Friday, 10 December 2010

Action at Tyne Bridge, Thursday evening

This evening the bill raising tuition fees to £9000 was passed by the House of Commons by a majority of 21. While many broadcasters portrayed this as some sort of success in the reduction of the coalition majority we here felt it was a further illustration of the failure of our system of governance to take our legitimate concerns seriously, and refusal to give us a proper voice. For that reason this evening we decided to respond. That is why (as reported by ITV Tyne Tees this evening), from 19:00 to 19:15, we stood and blocked traffic across the Tyne Bridge, first across all lanes, to make our point, however after a couple of minutes we withdrew to the middle two lanes, allowing traffic to flow more slowly, as it was not our agenda to cause excessive disruption to the lives of blameless people. We wore tape over our mouths to represent how our voice was silenced by Parliament’s decision. We feel this action shows that we are not willing to just fade into the background, and we will not stop just because the fee rise has gone through. We also wish to point out that our protests are not simply about a rise in fees but a broader attack on education which will see up to 80% cuts to arts, social sciences and humanities which provide the resources of social theory, critical thinking and creativity which are essential to our societal wellbeing and functional democracy.

Overall the message we wished to send to the Government was that, even though this bill is passed, this is not the end. In fact it is only the beginning…