Tuesday, 3 May 2011

Newcastle: a picture of Lib Dem decline

I've written this piece for Comment is Free, which begins:

'It was the week of the Commons vote on allowing universities to increase student fees to £9,000 a year. Nick Clegg's Liberal Democrats were split from top to bottom over the issue. Meanwhile, around 60 students were in the middle of a three-week-long occupation at Newcastle University, just one of the many occupations then sweeping the country's campuses.

The student activists decided to step up the pressure on the Lib Dems by sending a large group of student occupiers to the nearby Civic Centre, seat of the local council. They walked into the council chamber as the weekly council meeting was about to begin and staged a sit-in protest. On 9 December, the day of the vote, they led a demonstration through the city's packed shopping streets, which involved up to 3,000 students, sixth formers and their supporters. During the day of protests they marched to the Civic Centre no less than three times.'


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