Striking a Balance – Jegan Wood argues for a more considered approach in the student struggle

We in Britain, and in many countries the world over, are suspended in constant debate over the values on which our society is based. Some argue that tradition should guide our decisions, and that our goal as a society is in defence of ourselves, and ourselves alone, while others argue that we must seek no less than perfect co-operation and universal equality of means.

However, the ideas that seem perhaps etched most boldly into our culture are those of Freedom and Utility. While governments in succession from as far back as you care to look have promised us ‘Freedom’ and ‘Opportunity’ while claiming to “do what is best for everyone”, we wonder whether or not the terms still carry any meaning. They have been overused, parroted and distorted so many times that we are left feeling dizzy.

This should not be so! We in Britain may have no single written constitution, but we have the principle, unwritten as it may be, that any government claiming rule over this society must do so in the people’s best interest and its sole aim must be to balance the desires and grievances of its populace.

The governments ‘Mandate to govern’ is, as in any democracy, is derived only from their claim to ‘do what’s best for all of us’ and as such we have a duty to speak out on our own behalf against actions such as the cuts when they in fact jeopardise our best interests.

However the most salient point, and one that can be gleaned in light of violence at Millbank, is that aggression proves and symbolises nothing but capacity for aggression itself.  If any marking impact is to be made upon the debate over measures such as tuition fees it is not to be through shouting “Free education for all” it is to be made through convincing the government that their proposal is not the compromise that they first justified it as and pushing for concessions.

And in haste of feet, flash of temper and rush of adrenaline, pause a second and consider; the streets are merely the platform, the voice is the weapon.


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