Wasn't it wearily predictable that today's student tuition fee protest would descend into anarchy and violence?
Please don't take that as a criticism of the initial 'light touch' tactical response from the police; after the noisy shellacking (hat tip B H Obama Esq.) they took after the G20 protest - much of it from the usual suspects, it must be said - they could have hardly done anything else, irrespective of what the Daily Wail may suggest in their incresingly tedious campaign of vilification of the police who, it seems in the curious world the Wail inhabits, are damned if they do and damned if they don't.
And I don't blame the NUS, either, for that matter. Their entirely sensible president summed up their position very succinctly in observing that a small minority of protestors had hijacked their march, whilst describing the violence as 'despicable'.
No, I lay the blame fairly and squarely at the feet of the criminals (how else would you describe them?) who forced their way into the building at Millbank and did all kinds of damage, including setting fires in what is a multi-storey office block, before accessing the roof and throwing items down on the heads of police and protesters alike beneath them.
From what I have seen on the evening news, many of those who forced their way into the building and committed the offences I have referred to, have been corralled on the ground floor by the police. I trust that each and every one of them will be arrested and where the evidence justifies it- frankly their presence should suffice, given the circumstances - prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.
Oh, and in the event that any of them actually happen to be students, that on conviction - and only then - they are summarily excluded from their university and any other such institution in this country for life, in addition to the (more than likely derisory) penalty the courts choose to impose.
I wonder what sort of response Sir Paul Stephenson will arrange next time there is a large demonstration in London? G20, Millbank or an as yet unidentified 'middle way'?
Doubtless we'll find out in the fullness of time, and with the same weary predictability I mentioned at the beginning of this post, doubtless the Daily Wail will criticise that as well...