February 2011
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Day February 22, 2011

Students in 2011

How fickle we can all be.
Students didn’t figure in the imagination of the many political bloggers early in 2010. Then, ‘newboy’ Clegg caught the wave and it seemed if he would storm home with the votes of the Next Generation.
It lasted two weeks and that tide ebbed. Some did vote for him, then regretted it.
Students were dumped once again, until suddenly they tore up the (non)plan by the (non)opposition and took to the streets.
Suddenly, everyone wanted to be best friends with students and re-live 1968.
The big Unions decided to plan one day of protests six months ahead. Students were light years ahead in their planning and just got on with it – a bit like Arab protestors ignoring the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and instead flood the streets and face up to the riot police.
2011 however sees a return of the cynicism against students with proclamations of the death of the movement.
Just before the apparent last rites however the departure of New Labour Aaron Porter shows the heart of the movement is still beating. That under the surface things are bubbling.
So many people are trying to advise or co-opt the student movement. I think it should be the other way round.
The last six months has shown the value of non-hierarchical movements, like multi-headed hydras (impossible to decapitate) across Europe and North Africa.
Surely the TUC should be given equal billing (as in shoulder to shoulder) to the students, rather than what I am hearing is a lot of control-freakery about which stations to get off and which roads to take.
My hunch is that March 26th will be a one day roaring success and then we will be asked to focus on the wedding dress of you know who.
There is no sign of anything post March 26th. Having Ed Miliband on the stage fills me with a sense of …. being underwhelmed.
New Labour isn’t going to hijack a movement which wants radical change.
I bet the students will return to prominence. Earlier than expected.