Friday, 10 December 2010

In the eye of the storm

One of the more depressing elements of yesterday's events (on a day when there was much to be depressed about) was the way in which the media and politicians focused on some protestors' attempts to storm their way into, and then out of, Westminster Square - off the main and agreed march route.

You'd think the whole story was about a (rather nasty) attack on the Prince of Wales' car.

In fact, there was a rather good Parliamentary debate. Despite some mean-spirited stuff today about how this was a 'prolier than thou' competition, there were some powerful contributions from all sides. There was an impassioned appeal from David Blunkett evoking his years at night school, and there was a thoughtful contribution from Ben Gummer on the Conservative side, who defended Blunkett's name and record against some rather pitiful attacks from his own side. Gummer had actually done his homework and spoken to universities - in his case University Campus Suffolk, the newest of the new universities, which is in his constituency. I think we'll see much more of him in the future. There was also a good speech by Greg Mulholland from among the Liberal Democrats, who rightly argued that without so much as Green Paper, yesterday's vote was a leap in the dark that Parliamentarians shouldn't be asked to make.

There were also some good speeches down on the Embankment, including this one by Caroline Lucas.

But how much of the rally and the debate made it onto the TV? Not that much.