On the far right
On November 10th over 50,000 students protested against the proposals of the Browne Review. Sadly it was hijacked and overshadowed by the actions of a few thousand hardcore trouble makers and over excited gawpers who broke into the building that houses Conservative party HQ and trashed just about every other office in the building. One rioter dropped a fire extinguisher from the roof narrowly missing Police on the ground.
Students turning into Newsnight that night to see ULU president Clare Solomon condemn this disgraceful and utterly counterproductive behaviour will have been disappointed. In a performance which was, by turns, embarrassing for her and dismaying for students seeking serious representation, she came across as a cross between La Pasionara and Michael Howard.
Jeremy Paxman asked Solomon five times “How does breaking into the building advance the cause of free education?” and didn’t get an answer, the final time, indeed, she chided him for “asking the wrong questions”. By the fifth time Solomon had begun asking her own questions, replying to Paxman’s question with “Why did I feel it necessary to be on the demonstration in the first place?”
The third time of asking prompted the following exchange
Solomon – “Well I didn’t break into the building and I don’t think anybody broke into the building, that is not…”
Paxman – “You were in the building weren’t you?”
Solomon – “I was in the building”
Solomon further claimed that the students had “voted unanimously against fees and against cuts”. When? Which vote is she referring to? I certainly haven’t been asked to vote on it.
She declared herself for “Free education all the way”. Bearing in mind that 37 year old Clare Solomon claimed on Newsnight to have been a student for four years but also claims on her ULU website to have “7 years experience in various union positions” it would seem there is no limit to the amount of taxpayers cash she feels entitled to.
As if this amateurish bumbling and naked self interest was not bad enough Solomon dismissed the violence which saw 14 people injured as “a few smashed windows”. She warned “This is just the beginning” and finished by saying “If the government go through with these cuts we are going to see what we’ve seen in Greece…and I fully support it.”
In May the protests, which Clare Solomon claims to “fully support”, claimed the lives of Paraskeui Zoulia, Aggeliki Papathanasopoulou, and Epameinondas Tsakalis, three bank workers burned to death when protestors set fire to their bank.
Nobel peace prize winning democracy activist Aung San Suu Kyi, imprisoned for 15 of the last 21 years, recently called for peaceful protest in opposition to the brutal Burmese dictatorship. Ms Solomon, professional activist elected to ULU presidency with just 748 votes, defends violence against a democratic government.
(Printed in London Student, 22/11/10)