24/7 News nudges BBC into hype over student riots

 

Great shots of a nasty riot and the stills are a picture editor’s dream. Being at the focus of the students’ wrath inside the besieged Palace of Westminster tempted the normally judicious Nick Robinson (rightly warning here that the story won’t go away you know) into overegging it on the 10, when he said ( I only slightly paraphrase).

A few hours ago this was about winning a vote on student fees, which the coalition duly did. But a day is a long time in politics. This one will be remembered as the day the government lost control of the streets.”

You’d have thought the people’s  Soviet was about to storm the Winter Palace. Perhaps being couped up inside for hours made it feel it felt like that. Outside in Parliament Square, being hemmed in a kettle for hours made it feel like that too, and they reacted according to script.

The Storming of the Winter Royal Car was an unexpected bonus and the picture editor’s nirvana. This tempted the BBC News channel and Sky (who had better pix first) into a frenzy of alarm about the “royal breach of security” which the normally level- headed June Kelly told us was ” the real story.” What would  have happened if the paint was ” something worse?” Ah the old worse case hypothesis, so beloved of 24 hour news.

Royal security might have been better served if they hadn’t driven Charles and Camilla through an angry crowd in the customised Rolls limmo with the royal arms badge on top, with especially big windows to allow adoring crowds a good look at the royals waving to them inside. –  or in this single case to let  less adoring  crowds identify who’s inside easily and  try to kick the doors in.  Put them in an armoured Jaguar with smoked glass and -who knows? – they might have got off unidentified and unscathed.

What a tough job for the police. One day a policeman pushes a frail man over who dies and he’s crucified as the pictures are played over and over. Another day and the police are slammed for failing to get a grip. Both criticisms may be valid of course but you can see the dilemma, What investigators in a sterile atmosphere later find it hard to capture is the force of pressure and rage that can push a man to lose control for a second or make police commanders fearful of putting their careers on the line.

Does the presence of live TV make demos worse? Demonstrators may jeer louder when they’re on live but the real damage seems to be done mostly off camera and by people wearing masks, suggesting they come prepared to make trouble. It’s an anachronistic question anyway as we all have our own cameras now. Sometimes though, the weight of day-long coverage and the unfamiliar sight of real people behaving badly can overbalance the sanest of reporters.

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  • joeCanuck

    TV companies and, tomorrow, newspapers, will publish images that confirm that the sky is falling. I’m shocked, Sir, truly shocked.

    Report by Chicken Little.

  • A large crowd is “kettled” for hours. The Daily Mail snapper catches youth taking s leak. Shock! Horror! It’s the base of sainted Churchill’s statue!

    Another good’un!

    Ms Teather swore. Cable made a fool of himself. Simon Hughes vacillated. Democracy was served by a constrained, heavily-whipped five-hour debate. What fun! What jinks!

    And the Big Event of the evening? A princeling and his doxy get police escort to meet Kylie.

    Why, this is (media) hell, nor am I from it …
    Hell hath no limits, nor is circumscribed
    In one self place; for where we are is hell,
    And where hell is, there must we ever be.

    Meanwhile, this was only the second-largest government revolt in this parliament. No prizes for guessing the biggest: right-wing Tories over Europe.

  • becky

    and not even a plastic bullet fired.

  • fitzjameshorse1745

    Surely its not a new thing…rioting on TV. We ……er I mean they were at it 40 years ago in West Belfast. You got to see yourself on the evening news wearing the yellow tank top you bought in Gresham Street.
    Does 24 Hours make it worse than Martin Bell reporting from the Newtownards Road or listening to the police radio?. Well only in the sense that 24 Hour News needs news to happen on a 24 Hour basis.
    And the Police monitor TV rather than TV monitoring the Police. And interesting police with red helmets (MOD).
    Its not yet 8.30am and TV news is covering the graffiti being removed from public buildings …….they can do it quickly when they want to (Bankys art collectors take note). Theres whole communities who want graffiti removed but they dont live where tourists go.

    Retired squadron leaders in Tunbridge Wells might write a stiff letter to the Daily Telegraph…or at least send them a tweet ….about Churchills statue or the flag at the Cenotaph but I dont think it changes anything.
    The people who care about such things will care.
    The people who dont care still wont care.
    And rather a large number of people watching 24 hour news will be surprisingly cheering the students on.
    (actually funny thing ….30 lunatic students outside Belfast City Hall on UTV news really annoyed me but thousands rampaging thru London did not annoy me at all).
    So the over the top quote of the day was from Ben Brown (BBC) who said the “police have advised us to put on our helmets” but Kelvin McKenzie going ape on Sky……or Tim Willcox getting worked up “the students will surely lose public support over this” was just wrong. Its more fun than watching Countdown and the protests seem likely to grow. Gladdening the heart of many an old revolutionary.
    Charles Windsor and his new wife……..well again if a person in the shires is programmed to be outraged……he/she will be outraged. Should boost sales of “Hello” and “OK” next week……”Brave Duchess attends the Paladium………..”.
    But it wasnt the Winter Palace.
    It wasnt the Archduke Ferdinand in Sarajevo. The Austrian Army is not massing on the border.
    It is the stuff of “Mock The Week” and “Have I Got News For You”. Is the latter on this week? But they record on Wednesday I think.
    So we will have to make up our own punchlines……involving the Duke of Edinburgh, Mohammed El Fayed. Maybe the chauffeur was French.
    Disappointed by Simon Hughes.
    Vince Cable the wisest man in Britain and the man we could all trust looks like an eejit.
    The best defence the Liberal Democrats can come up with is that the pledge was only to be taken seriously if they didnt get elected. Or if they did get elected.
    But not if they were in coalition.
    As pathetic as Dimbleby introducing Aaron Porter onto the Qustion Time Panel…”NUS President and Labour Party member”, …….not a man to be kettled on Westminster Bridge. He would much rather be in the House of Commons. When is Jack Straw retiring?
    Sarah Teather swore?????
    I missed that.
    Any chance of a verbatim report?

  • pippakin

    The students have got themselves a very articulate and capable spokespersons. This time the answers to the ‘experts’ appear to be well thought out and definitely non apologetic. It appears I can still be surprised and even impressed by youth.

    Very funny to see the pair of them being taken ‘away’ in a black maria. I haven’t seen one of those for years!

    Kettling has got to the most dangerous and inciting procedure ever invented.

  • fitzjameshorse1745

    Actually Charles Windsor was the first member of the Windsor family to attend University. (Cambridge I believe)
    Thanks to the Tory-Lib Dem coalition ………people from his background will no longer be able to afford university. ….and certainly NOT Cambridge.

    This will severely limit social mobility and restrict the job opportunities of people like the Windsors.

  • pippakin

    FJH

    Didn’t they have to’create a special’ degree level for him? I can’t remember the details but I remember some less than subservient headlines.

  • Alex Gray

    Was Brian Walker there ? Easy to say someone lost it when you are several hundred miles away. Nick Robinson was there and if what happened yesterday means that the authorities have not lost control of the streets, I would love to see what losing control of the streets looks like !

  • drumlins rock

    STOP PRESS
    The police have now also lost control of the streets of Ballymacslugger, the students have ran amock and carried out an unprovoked attack on senior VIPs, the local seargent has called on parents to control their children until such times as the primary school reopens and to stop them throwing snowballs at the lollypop man, he hopes to get the BMW patrol car back on main street when the thaw arrives.

  • Cynic

    Aye Alex …. up the revolution

    I saw one photo of a student protester holding up a home made sign saying “I cant even afford a proper sign”. She was made up to the hilt with, I would guess, a haircut that cost about £80. Stiudent povery ….it’s shockin

  • cut the bull

    I heard it muted that students are considering fielding candidates in the next council elections in South Belfast, Coleraine and Derry where there are significant student populations.
    If this be true who will be the candidates be? Will they be independants or representitives of political parties or pressure groups such as the Socialist Workers Party, Comhdhail Poblachta, Socialist Party or Eirigi.
    This could put the cat among the pigeons which are comfotably perched in Belfast City Hall,Coleraine and the Guildhall.

  • The Raven

    cut the bull

    I truly hope this is more than hyperbole. I think it would be a fantastic opportunity to knock the grey-hairs around a wee bit. Perhaps, if you come across a concerted, organised plan to do this, you could post details. I would happily give a hand, for no reason other than being thran.

  • cut the bull

    As I said I heard it muted nothing more substaional. I would love to see it happening as it would hopefully bring about rea; change in those councils and possibly even more.

  • 2 frys 2 teas

    There may be significant student populations in the three areas, however i know from my days at uni that you registered with the doctor in the area you had your digs but im not sure you changed your voting address…….

    any student vote would surely be only from whoever naturally resides in the area and is on the electoral register for each area

  • fitzjameshorse1745 @ 8:20 am:

    “Verbatim report” on Ms Teather? Not really necessary. Sky News doorstepped her — see insert on http://news.sky.com/skynews/Article/201009115849817 — and pursued her along (how apposite) Churchill Road, Willesden (take the turning off the High Road, opposite the Islamic College). For public consumption, her big speech (“F*ck off!”) was left on the cutting-room floor.

  • HeinzGuderian

    Quite funny to see the rabal waving red flags ?? Maybe they should go to Bejing,or Moscow and try a spot of rioting…………

    Tell you what though…………….I wish someone would give me a £9,000 loan,which I may never have to pay back………….why,it’s enough to make you riot ?? 🙂

  • barnshee

    “This could put the cat among the pigeons which are comfotably perched in Belfast City Hall,Coleraine and the Guildhall.”

    Will not happen– the appropriate flags will be waved any “articulate” (self important, politically ambitious argumentative financially illterate) will be tarred as fenian/prod as appropriate and will be ignominiously rejected.

  • 2 frys 2 teas @ 11:02 am:

    Current practice is for Uni Halls of Residence to register all students. The NUS and Unions recommend students in lodgings to register. This has two consequences:

    ¶ In theory the registered student has a choice whether to vote in the university town or at home. In practice, many vote twice: it’s illegal, improper but who gives a damn?

    ¶ Using the 2001 census figures,there are some 42 seats in England and three in Wales where the student vote exceeds 10%. In eight it exceeds 20%. The student population has significantly increased in the last decade, so these numbers are probably all under-estimates.

    ¶ Sheffield Central, 25.60%, Paul Blomfield MP (Labour, majority 165 over LibDem);
    ¶ Cardiff Central, 24.90%, Jenny Willott MP (LibDem, maj 4,576 over Labour. She resigned to vote against fees hike);
    ¶ Cambridge, 24.10%, Julian Huppert MP (Lib Dem, maj 6,792 over Tory, and 7,447 over Labour. He voted against);
    ¶ Leeds North-West, 23.50%, Greg Mulholland MP (Lib Dem, maj 9,103 over Tory, Labour third with 21% of vote. He voted against);
    ¶ Nottingham South, 23.40%, Lillian Greenwood MP (Labour, maj 1772 over Tory, LibDem third with 23% of vote);
    ¶ Oxford East, 23%, Andrew Smith MP (Labour, 4,581 maj over LibDems
    ¶ Liverpool Riverside, 21.80%, Tories way behind on 18%);
    ¶ Manchester Gorton, 21.10%, Gerald Kaufman MP (Labour, 6,703 maj over LibDem, Tory a mile back).

    Nick Clegg’s Sheffield Hallam seat has something like 12% student voters.

  • Jean Meslier

    Kettle them all – I say
    Kettle them all!

  • Jean Meslier

    FJH1745
    “..Actually Charles Windsor was the first member of the Windsor family to attend University. (Cambridge I believe)..”

    Why can’t these pesky, left leaning, estudiantes be educated at home like Mr. Windsor’s mum was?

  • RepublicanStones

    Some blade on the Jeremy Vine show suggested Charles should have gotten out to have a word with the protestors. Even I wouldn’t offer the old sod that kind of ‘advice’ !

  • 2 frys 2 teas

    Malcolm

    Just checked the with the electoral office there and it appears that students must register with what is considered their permanent address and either travel to vote or use the proxy/postal system for a term time election.

    The situation is obviously different on the mainland as you point out.

  • cynic47

    Must say that the student class is making a good job of quickly reducing any public sympathy they had for their case.

  • Dylan

    The bottom line in N.I is that no one from the four main parties in Stormont can say a thing simply because all of their most senior representatives spent the guts of the last 40 years bringing literally hundreds of thousands of protesters onto the streets at the drop of a hat ( “Ulster Says No” campaign, Ulster Resistance, Civil Rights movement, Hunger Strikes et al) frequently resulting in death and millions of pounds worth of damage. If violent demonstrations w were deemed appropriate following numerous Drumcree standoffs and were successful in securing Sinn Fein’s place at the executive can anyone blame these youngsters for following their elders lead? People need to get real; the Student protesters in Belfast yesterday didn’t lick this kind of behavior off the ground (nor for that matter did the London protesters-Poll Tax riots anyone??) and the Northern Ireland assembly is powerless to criticise or judge-to do so would be hypocritical in extremis.

  • fitzjameshorse1745

    Indeed Pippakin, Charles Windsors degree was overseen by “Lord Butler” and Im sure his degree in Anthropology (honestly!) was his own work. After all it was a “third”.

    The award for Toady of the Week goes to Theresa May who managed the words “their royal highnesses” about a hundred times or possibly just three times in a very short statement.
    I thought she was auditioning for the “your highness your highness” scene in Blackadder the Third.

    Of course I could have told Charles that driving into a hostile group in an armour plated liveried Bentley is nota good move.
    Once had the same experience on “orange band competition night” in Banbridge one Friday night several summers ago.
    Not exactly liveried…..but I could remove the little “Armagh GAA sign”.
    Not exactly a Bentley….Nissan Sunny at the time.
    Not exactly armour plated.
    The biggest difference was that the RUC in Banbridge were much more efficient than the Metroploitan Police. And in great humour.
    “Id hide the Armagh thing……these b***ards are all Down supporters” and I was directed away from the mob…….er I mean directed away from the display of Orange culture.

    Interestingly the attack on the Windsors happened about 200 metres from the spiritual home of Londons Jacobites and about 200 metres from the “London home” (as he puts it) of Englands leading self styled Jacobite.
    I fear an anti Jacobite pogram (not the first in that particular area). We have many safe houses.

  • joeCanuck

    Wonder will the hangings be in public? Could be quite an attraction next year for visitors up there with the Royal wedding. Of course they”ll have to identify the traitorous students who shouted “Off with their heads” to his Highness and his wife before the Treason trials. Wonder if either shat themselves?

  • Greenflag

    Was’nt there a scene in that old series House of Cards where the POW (prince of Wales ) performs an election winning manoeuvre for Urquahart’s re-election by getting caught up in a protest ?

    But hang on the election is over . Somebody got their timing wrong -again 😉 or is Mr Cameron’s House of Cards tottering already ?

    Nice to see the English students getting bolshoi . It’s not exactly 1968 though ;(

  • pippakin

    Greenflag

    Curious that if they didn’t have a radio link to the police controlling the protest (they say they didn’t) they didn’t have motorbike rider in front who could have redirected the car before it went into the crowd.

    If they are looking for sympathy they should have sent the Queen, Charles and Camilla have got to be the most unpopular royals in a very long time, especially with Margaret gone.

  • Greenflag

    Now if Diana had been in the car they’d have been better behaved or would they ;)?

    Nobody injured this time . Could’nt they deal with the underlying problem linked below by putting these people into the Army or something ? Oops they’re cutting back on Defence expenditure too .

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2010/12/young_and_jobless.html

  • 2 frys 2 teas

    FJH
    “Once had the same experience on “orange band competition night” in Banbridge one Friday night several summers ago.”

    ahh yes Banbridge – a real cauldron of fear

  • Johnny Boy

    24/7 news is a blight on humanity.

  • pippakin

    Greenflag

    Not sure but she was definitely liked! which Charles and Camilla are not.

    There is a problem with young unemployed and college has offered a few years reprieve from the jobless queue. The problem doesn’t really go away though. Some leave college with one of those Mickey Mouse degrees and are immediately unemployed.

  • 2 frys 2 teas @ 12:45 pm:

    No: I think that’s standard returning officer advice.

    The quibble: what is any student’s permanent address? Mum in particular (in receipt of regular washing assignments, and the occasional begging letter) may have an emotional attachment to said student remaining on home address return. The college accommodation officer, annually visited by TV licence enforcement and other jobsworths, is entitled to an alternative interpretation.

    Everybody else:

    Nice to know that highnesses can vicariously, from the security of an armour-plated limousine, share the experience of us commoners, taking an English-registered VW through Newry one night in the early ’80s. I don’t remember the massed ranks of police rushing out to ensure our safety, nor the press grieving over the subsequent state of our paintwork.

    On a different tack, there’s a growing rumble on the Norf Lunnun rumour mill that the local gangs (and not a proper student among them) were happily exploiting yesterday. Except to the Paparazzi and their desk-bound caption-writers, that seems an obvious inference.

    So, as a public service, here’s the Redfellow guide to problem #94: how to distinguish [a] a hard-man out to improve his street-cred from [b] a convinced anarchist (though most self-claimed anarchists couldn’t tell the difference between their Bakhunin and their Kropotkin) from [c] average student?
    ¶ Hint 1: common ethnicity (most gangs are ethnically selected) — suspect [a].
    ¶ Hint 1: the balaklavas, scarfs and hoods — suspect [b].
    ¶ Hint 3: look for a fashion label (especially anything from Abercrombie & Fitch, Hollister, Banana Republic …) — undoubtedly [c], confirm by asking if equipped with maxed-out credit card.

  • Jean Meslier

    Ad in todays Auto Trader.

    For Sale

    1 x 30 year old, 4 door Bently.
    FSH, MOT’d and taxed April 1st 2011
    One lady owner (octogenerian)
    Slight damage to rear side panels
    Some dodgy new paint work

    Priced to sell. ₤1169 or ono
    Tel:01 1690 1917

    Ask for Liz or Phil
    No timewasters or students

  • Ah, but they got to meet the etherial, the stellar, the divine Kylie!

    Bless.

    [By the way, Redfellow: that previous post seems a trifle innumerate.]

  • al

    In many other countries if a mob decends on parliament and attempts to break through police lines protecting the government they would have more than horses to worry about.

    I have very little sympathy for the students being one myself. Very naive of protestors to break from the main march and think they could breach police lines without a fight.

    I don’t condone police battering people on the head but the want to be anarchists in the crowd deserved what they got.

  • Greenflag

    ‘ Some leave college with one of those Mickey Mouse degrees and are immediately unemployed.’

    Maybe the reason they go to college for Mickey Mouse degrees is because it beats working for minimum wage and it’s too far to cycle down South to London to where all the ‘real jobs’ are in the City or where they used to be . Our anarchic ‘capitalist ‘ society is out of synch with today’s younger generation .

    These kind of protests could have been much worse in Ireland. Emigration has always been the ‘safety valve ‘ which prevented our ‘wealthy ‘ local elite from being dragged from their homes by the mob in the past . Today the lower birth rate of the past two decades has resulted in a shortage of potential revolutionaries and our foreign immigrants are were to delighted to be making any money at all that they have kept quiet.

    Give it another year or two and the UK will probably face even worse street violence with the expected extra million or so unemployed joining the students .

    The last thing any government should do with a ‘problem ‘ that won’t go away is to exacerbate it . When you are in an enclosed field with an irate bull -it’s not clever to walk up to said bull and poke it in the ribs with a sharp implement . You merely make the bull aware of your impotence and as you flee for the gate before certain impalement the bull will not be listening to the standard neo con rationale as to why increasing student fees is a good idea -longer term . Most bulls are not aware of the longer term and even non bulls know that tomorrow is not guaranteed .

  • fitzjameshorse1745

    Certainly some “local” Parties are better than others at getting the student vote.
    Just look at the leadrship in Student Unions. Gareth McGreevy, Ciarnan Halferty and others will get their chance as the Attwoods and ……….was Kate Fearon a QUB Union President?
    Theres a student vote within constituencies certainly but Im not sure that translates to a “student vote”. A QUB student from Enniskillen with a desire to vote Alliance might well find it beneficial to register in South Belfast. A UUP student from Derry might also want to register in South Belfast.
    But a SDLP student from Ballycastle might be more “needed” in North Antrim. And a SF voting student from Downpatrick more “needed” in South Down.
    And so on.
    Essentially there is a student vote in South Belfast, East Antrim, East Derry and Foyle…….and its based on normal Party committment ……..perhaps some tendency to see a specific student interest “Party” as the Womens Coalition.
    And sadly a tendency to be 6th Form and update their Facebook page with “I am standing for City Council LOL”.

    In fact not even that is new. Mark Langhammer once stood as “Bring a Bottle” party candidate in Newtownabbey. He failed but subsequently grew up.

  • al @ 4:35 pm: I have very little sympathy for the students being one myself.

    Funny how the story about Alfie Matthews took a while to come through. [http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-london-11967098]

    Obviously the paintwork of a royal limousine is more newsworthy than a life-threatening brain injury caused by a police truncheon. Or as Blasted Boris Johnson puts it: “It is very, very difficult for the police to strike a balance in this matter …”

  • becky

    lucky it happened in london could have been outside casement park

  • al

    Malcolm I also said “I don’t condone police battering people on the head”.

    Of course an attack on the car carrying the heir to the throne is more newsworthy than an alleged attack on a protesting student. Hopefully the young man recovers with no lasting damage however the circumstances of how he got injured are still being investigated. There were cameras capturing the incident with his royalness but so far nothing showing how or why the young protestor was injured. I’m sure when evidence does emerge (which it inevitably will with the amount of cameras in Parliament Sq) the media will be crying police brutality.

  • al @ 5:56:

    Sarajevo this was not. Police brutality there has been on each occasion. I’d accept the comment that thuggery breeds thuggery, but that merely underlines the state’s willingness to use reactive and excessive force. It does not justify the indiscriminate loss of control and brutalising of the bourgeoisie. Yesterday, for example, it was clear that some of the details sent in were not from the Met: there were transport police and MoD identifiers on the head-gear. These are not the usual crowd-controllers on such occasions.

    becky @ 5:29 pm would probably appreciate the inspirational (well, they drive me to hard spirits) explanations why other methods are not suited to crowd-control in Westminster. Forgive my glosses:

    ¶ Water cannon? “Oh, we’ve tried them and they’re not effective.”

    ¶ Plastic bullets? “An innocent by-stander, perhaps a tourist, might get hurt.”

    ¶ CS gas? “Isn’t suited to our urban geography.”

    So it’s truncheons, fists, boots and the cavalry charge (that stand-by from before Peterloo to after Orgreave).

    As for CCTV, I’d not put a lot of faith in that. The cameras seem very temperamental, as at Stockwell (22 July 2005).

  • Greenflag

    @ malcolm redfellow

    “It is very, very difficult for the police to strike a balance in this matter …”

    Much easier to strike a student or a miner in the 1980’s or a peasant in Wat Tyler’s time 😉

  • Brian

    I have no sympathy for these kids. I worked my way through college and am a better man for it.

    I have friends who didn’t have to pay a dime for one reason or another and many of them treated the thing like a 4 year long holiday (minus exam weeks).

    As for those with the red flags, they should spend some time reading about life in the countries where the red flags flew over top of government buildings. They probably have Che tattoos paid for by their rich daddies.

  • pippakin

    I empathise with the students and dislike the so called kettling which is actually the imprisoning of hundreds of people in a confined area with no water or facilities.

    But just as not all the students were from the same university, or were even all students, so the police could not be expected to be from the same force. Bearing in mind that policing would have had to continue as normal everywhere else its only natural for the Met to have called in assistance. It does not excuse any brutality but does explain the different branches of police on duty at the protest.

  • andnowwhat

    Apparently Charles was warned not to take this route but decided to act the big lad.

    BTW, Channel4 have come out against the students actions.

    The viewing figures for Countdown have halved.

  • RepublicanStones

    I have no sympathy for these kids. I worked my way through college and am a better man for it.

    You’re assuming that all these students don’t? I worked throughout my time at Uni, but i support these kids right to protest. I don’t agree with what it descended to, and these kids should be ashamed of themselves for making me feel sorry for Charlie and horseface.

  • al

    Malcolm if there were less police there could have been a very dramatic outcome. The police were stopping a mob from marching into parliament buildings and the rest we can only fantasise about.

  • Ho, ho, ho! It gets better! Or not.

    We now learn that SO14 (the royal protection squad) were “seconds from drawing their guns” when the royal Rolls was caught up in traffic and pedestrians — something quite common among commoners, but we don’t flaunt our heraldic symbols, nor sit spot-lit in the rear of massive sedans. A senior officer had to order the squad to desist. Only the driver of the Rolls (give that man an OBE and a Mars bar) saved its passengers (and presumably the locality) from being involved in a one-sided shoot-up.

    Since SO14 are armed with Glocks, each of their weapons dispense a minimum of seventeen bullets at 840 mph, with a range of 50+ yards. In a crowded city street, wouldn’t that have been tears before bed-time?

    We also learn that the present lady in the Prince’s life (he seems to be able to change them) had her window open. Hmm. It was a chilly evening in London last night. Sounds credible?

    Of course, shooting people Northern Irish is usually in season, without regard to sectarian or political bent (they’re all Paddies, after all). Taking out a few genuine Brits, along with the odd tourist, in the West End, might be in a different ball-park.

    No, al @ 9:49 pm: that’s no fantasy.

  • joeCanuck

    SO14 might just be SO11 now. I magine the hapless Superintendent and his 2 Inspectors are back walking the beat, or will be once they have completed their suspensions.

  • joeCanuck

    And now there is to be an investigation into why some fellow’s head got hurt after been hit by a police truncheon. I wonder what they think truncheons are for or why they would consider them as standard issue if they were simply rolled up newspapers? Maybe they’ll have to hold lessons for staff on how and when to give a little tap, a bit bigger tap and then the full thwack like Catholic schoolteacher priests used to excel at with their lead filled leather straps..
    BTW, in case anyone is confused, I support the students protests though not any violence.

  • andnowwhat

    Could have been worse,

    Phil, the Greek could have been in the car. He would have shot the lot of them and then had their heads mounted at Glenwhateveritscalled

  • IJP

    Another excellent piece, Brian – my view of the issue, better expressed!

  • joeCanuck

    From The First Post:

    Metropolitan police commissioner Sir Paul Stephenson said armed officers had shown “enormous restraint” in not using their weapons on unarmed protesters.

    Hmm.

  • joeCanuck

    (oops, too quick)

    3 or 4 dead students and I think it would be Bye bye royal family.

  • pippakin

    joe

    I think you’re right, especially since Charles and Nell were behaving as though it was the first act of the show, there were other routes they could have chosen. It has been said he ignored advice. It sounds as though he came very close to destroying the royal family, again.

  • HeinzGuderian

    Seems a little odd that some people would support a riotous mob,against a couple driving along a road,going about their business,annoying no one ?? Still……………nice to see our Oirish Royal Watchers taking such an interest…;-)

  • fitzjameshorse1745

    Well normally Id be on the side of the couple in the car.

    Normally Id have disapproved of the mob and and the Caesescus (sp) hubby and wife in Romania.
    And if Id been around in Berlin in April 1945 I might in normal circumstances had a twinge of sympathy for a couple who commit suicide on their wedding night.

    I suppose at the end of the day, it depends who the couple are.

  • HeinzGuderian @ 9:33 am:

    annoying no one

    There speaks a Generaloberst who’s never been on the receiving end of a royal visitation.

    My recollection is emulsion paint for weeks before hand, floors scrubbed and burnished for the first time in yonks, a loo spruced and locked for a week previous (but in the event not visited, not used), flowers rented for the occasion, and a severe lecture on proper deportment.

    It all depends, I suppose, on what is intended by going about their business.

  • joeCanuck

    Malcolm,

    You must have been a well off family. We would have needed to borrow Mrs. Martin’s fine china.

  • joeCanuck (@ 4:52 pm:

    Nah, it’s par for the course when the public sector opens a new project.

    Sure enough, as soon as the hour-and-a-bit of formal visitation was over, our teaching budget was cut to pay for it all. Still, we gained a brass plaque.

    All that, too, is the reality of royals going about their business.

    But cruising a flag-ship Rolls pocket-battleship through the West End crowds on a late-shopping Thursday, when forty thousand plus “youf” are in town, on the rampage (some of them gen-you-ine stoodints), and been in the pub for a few bevvies … that’s either an act of insanity or the Met Police’s upper echelon gently protesting about the cuts already happening to their budgets.