Thursday, December 09, 2010

Students: a right Royal stitch up

Another day of protest as Parliament briefly discussed and then voted on the increase in a package of proposals including increasing tuition fees.

Thank the heavens and all the sainted angels that Prince Charles and Camilla were not harmed when they were caught up in the action, the last thing we needed was for the crowd to pull the royals from their car, execute them with a makeshift guillotine and then dance in their still warm blood. So we can breath a sigh of relief, although one reporter was mocked. Shameful.

My favourite placards I saw today were "Dave: repeating the least funny things from the eighties", "Cameron, don't run with scissors", "Clegg, this is no time for your nonsense" and "Some cuts can be good" accompanied by a picture of the Tory tree logo being chainsawed down.

Everything I saw was pretty calm, although the police were out in force and even small side streets seemed to have a significant police presence round Westminster. From twitter it sounds like the protests got pretty hairy at points, but I must have been in the 'old man in sensible jumper section' and didn't get coshed or harried by the cavalry like some did today.

The vote was carried 323 votes to 302 with 25 abstentions.

Ironically this is a larger majority than the vote in 2004 when Labour initially introduced tuition fees on a majority of just five (71 Labour MPs voted against the government at the time, as did the Tories and Lib Dems).

Mind you with 'riots' on the streets, royals menaced and a key government vote won by just 21 votes I have to say... the honeymoon period didn't last long did it? They were only elected in May and by December you've got yobs swinging from flags on the cenotaph. Keeps you fit and warm if nothing else.

Peter lists the 28 of 57 Lib Dems who voted to treble tuition fees and against their party policy. If these MPs had voted with their pre-election pledges then the measures would not have passed, but they have wheels to grease and poles to slither up so it's not to be. 21 Lib Dems were good to their word and voted against and 8 Lib Dems abstained, two of whom were in Cancun (who ironically would have voted yes and no cancelling each other out anyway).

One Lib Dem who abstained was Simon Hughes. I find it utterly bizarre that people are now claiming this shows how principled he is. Oh, hold on, no, it *does* show how principled he is... not very. He signed a pledge to oppose but once he was elected wasn't too worried about having to follow through. Abstention is just as much a broken pledge as voting for in my opinion.

Six Tories voted against. They were David Davis, Julian Lewis, Andrew Percy, Jason McCartney, Philip Davies and Mark Reckless. Well done chaps, but am I right in thinking these are all Tories who oppose being in Coalition with the Lib Dems?

I don't think any Labour MP voted with the government, they know which side their bread is buttered, so it shows where the battles lines are drawn up. Tories on one side, Labour, Greens, Plaid et al on the other and the Lib Dems running from one side to other with confused looks on their faces as they wet themselves.


Joseph said...

Unable to go yesterday as I was working but kept in touch with some of those who were there.

Several Young Greens and Green Left members I know were kettled on Westminster Bridge for hours and only released last night about 10.30pm. I have also seen footage of children being kettled. Clearly the police and their political masters are out to demonstrate that anyone who demonstrates will be punished severely.

There is also a vigil tonight for a student demonstrator who was severely injured by police yesterday.

Middlesex uni students are inviting all those horrified by the police violence experienced on yesterday's student protest to join them in a solidarity vigil at 3.30pm TODAY outside Charing Cross hospital where student Alfie is being treated having narrowly missed being murdered by police batons at yesterday's protest. Send messages of support for Alfie to +447870215764. SPREAD THE WORD!

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- David