The Lib Dems have betrayed us. The promise they made - the reason so many of us voted for them - is that they said they would not introduce higher top up fees, they promised us they would protect the right of every young person in this country to be able to go to University no matter what their income.
The current fees are expensive, difficult but not impossible. I campaigned, along with my fellow students back in 2004/2005, against the introduction of top up fees - they should not have happened but here we are. However, they are manageable; whether that be through grants or savings or loans. The new fees will literally make it impossible for everyone who wants to go to University to go.
Yes, the rich will still go. Yes, the poor may well get full assistance; but that pot of money is not unlimited so there will be stiff competition and firm cut off points - cut off points which will leave a gulf between the have lots and have not-so-muchs/have-littles. I got full financial assistance from my Local Education Authority to go to university but I still had to have a student loan in order to pay rent and bills. As such, I came out of university with a £12,000 debt.
Contrary to the government's claims that student loans are interest free, I am charged a phenomenal amount of interest every year on a loan I have yet to start paying back (I have, 4 years after graduating, still not attracted a large enough salary to meet the minimum threshold for repayments). The idea that these debts do not worry graduates, the idea that this is not a burden IS A NONSENSE. The question of whether I would have gone to Lancaster with a £9,000 charge for learning seems an easy one; without a full scholarship? definitely not. How could I? The resources my parents had to help me through university would have been laughable in the face of fees of that size.
Police Commisioner just said "any right minded person will condemn the violence, if they saw it, they will condemn it". I saw the violence, I don't condemn it - not with a broad sweep I don't. I feel that anger; and I wasn't standing amongst a group of protesters, contained by police and charged by police horses - provoked and scared - I wasn't there and I still completely understand the anger that led to this violence.
I agree wholeheartedly that the protest was hijacked by trouble makers- in particular the later pictures from the protest show people who seem to fit certain profiles associated with violnce for violence's sake - but to say all the violence was the result of that is a sweeping dismissal of the anger and chaos which the government and police caused.
Video of mounted police charging the crowd and clearly trampling some protesters who simply couldn't move out of the way fast enough was available at the top of this article on the BBC website for several hours today,
Protesters report, on twitter, that those who were smashing windows and doors at the Treasury were shouting "we want our money back". The police say it was criminal damage and not protest. I think it was both.
I'm disgusted that the majority of news stories are now leading with the fact the Prince of Wales and Camilla had the car they were travelling in were attacked. This is not an indictment of the incorrect expression of the protest, but of the uncontrollable, justifiable and absolutely AVOIDABLE rage of protesters. A friend just said the following of this incident;
"The living embodiment of inherited privilege gets hassled by people who just had their futures taken away. He's just lucky this aint France"
The police stated "protesters have failed to stick to the agreed route", one twitter user quipped "to be fair, so did the Lib Dems". How horribly true.
I cannot imagine a country in which I will ever vote Lib Dem again.
I'm sitting here crying over what we have become, what our government is doing to our education system and absolutely sobbing for the anger I feel at the betrayal of the Lib Dems and my empathy for the angry chants and actions of the protesters today.