Page last updated at: Thu, 02 December 2010 22:14 PM GMT Printable version

Stand up! Protect the arts!

by Jonathan Beckenson

With the recent Millbank incident fresh in everyone’s mind, what is the national feeling? For some it is a negative; that ignorant students got carried away, but considering the approach of the media towards the subject it’s not at all surprising. These students could be much more aware than the nation about what is to come, and what these government actions signify. Look to the past, to the riots of the 80s, to the state of unrest, for that is our future, and that is the true direction we head.

The media has generally as a whole, been slanderous towards the entire protest, displaying a right wing opinion of all events of the day. Many consider the ‘Battle of Milbank’ a degradation of the efforts of the protest of that day. In some sense perhaps it did destroy the joyous united students’ vibe from the march; and therefore remove that previous image from all public memory.

In truth, I was in the vicinity of Millbank and saw the events unfold; but there was no mass violent frenzy. What occurred that day was slow and gradual; as hard as it is to believe in the manner the media has spun it (idiotic fire extinguisher incident aside). But has anyone outside this circle of students considered the real reasons that evoked such momentary madness?

Skating around the issue, most publications have not delved into the consequences these cuts will have after their first blow; ignorant to the fact that we risk a Thatcher era recreated in modern times.

There will be consequences in the form of class division, accelerated gentrification of London. As art and humanities institutions go into fail and ruin across the country, steps will be taken in order to save the most elite and popular (Cambridge, Oxford). Even our own head of university has said it will not be able to survive in its current state with removed funding. This will no doubt lead to the privatisation of institutions and during the price war, the most prestigious will be the most unattainable.

The demographic of this shifts violently towards those who can afford what is possibly going to be around £20,000 per year for the most popular CSM course, and thus in a few years all newcomers in industry will be of this background. London will be for the rich elite; the poor will be pushed further and further out with little job prospects.

Well, as someone told me recently if there’s not enough money for all why shouldn’t it just be for the rich?


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