When I got home yesterday I discovered that all four of my children had taken part in the student protests, independent of each other. I'm proud of them for being active citizens, willing to participate in protest when democracy is not working. I'm actually amazed that more people haven't been protesting, given that the cuts coincide with the record £7 billion the bankers are about to award themselves in bonuses.
Rose, who is 17, was one of a hundred students who got kettled on Brighton seafront late yesterday afternoon. That means that she was surrounded by armed and helmeted police and not allowed to leave the cordon to pee, to get warm or for any reason at all. They were kept like that, freezing, for two hours and only allowed to leave after that if they gave their names and addresses and were photographed. The kettling was much more severe in London.
This is apparently how police are being taught how to control peaceful demonstrations and although it is no doubt intended to intimidate citizens into being less likely to protest, I feel it is likely to radicalise a whole new generation of children and youth.
We are probably entering a time of material hardship and therefore increasing unrest. I grew up with a feeling of national security. My kids will almost certainly not have that privilege. But maybe that's a more real perspective; looking back I can see that the price of our comfort was too high.