Uncle A: “Popular” Protest

Uncle A’s back, and he’s getting all topical! That’s right, he went there (the occupation).

cambridge defend education cde david willetts fees lecture theatre marxism uncle a university

Dear A,

I am a protestor! Rargh. I’m currently sitting in a lecture theatre and writing vitriolic forum posts in capitals on marxismnow.com. I worry that not enough people are willing to hear me out – simply put, I want more people to join the cause, because I don’t feel enough people sympathise with my views. A, will you help us broaden our appeal?

Quintus, CDE

Hi Quintus, CDE,

I like your name! If I am still in contact with the mother when a son of mine is born, I might just call him that.

Luckily for you, I am an expert of sorts (a ‘non-expert’, if you will) in image consulting. Now, if I know British people, and I do, then the main things they hate are people who skip queues, people who over- or under-sugar tea, and people who shout crap, self-congratulatory and repetitive poetry like a rabid mentalist with over-productive saliva glands.

British people vehemently expose extremes, be it in terms of climate, tea, or politics. This is why they say things like “I don’t mind” or “it’s up to you” rather than express any form of concrete opinion on anything. It’s what makes Britain the home of passive-aggression.

Try moderating your vitriol to the justifiable concerns many will have on the long-term prospects for economic growth, or the problems that the education bill may lead to in terms of access. Try and avoid linking it with how it proves Capitalism and the Tories need to die in some painfully sulphurous cavity of the underworld – many people won’t want to take that final leap.

The phrase “smart Alec” is a negative one in Britain because British people hate irritating technicalities. Once you’ve mastered not sounding like a mentalist, people are going to start listening to you.

No one is going to buy into you (forgive the stock market-based pun) if you say things like “well, technically, shouting him down isn’t restricting his free speech.” Recognise that most people won’t see it like that because it is a totally abhorrent dick move. Briefly put, being a twat will make everyone hate you.

Equally, people will still hate you even if you justify it with “people are angry”. People are mostly angry because you’re getting in their way, even if they might be a little angry about fee rises already. What you’re really doing is distracting people’s anger from the issues at hand and pushing it towards, well, you. I advise taking a course of action which doesn’t obstruct everyone’s daily life.

I’d also say that outside snappily shot Guy Ritchie films or the North, violence isn’t a big thing, so you’re going to have to stop saying violence is “the only answer left to us.” Violence being your only solution leads to the inescapable suggestion that you’ve tried logic, reason and every other justifiable method of persuasion, and it hasn’t worked, leading you to need to ram your opinion down everyone’s throats with a placard, because people must have been being stupid when you tried it the first time.

I think if you follow my suggestions, you will prevent yourself from alienating everyone that knows just how lucky you are to be attending the best university in the world, in a country where you’re given free money from the government to spend on your Macbook Pros as well as some help with your tuition fees, where you’re able to campaign and vote for political parties without fear of repercussion, and where, normally, you’re allowed to express your opinions respectfully and in peace.

Hope that helps! Seriously.