Whether the Lib-Dems came third or thirty-third is an academic point. They are now a part of government. When they were touting for votes they promised to remove tuition fees or at least oppose an increase in their rates. On these points they have reneged. If the electorate are supposed to be a part of the election process surely they can only vote on the basis of the promises made by politicians, (or are they supposed to be psychic and see into the future?) and vote accordingly.
The Lib-Dems were voted for due to the above pledge, promise, oath, whatever suits your argument, but to me they are one and the same. Especially when they have been signed! The Tories were voted by the same people who always vote for them come rain or shine. New Labour lost the election rather than either of the dynamic duo winning. One may be able to argue that a hung parliament was what the electorate wanted, but hoped that Clegg would have allied to New Labour, bearing in mind, in theory at least, they should have been more closely related than the Chimera we now have.
Taking aside the above and focusing on the Student Demonstration. There was violence, which with respect, there is at every demo at some stage or another – be that by the demonstrators or the police. To dismiss violence as part of airing a grievance is as nonsensical as quoting Gandhi in relation to this incident. Parliament would not be the organisation it is now without it! Cromwell come to anyone’s mind?
The Labour Party would not have existed without violent demonstrations and quite a few deaths.
What seems to be missing from this discussion is the amount of violence being perpetrated on the British public and society. Tuition fees are a very small part of an ever reaching ideological idiosyncrasy that has pervaded virtually every part of Human society. These cuts are about changing the structures of our society. Back door privatisation of Health, Education and civil society. This surge will cause depressions, suicides, poverty and destitution on a grand scale. If that isn’t violence then I don’t know what is.
As for you Sunder Katwala how you see a progressive left movement changing the direction of this surge through soft platitudes and ‘now, now we’ll not be having any more of that’ or ‘We’ll march on Parliament, (if you don’t mind officer) and we’ll shout very loud about how you connived to get elected and we’re right upset about that. By the way! You wait! In five years time we might even un-elect you and elect another lying moron so we can moan some more.’
Violence is not nice and someone usually gets hurt. But to argue that without it there is a chance to change politics is naive in the extreme. I can only gather from your article that you aren’t a Marxist or Trotskyist. I can only assume you are that new form of Socialist the Brown/Blairist. Although they weren’t averse to a bit of violence either. Five wars later one couldn’t call them pacifists without laughing could one?
You have me stymied. How do you intend to bring forward a progressive left alternative? What do you really believe in? Who are you? It’s so wonderfully cosy to be sitting with like-minded individuals and talking up the working-class while your heating bills are being paid. Let’s see how passive you are when the bailiffs are knocking on your door and removing you and your family from your home. Let’s see what you think about violence then. Please give me an invite to your organisation. I want to learn how you intelligent, empathetic human beings propose to solve the grinding issue of an unrepresentative democracy.