour the last 13 years?

Why are Labour sitting on the fence letting the Tories destroy the working classes, where is the fight back from our supposedly Trade Union backed MP's ?

12:33 pm, November 11, 2010

Blogger Luke Akehurst said...

The reds (and anarchists "red and blacks") were well and truly out from under the beds and on the rampage.

Various groups are publicly claiming credit for organising it, indicating it was hardly spontaneous anger.

I'm angry about the Coalition. I'm not smashing windows or injuring police though.

12:58 pm, November 11, 2010

Anonymous Sarah said...

The vast majority might have been peaceful but its the "anarchists" smashing in windows and starting fires that has captured the front pages of the paper. You can't just close your eyes to that. Any excuse to hijack legitimate concerns for their bonkers radical agenda. Great article, Luke.

2:26 pm, November 11, 2010

Blogger Bluenote said...

Sadly, and although I agree with Luke's article, there will no doubt be more of this anarchy to come. Every legitimate protest or strike will be used as an excuse for violence and vandalism thus discrediting the very cause proclaimed. This is likely, as it did back in the winter of discontent, to swing the large moderate middle vote firmly behind the Conservatives.

Even in the unlikely event, that public disorder could bring down the government, it would impose an intolerable burden of expectation on those then taking office.

3:33 pm, November 11, 2010

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Useless Bah Lambs !!

They ocupird the Vermins Heas Office for well over an hour, and as far as I can see nase no efort to remove thw hard drives fro, PC's or Servers.

One wonders whgat skulduggery orcorruption would have been exposed with no plausible means of denial by the Condems.


4:14 pm, November 11, 2010

Blogger Duncan Hall said...

Wow. That's a helpful article, Luke. I know the ConDems are bringing back the 80s in many ways, but you don't have join in Luke.

Nothing more embarrassing that a witchhunter scrabbling around for a witch.

6:07 pm, November 11, 2010

Anonymous Ben said...

It's a good piece - articulates the same concerns that I had on seeing the footage.

I would also suggest, however, that we are being outflanked by our lack of a policy on this. And, to be fair, an increase in fees is the only game in town if the HE system is not to suffer quite devastating cuts. We should be clear where the government proposals are wrong - we should have problems with charging a commercial interest rate, for instance, as it penalises the poorest vis-a-vis the better off - but we should be clear on the principle that HE needs the money, and more of it has to come from users. It is profoundly irresponsible to stay silent and leave people guessing. More importantly, it is not credible.

11:18 pm, November 11, 2010

Anonymous Anonymous said...

With regard to my post above.

I spent the afternoon undergoing lazer surgery to my eyes.

It was that or a white stick and a Labrador. NHS at its best !!!!

I trust my typos are forgiven.


11:29 pm, November 11, 2010

Blogger Robert said...

It's difficult to assess the internal dynamics of a particular demo unless you are part of it - and neither Luke nor I were. Individuals who would not normally be violent may be drawn into threatening/violent behaviour in a group context - particularly if they see others behave violently, or colleagues being manhandled by the security forces. Luke is perhaps right that hard line ultras exploited the opportunity, but I doubt if they can be conveniently asked to shoulder all the responsibility. All the people I heard interviewed on the media who had been inside Milbank sounded as if they were students with strong feelings, not professional agitators. Finally we must always remember the fact, which is a bit uncomfortable to the great majority of us who don’t do anything very risky, that violent poplar demonstrations are part of our tradition in the UK , and that they do often change history (for the better usually). In recent times people have quoted the poll tax demo in London, but the inner city riots in LIverpool, Bristol. Birmingham and London thirty years ago were arguably more significant in terms of the dramatic change in government attitude and policy towards inner cities which ensued. The effects of earlier insurrections including Peterloo, the Chartists, the Tonypandy miners, and the suffragettes also suggest that governments do in reality respond to "a taste of the mob". Sadly one could perhaps also make a case historically that most peaceful protects – such as the anti Iraq demonstration and Greenham Common – change little, irrespective of their support. No historian today would regard any of the 6 uprisings I have quoted as having been primarily instigated by agitators. Yet this charge was always made at the time - it is the stock Establishment response to challenge of course; “It is a few mindless agitators, the majority couldn’t possibly feel so strongly against our policies...” History will judge, but I think a reminder to this Government - which has no proper mandate from voters - that we are governed by consent and not diktat, was well overdue.

1:20 pm, November 12, 2010

Anonymous Anonymous said...

More concerning are the reports of named Labour MPs 'tweeting' encouragement to the rioters and lecturers, who should be role models, organising the Millbank attack.

The right wing press just don't need this amunition but they will use it with glee. Time for Ed to show some leadership as well as clear policies.

1:36 pm, November 12, 2010

Anonymous Anonymous said...

We need to return to a principled and credible Labour position on this - that higher and further education (i.e. tuition but not necessarily living costs) is provided by Government to all who can benefit from it "free at the point of service" like the NHS, schools and police. Labour were wrong to introduce tuition fees. Post 18 education benefits the entire country because it equips successive recruits to our workforce to function effectively in global markets, and to lead our future society. If post 18s rejected higher education en masse, governments would have to introduce new (financial) incentives to get them into the universities. Whether the fees are met by a graduate tax or from tax as a whole is debatable, but for Labour hypothecated taxes in which users pay for services are a dangerous precedent. Why not introduce a special tax for those who get more sick for the extra use they make of HS? Or Smokers? Or those dependent on alcohol? Why not charge 6th formers for their education - after all those who leave at 16 are asked to pay for the others who stay on out of their taxes? No ! We pay tax to provide services for the community. Some services eg NHS and primary schools benefit 100% of the population; some benefit lower proportions, such as higher education (about 50% and rising); some such as serious disability benefits help much lower proportions who need the support. The problem is that Governments have got nervous about raising basic income tax ever again as if there is something sacred about the basic rate of 20%. Labour must move on from the 90s and challenge this head on – and crack down on the currently massive tax evasion in UK.

2:08 pm, November 12, 2010

Blogger Duncan Hall said...

Completely agree with "anonymous". Fees are an accounting dodge, and always were. In 2012 effectively the same money will pass from government to universities as previously, but the balance sheets will show a 40% cut; that 40% is replaced with loans so they appear in a different column. The money still goes from government to university; it has no impact on the deficit, and this government will see little if any money paid back; a little might come trickling in around the time of the next election (if it goes the distance). The government are happy to put up the 'pay by' threshold because it's actually neither here nor there to them whether it gets paid back. Neither here nor to them, but a massive deal to the students who will be left in crippling debt.

It is time a government was honest about this: it's effectively a scam. It would make no discernable difference to tax payers if it were to come from general taxation (and the same is true of maintenance loans). It makes a difference to the government's creditors, and it makes a difference to the European central bank, but it doesn't make a difference to universities or to tax payers. It makes a huge difference to students.

It's amazing how far we've come on this. In the 2005 general election, the Labour Party was the only party defending tuition fees. Now the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats are trebling them. Let's be upfront that the policy was wrong, and be the free education party.

11:56 pm, November 14, 2010

Anonymous Srephen said...

I am not really surpised by this article as many of the policies of the Coalition, whether withdrawing benefit from vulnerable disabled people, or dramatically increasing the cost of higher education, are wholly approved of by the right-wing of the Labour Party, and would have been implemented by Labour had it won the election.

The politics of the issue of fees is very simple. Demonstrations, whether peaceful or unruly, have little effect on governments. Violent demonstrations tend to play into the hands of the government. As with the Poll Tax, what will make the difference is whether the parents of the students see fees as a vote influencing issue. If so then lots of Tory and LibDem MPs will be crapping themselves and we may see a U-turn.

12:41 pm, November 15, 2010


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