After a peaceful and zealous student protest in Truro has been received with official complaints and police action, I’m forced to ask the titular question. Rather than seeing a politically mobilised group of students as a sign that the much-berated ‘youth of today’ might have some convictions after all, it seems that this idea, for some, is too hard to swallow.
Chants of “you’re Tory and you know you are” could be heard ringing outside the Liberal Democrat HQ on Charles Street before placards were left in the reception area and a weighty petition was delivered. Grounds for complaint? Apparently so. After then being referred to as ‘scum’ by the worker inside, many of the protesters have been left utterly incensed after their democratic voices seem not only to have been ignored, but seem to have been condemned as well. We were then told by the police that our behaviour had actually had an adverse effect on the positive delivery of our message. Again, I must stress that the very worst act committed was the continued occupation of the pavement outside the Conservative Club. Is Cornwall really so apathetic that it can no longer recognise this not only as a right, but a duty when injustice has been perpetrated?
For me, the most shocking opposition we faced was from a minority of the public. It seems vestigial individualism still grips the mind of many, at a time in British history when it has never been more important for, what is essentially, the proletariat to unite. The use of that word may have daunting, left-wing connotations for some, but after the government cuts take hold, I predict a lurch to the left will be needed and begged for. After all, whether it be against rises in fees, rises in tax, cuts in public services (I could go on), we’re all singing from the same hymn-sheet; we won’t accept injustice. It’s time this feeling of unity dissipated in Cornwall. Perhaps when its people have been brought to their knees by dangerous cuts, we’ll truly understand the importance of speaking out.
Lisa Camps is a student and activist in Cornwall