AnnoyedStudent | 20.02.2002 16:42
Today's NUS demonstration for grants not fees passed off without any great incident. 10,000 students, well down on last year did a circuit of Central London. In Trafalgar Square, at the end of the march, we were treated to the thoughts of some careerist NUS bureaucrats and the entirely meritless Ken Livingstone. Someone must have told the principle-free Mayor that there were votes to be had.
The atmosphere on the march was reasonably good. The drum bands kept things lively and many of the students had never been on a demo before. Some had just come for a day out, all were angry about fees and some even displayed a more radical outlook.
Halfway through the march a particularly embarrassing attempt at a sit down protest took place. A hundred or so people parked themselves in the middle of the street for a few minutes, got bored and moved on.
The left were there in some numbers. The SWP were the biggest contingent but there weren't all that many of them and in fact it looked like the Socialist Party had almost as many people. There was a fairly visible anarchist bloc, which was small but lively. The AWL was there, with its CFE front, while the Sparts and Workers Power also put in an appearance, predictably.
Not a bad march, but not one that's likely to achieve much.
As a last point, could somebody please tell me why so many of the SWP paper sellers were wearing faux-Palestinian scarves? Why don't they go in blackface next year? It wouldn't be much more patronising.