The Big Society Decide To Hold A Meeting

Do you think this is what David Cameron meant when he talked about the Big Society?

[youtube:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MmudJafnQh0 500]

Here’s a report from the scene:

Screams and the smash of trodden glass cram the foyer as the ceiling-high windows, entirely broken through, fill with some of the 52,000 angry students and schoolchildren who have marched through the heart of London today to voice their dissent to the government’s savage attack on public education and public services. Cabinet ministers are cowering on the third floor, and through the smoke and shouting, a young man in a college hoodie crouches on top of the rubble that was once the front desk of the building, his red hair tumbling into his flushed, frightened face.

Edit: Interesting that the students are now endorsing nationwide direct action and are not distancing themselves from those who occupied Tory HQ.

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About Mark Newton

Born in 1981, live in the UK. I write about strange things.


  1. Oh my word! I understand the anger and frustration over the increases but it looks like most of them went there to cause trouble. There is a difference between protest and outright vandalism and civil unrest.

    I do, however, think that it is disgusting that the money going to the EU has been increased! The UK pays nearly £40M to the European Union PER DAY! If the PM wants to save money why doesn’t he reduce the amount he gives to the EU or Foreign Aid? Or easily just leave the EU as all they do is take our money and raise our prices with all the extra import tax! And as for foreign aid… I’m sure the EU would chew us out if we lowered that.

    Sorry to rant on Mark! There are many points there I am passionate about. What are your views?

  2. My views? In a nutshell: What the Tories are doing is putting the Shock Doctrine into action; the government is merely doing what all right wing governments would love to do – use a political opportunity (in this case massively exasperating the extent of the deficit through the media outlets) and spin it to push through the kind of libertarian or capitalist reforms they’ve dreamed of for years, ensuring that income flows from poor to the very wealthy, and tell them poor that it’s good for them. It’s nothing new or radical.

    So… it’s no surprise that a lot of people supported trashing their HQ (as the report suggests, it’s more than a minority). People know they’re being lied to, and they wanted to do something about it. Whilst I certainly don’t support people behaving in such ways, we must know that people absolutely have the right to protest.

    And the morals become more complex, because if a government is treating its people deliberately badly in order to benefit a few very reach individuals, then civil unrest becomes likely. Don’t forget – people put the government there. The government is meant to work FOR us. They should hold no special privilege, and we should hold them to account.

    The vote only goes so far in our country, and I suspect that this is the start of civil unrest in the UK.

  3. The whole thing pisses me off as the government is now making out as if the reason the majority/all of the protesters were there is no longer a valid point due to a small handful causing trouble. The cynic in me imagines the tories breathed a huge sigh of relief once they had a nicely staged act of violence to film. The alternative of a peaceful protest would have been a lot harder for them to dismiss.

    I do like to picture Cameron getting back to London, after his china visit, seeing the mess of his HQ and then raising his fist shouting “CLEGG!!!”, while Clegg cowers in the corner looking like a nervous wreck.

  4. Cameron is like all Tory leaders – wealthy elitists. The university funding is just one example of them only wanting the wealthy to be able to go. Where does that leave the poorer students? It leaves them with no further education and jobless

  5. In which case they can expect to see protesters becoming genuinely troublesome over the next ten years.

  6. (A disclaimer before I say something: I’m in America and I am not entirely on the up-and-up on the politics in England.)

    The thing that bothers me the most about this isn’t the reason they are protesting (which would piss me off too, I imagine), nor the fact that they are destroying property and so forth. What bothers me is the intentional mis-characterization of the protesters by the media and, apparently, the government. That’s disturbing. When people in powerful positions start rewriting history (and have it work for a good portion of the population), we should all be very concerned. They do the same disgusting stuff here in the U.S. Texas has been trying to rewrite the history books for a year now to push out important figures and important moments in history (like Thomas Jefferson and British/American extermination of the Native Americans).


  7. If you’re not happy with the state of your local rioting, why not get together with members of your community, and form your own riots?

    @Neil P: wouldn’t it be interesting if that small handful of violent protestors were unmasked as being secret Young Conservatives working to undermine the protests? dun dun dun…

    I’m only laughing because it’s better than crying.

  8. To paraphrase a friend of mine who’s a charity worker: Tories were safe in their penthouse, but I really hope that these utter morons didn’t wreck the Charity Commission HQ which is in the basement.

    (that’s something that the media, left or right, probably didn’t tell you. No, Milbank Tower isn’t just the “Tory HQ” as I’ve been hearing all over the place)

  9. Neil – that image of Cam and Clegg is rather amusing!

    SMD – yes, it’s frightening isn’t it? Also, worth saying that when corporations start getting involved in education, it’s just as bad (i.e. petrochemical companies teaching how responsible they are, and not at all polluting.)

    Alex – sober words there…

  10. It is somewhat amusing that in the modern Western world, we lack the revolutionary spirit. France and Greece come perhaps closest to retaining it, the former perhaps due to the fierce links to their own historical upheaval and the latter ironically, due to standing only part-way across the threshold of the very modern, Western world they helped to create.

    You can’t out-vote the monied classes, you can’t legislate them out of existence, you can’t tax them enough to even dent their war chests.

    You can’t use the mass media, new or old, to outflank them, as they own the sources, the networks, and the points of control.

    You can’t shame them (for they have none).

    You can’t cut off a singular head, for like the Hydra of legend, they have many.

    You can’t appeal to their better natures for the nature of a stockholder is to have none better than a vicious sense of due diligence – even if said diligence demands a path paved with the skulls of children – so long as diamonds or a healthy bank balance glimmer at the end.

    You can ignore them and do your bit in their global plan, joining the lowering herd, fodder for the machines of an unfettered capitalism.

    You can race those around you after the carrots they dangle, climbing the shoulders of unfortunates who fail to do it quicker than you, and let yourself be suborned on the rare chance that you might someday join their ranks.

    You can man the barricades and expect the police and army to be sent in – the people with the guns don’t just know who gives the orders, they also know who pays the better wages.

    I’m all for the students giving the Tories and their pets a bit of rough kicking, but I’m not under any illusions that it will do much good. It will not make things worse.

    The social structure of the UK is going to be dismantled. Freer (for the enrichment of the already very wealthy) markets, more US style courts and universities, and a privatization of the NHS are not going to be put aside for any amount of rioting. This would require a mass uprising by the general citizenry which isn’t going to happen – not in England, not among those already well numbed by the Big Society’s* and their predecesors’ general anesthesia applied to the body politic.

    Still, it’s nice to see that some young people care – even if I think their instincts are muddled about what will be the result.

    And it’s not that different than it has been for most of the West’s short existence. In ancient Rome it didn’t matter how much in bribes you paid to gain a senate seat, or what charges of corruption and malfeasance could be leveled against you, provided at least, you won.

    In the first year, you could steal back everything you spent, in the second year double whatever it cost, and by the third and final year even if you were thrown out as an unrepentant thief, you’d have gained enough illicit wealth to see you through the rest of your life in splendid comfort.

    Our current governors aren’t all that different – just that their vision is grander and their avarice bottomless.

    Happy thoughts, I know; and before anyone throws out the wild accusation that I’m a bitter pessimist, I’ll beat them to it: yes, I am. All the same, I’d be happier to be proven wrong.

    That’s one of the few advantages to always expecting the worst: I can only ever be pleasantly surprised.


    *We can blame the Tories for kicking the chair out, but New Labour had already fastened the noose around most of these victims long before the arrival of the Coalition. See banking, trade, justice, war, and healthcare for details.