It is a well know fact that when recession hits and people's jobs and livelihoods feel under threat, the number of protests, strikes and demonstrations increases. When times are good you don't see many people manning the picket lines (unless you are in France!). Other known facts of life are that the Conservative party always get caught out over unfortunate sexual liaisons or acts that compromise national security whereas the Labour party get caught with their hand in the till, there are more unofficial protests when there is a Labour government in power and if you haven't got the boll*cks to demonstrate when you are a student then you never will have!
With this in mind it was with much dismay that I read that a student protest over proposed cuts at my neighbouring university in Sussex was handled in the heavy handed manor so liked by the government . The antics of the vice chancellor in calling in the riot police and then suspending students without giving a reason smacks to me of this modern obsession with smoothing over the cracks and blemishes and doing all you can to create the impression that everything is great; with the impression that people have of you being more important than the actual reality.
For goodness sake, protesting and demonstrating about things you disagree with is part of being a student. Part of a university education is that people are taught to be independent thinkers and so when they do think for themselves and decide that they don't like something and get the energy together to do something about it, rather than calling the police, those of us in education should be celebrating the fact that we have empowered them in this way.
But then maybe that is not how the Government sees the role of universities.