Ludotheque

The protest and the horse

– THE FILTER –


Sometimes, what you can see out of a window is all you need to know. Out of this central London window, I can see a large, attractive English townhouse, and at the foot of it, a man has been shouting for quite some time.

Erica Buist

Long enough for me to decide to write about it, if that’s any indication. He’s shouting in the direction of one of the higher windows, something about – don’t do this, open the door, let’s talk about this, this isn’t fair, just open the door.

The windows looked double glazed to me.

It’s London today in a nutshell. We Londoners are the angry loser behind the closed door; with protest after protest, demonstration after demonstration, we can’t seem to get our government to open the door and talk to us.

The government have taken it upon themselves to triple higher education fees, effectively closing off higher education as an option for many.

We the people are less than amused.

I got caught in the student protest march last week while going about my day. Caught in an endless crowd of righteous anger, pulling together and some fantastic signs, it was mildly wonderful to be a small part of history. Yet all the while my heart sank almost imperceptibly lower with each step of the march, knowing in my cynical mind that if we could go to (an illegal) war despite overwhelming protest, they probably wouldn’t take much notice of the public collectively saying “I rather think that’s a bit expensive, don’t you?”

I was not present when the march turned ugly. I did not see the police officers with their name tags covered, charging in with eyes glistening, salivating to brutalize and assault the protesters. I did not see the man get dragged from his wheelchair by a policeman who, let’s face it, was hitting quite a long way below the belt. Using someone’s disability against them is surely – dare I say it? – a little unprofessional! If he had seen a blind protester would he have spun him round and round and round and sent him on his way?

Police brutality aside, some of the events that transpired that day bordered on the ridiculous. I know it’s cruel, I know we shouldn’t laugh, but when the police rode in on horses, I can’t imagine any of them expected that their horse would get punched in the face. But that’s what happened. A horse got punched in the face.

We shouldn’t laugh.

I am.

But we shouldn’t.

When the rise in fees was first proposed, who knew that the combination of events that rippled out from that first moment would culminate in the punching of a horse?

Let me remind you that the horse in question never received training or self-defence classes, essentially does the job of a vehicle for no salary other than room and board, may well be forced to retire in France very much against his will, and was fated to a punch in the face by a group now known as the ConDems. It seems future generations of young Britons are not the only victims here. Will the politicians responsible feel even a twinge of remorse for sparking this spiral of events? Will they spare a thought for the suffering of this nameless beast?

In further debates about whether Britain is broken, I doubt our friend the horse will come up. I’m not sure the incident can be used as viable evidence for or against the notion… is Britain really broken?

Maybe, maybe not.

But when horses are getting punched over rising tuition fees, we can certainly conclude that Britain is peeved.

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