I must say that today's events in London caught me quite by surprise. As I was explaining to a course-mate today my first year of university happened to coincide with the introduction of fees. There were of course protests then as well, but the overall response from students was somewhat muted and apathetic.
This seemed to add to the general characterisation that unlike their long-haired and bearded forebears (who had become the politicians then introducing fees) subsequent generations of students, and young people in general, were content to shirk politics concentrating instead on the trappings of consumerism. Campuses far from resounding with talk of radical philosophers had become apolitical stomping grounds for brands like Red Bull and financial firms jostling for the opportunity to woo the Hollister clad students (See this Guardian article for a view on how University life differs from the 1970s).
I don't think there has been a drastic or radical re-awakening of the general student political consciousness far from it, apart from a few hardy individuals painting banners outside the students union it has been business as usual on my campus with the Red Bull beach buggy blasting its sounds into the chilly air.
Putting aside the scenes of broken windows which do more harm than good for any cause; For me the significance of today is that we've seen the truth in the theories which argue that any retrenchment of the welfare state will be heavily contested that people will indeed take to the streets. It certainly seems the welfare state will not be going gently into that good night
2 months ago