So the Guardian claim that the student protests yesterday were justified, Red Ed wants to go and join in and Labour MPs are queuing up to show their support.. If you look at the comments on CIF, it would suggest that there's a lot of public support for the protests. I am not so sure. I've already blogged about how small these protests are as a percentage of the UK electorate. In the staffroom of the school where I work - which is by no means a right wing hotbed - there is a great deal of bafflement at the protests and protestors. I think the first one had some sympathy, but the others have just seemed like a chance for kids to skive off and muck about in London.
Added to that, a lot of the people I work with - and a lot of normal people in general - didn't have EMA, did have to pay some element of fees, did have to work or bring up children whilst they went to university, and certainly haven't had anything like the cushy lifestyle these students seem to have. Most people look at the protesting students and see people who are more privileged than them, not less. And they're right. I keep harping on about it, but it's a complete myth to claim that the "older generation" had their fees paid for them. About 5-10% of the older generation had their university fees paid for them. The other 90-95% didn't go to university. Even as university places have expanded, that's come at the price of people paying fees, doing part-time degrees, going back into study whilst having a family and holding down a part-time job.