Throughout modern British history, mass demonstrations and protests have often been demonised and depicted as the work of trouble-makers, hooligans and extremists. It was the same old story last week as 10,000 students descended on London to protest against tuition fees and the abolition of maintenance grants, which led to the arrest of 12 protestors.
As the Conservative Party Conference draws to a close, we have been treated to some of the worst displays of political intolerance by the British New Left since the riots which followed the General Election. However, as Conservatives, we must not allow ourselves to be intimidated, nor to simply consider such behaviour an "occupational hazard" of being right-wing in Britain today.
What I wonder here, is how these movements are felt and understood when those images never come to light because the cameras are switched off? By Monday no one is even mentioning Saturday's 250,000 strong protest. Does this mean it may well as not have happened? What I am interested in, and keenly aware of as a feminist, is the problem of preaching to the converted.
It only takes one riled individual setting fire to something they shouldn't to tarnish the entire group. Appearing on the news that night, their cause is lost in a story about out-of-control rebels in violent disarray. If you are that individual, it's simple: leave the spray paint, the petrol and the expletive laden placards at home, and come up with something more purposeful to chant.
This march is an invitation for people to gather together and exchange ideas, to show solidarity for those suffering the ills of austerity and to exercise their democratic rights. On the 20th June, there will be an important march in London. I hope that all those sympathetic to the cause will get involved and help celebrate the democratic rights that we are so fortunate to enjoy.
Since the Conservative party "won" the UK general election on May 7th, people have taken to the streets across the UK in a defiant display of disenchantment with the electoral system and the austerity consensus of the major political parties. The prospect of 5 more years of crippling austerity has prompted many to reclaim the future of UK politics.