Student riots are back – and they’re infecting the LeftPosted on March 3, 2013
The anti-everything student movement has plenty of practice at shooting itself in the foot. Attacking war memorials, smashing up taxpayers’ property, even burning down Christmas trees – you name it, they can turn it into an incident which discredits their already confused message.
It might have seemed reasonable to hope that after it turned out rioting wasn’t a good way to get Middle England on their side, they might have changed tactics.
Not a bit of it.
Occupy Sussex, the Sussex University branch of the Occupy Movement, are up in arms about plans to outsource 10% of the University’s admin. While their issue of choice isn’t exactly the moral equivalent of Tsarist serfdom in Russia, it doesn’t seem to have stopped the usual suspects rushing to rally against outsourcing and for “communism” instead. Eevidently the fresh air of Sussex is a febrile, revolutionary atmosphere.
For some reason, this has turned into a national student demonstration, held today. The ever-sharp Chris Snowdon raised the first concerns over the weekend that perhaps it wasn’t set to be the most productive event humanity has yet seen:
If things turn nasty at Sussex Uni on Monday it definitely won’t be because of posters like this, oh no. twitter.com/cjsnowdon/stat…
— Christopher Snowdon (@cjsnowdon) March 22, 2013
And, lo, it came to pass. What started with the usual pompous slogans…
— occupy_sussex (@occupy_sussex) March 25, 2013
…moved on to smashing up University buildings…
— The Badger (@TheBadgerNews) March 25, 2013
…burning files from Barclays…
….and, inevitably, trite comparisons between themselves and Martin Luther King…
All in all, an impressive way to discredit their own argument, waste taxpayers’ money and divert the police and fire brigade from what they are meant to be doing. This trend of legitimate (if wrong-headed) lefty protests turning violent is a serious problem for so-called “progressive” campaigners.
Owen Jones wrote this morning that the Left needs a group as effective as the TaxPayers’ Alliance – which is why he is launching the People’s Assembly this week. Owen may be wrong about almost everything (apart from the TPA’s effectiveness), but he’s not stupid – he’s already declared his new movement will be mainstream, and reject the malign influence of the cult which is the Socialist Workers Party. He wants to build a hard-hitting but respectable movement.
His problem is that almost the whole of the Left has now been to some extent infected by the unattractive attitudes and behaviour on display at Sussex University today. For example, here is a paid campaigner from Unite – one of the main backers of Owen’s new gang – inviting the Occupy Sussex rioters to speak from the People’s Assembly platform:
— Ellie Mae O’Hagan (@MissEllieMae) March 25, 2013
This just isn’t going to go away. Unless he and other prominent left-wingers denounce the violence and the burning that a growing number of lefties seem to fetishise, I suspect Owen’s bid to make socialism mainstream and acceptable will never leave the runway.
Tags: Chris Snowdon, Coalition, Labour, Occupy Movement, Occupy Sussex, opinion, Owen Jones, People's Assembly, Politics, public spending, Riots, Socialism, Strikes, Student riots, Sussex University, TaxPayers' Alliance, Unite