“You can't be neutral on a moving train”—Peter Hallward on Alfie Meadows and the London fees protests.
Peter Hallward gives his analysis of the tuition fees ("one of the most reactionary and ill-conceived pieces of legislation in this country's history") for the Times Higher Education. The piece is also a personal account of the protests of 9th December, including the injuring by police of Middlesex student Alfie Meadows.
My partner and I found him wandering in Parliament Square a little after 6pm, pale and distraught, looking for a way to go home. He had a large lump on the right side of his head. He said he'd been hit by the police and didn't feel well. We took one look at him and walked him towards the nearest barricaded exit as quickly as possible. It took a few minutes to reach and then convince the taciturn wall of police blocking Great George Street to let him through their shields, but they refused to let me, my partner or anyone else accompany him in search of medical help. We assumed that he would receive immediate and appropriate treatment on the other side of the police wall as a matter of course, but in fact he was left to wander off on his own, towards Victoria.
As it turns out, Alfie's subsequent survival depended on three chance events.
Visit Times Higher Education to read the full piece.
Visit the Guardian for more on the Alfie Meadows case, including the claim that he (and other protestors) were initially refused care at Chelsea and Westminster A & E so as not to 'upset' police.