Neil Turner's Blog

Blogging about technology and randomness since 2002

A March in October

You can probably guess that I’m back from the march – turnout was somewhere between 10 000 (police estimate) and 31 000 (NUS estimate). Supposedly it was the biggest demonstration by students in this country ever, which, when you consider that the vast majority of people who turned out yesterday will never be affected by top-up fees (the reason for the demonstration) is pretty good going. Had they been introduced for all students in September 2004, and not just for new students in 2006, I’m sure the turnout would have been higher.
A scan of the news web sites this morning suggests that it was a peaceful march and no arrests were made. That said, the police in London are pretty used to this kind of thing and the vast majority of marches go ahead with little or no trouble at all. This was despite the fact I spent much of my time walking behind some anarchist group.
Overall, I had a really good day – it was the first march of its kind I’d been on and I thoroughly enjoyed it despite having to walk for over two hours before arriving at the rally in Trafalgar Square. Amusingly, one of the speakers was Labour MP and former government minister Frank Dobson, alongside Mandy Telford, the president of the NUS. Probably the only thing I didn’t like was the feeling that the march had been hijacked by those pushing their own left-wing agendas – there were plenty of people selling Socialist Worker and related publications, along with people with petitions against George W. Bush’s visit in November or for freedom in Palestine. I have no problem with them organising their own march but I’d have preferred if they didn’t hijack ours.
And besides, I’d already signed all of their petitions anyway… 😉
I didn’t get interviewed by anyone while there although I did wave as I passed a camera recording an interview for Sky News – whether that bit got in I have no idea. Media coverage is a little slack due to various other issues that the newspapers deem more important, but the Nuardiag does have a good article.
Amusingly, on the way down it seems like at least 4 student coach parties all stopped off at Watford Gap services on the M1 at the same time. We could have almost staged our own mini-protest there, I suppose.
If you want, you can see a gallery of the photos I took. Obviously in some cases I had to juggle a placard and a banner while still marching when trying to take some of the photos, so if they’re not brilliant that’s probably why.

One Comment

  1. Hey Neil – I’m your number one fan and I saw you on sky news…..well ok…I saw someone who looked like you so probably was you on Sky News 🙂 (and no I didn’t video it)